Local elections give you and your fellow union members the opportunity to choose your own local officers. Local elections must follow several rules established in labor law. A few of the basics:
  • Local unions must hold elections for local officers at least once every three years.
  • These local officer elections must take place by secret ballot.
  • Union funds can be used to conduct an election, but they can’t be used to promote any particular candidate.
  • Union members in good standing can nominate candidates, run for local office (subject to reasonable qualifications uniformly imposed), hold office, and vote for the candidate(s) of their choice.
  • Union elections require several actions that must adhere to strict timelines. (For example, the union must mail a notice of election to the last-known address of each member 15 days before the election.)
The U.S. Department of Labor has a great resource section with lots of information on specific topics to help guide you:
  • Election guide: This is the best guide for conducting elections, from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Read this first—it’s the best resource for everything you need to know to plan and carry out your local election. 
  • Election planner: The election guide includes this election planner, with all of the steps and timeline requirements in one chart. A quick look at this will give you an idea of the timeline you need to establish for every action necessary to conduct a local election. (Tip: You’ll need at least two months, so plan well ahead of time.)
  • Main union resource home: This is the home for the U.S. DOL resources on union elections and record keeping requirements. It has links to a wide variety of topics helpful to union officers.
Can't find what you're looking for? If there's information you need that's not provided in the Resource Center, please let us know and we will add it. Send requests to lsmith@nage.org
The American Labor Movement has consistently demonstrated its devotion to the public interest. It is, and has been, good for all America. - John F. Kennedy
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