No A-card. No Election. No Union.

Election Facts – The Significance of an A-card

Despite having been turned down eight times in a row, union organizers are once again trying to convince Union Pacific dispatchers to abandon their management status and join a union. Here are some essential facts about the process to keep in mind if you are approached by a union organizer.

For a union to obtain authority to represent UP dispatchers, it would have to prevail in an election conducted by the National Mediation Board (NMB). The NMB will not hold an election unless it is convinced that a sufficient number of employees who are eligible to vote actually want an election.

To demonstrate to the NMB that a sufficient number of employees want an election, the organizers must submit authorization cards, commonly referred to as “A-cards”, signed by eligible employees. The organizers are required to present valid A-cards representing more than 50% of the pool of eligible voters.

If you are asked to sign an A-card, you should be aware of a few key facts:

  • The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) provides that an A-card is only valid for one year from the date it is dated and signed in the employee’s own handwriting;
  • If you sign an A-card and then change your mind, the NMB will not accept your attempt to cancel or revoke the authorization. Rather, you must go back through the party to whom you gave your initial authorization in order to properly revoke the A-card. Please understand it is your right to revoke a previously signed A-card up until the time the NMB authorizes an election.

If the organizers are able to present valid A-cards which the NMB determines represents more than 50% of the pool of eligible voters, the NMB must authorize and conduct an election.

The last time union organizers tried to convince dispatchers to leave the management ranks, they only asked a select number of dispatchers to sign A-cards. In the event you find yourself being repetitively contacted by organizers to sign an A-card, do not feel pressured to sign an A-card as a way to stop the bombardment. Remember, signing an A-card could result in election and certification of a union, even if you truly prefer to remain management and enjoy the associated benefits. Bottom line, if you don’t want to join a union, the easiest and surest way to say so is to not sign an A-card.