What happens when a union files with PERC?

    In Washington State, the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) oversees the process of forming a union for public employees.gain their first contract!

    1. The Union files a Petition for Recognition and Showing of Interest (the signed membership cards) with PERC. The Union serves the Employer with the petition, but not the showing of interest.
      • The Employer does not see the cards and does not know who has signed a card, except for those who are public with their support. Only PERC sees the signed membership cards.
    2. Once the petition is filed, the Employer has 10 days to provide a List of Potentially Eligible Employees to PERC.
    3. After receiving the list, PERC conducts a preliminary evaluation of the petition and showing of interest. 
    4. PERC then initiates the Investigation Conference to determine who is eligible for the new unit that is being formed.
      • The length of the Investigation Conference varies depending on the complexity of the proposed unit and the level of resistance from the Employer. This process can sometimes move very slowly.
      • Many times an Employer will seek to delay and drag out the process. If the parties cannot agree, some questions may have to be resolved at a hearing.
      • Often, the Employer will seek to limit the number of workers involved, and to keep people out of the union.
      • In response, workers will take action together to push back against the Employer and to move the process along.
      • Workers continue to join their union. All new membership cards are sent to PERC to help build for the election.
    5. Once the Employer and Union have agreed on eligibility for the new union, the Employer must issue a Notice of Election to every eligible worker.
      • The notice of election will be sent to each worker individually and will also be publicly posted in the workplace.
    6. The Employer must also furnish the Union with a complete List of All Eligible Employees, including all contact information.
      • This allows workers in the union to communicate with each other.
    7. PERC prepares to conduct a Card Check or Secret Ballot Election.
      • For a card check, PERC counts all membership cards that have been submitted.
        • If more than 50% of all eligible workers have signed a membership card, then the card check is satisfied and the union is recognized!
        • If fewer than 50% of all eligible workers have signed a membership card, the decision proceeds to an election.
      • In a secret ballot election, the question is decided by a majority of eligible workers who vote.
        • Ballots usually go out within two weeks of the conclusion of the Investigation Conference.
        • Elections run for about two weeks. Ballots are submitted to PERC via US mail.
        • The Employer often tries to convince workers to vote no. Workers often canvas their workplace to remind each other why they decided to organize and to vote yes.
    8. PERC counts the votes or the cards and issues a tally.
      • Card check: If over 50% of all eligible workers have signed a membership card, then the union is officially recognized! (Example: Of 100 total workers, 51 or more sign a membership card.)
      • Election: If over 50% of workers who voted vote yes, then the union is officially recognized! (Example: Of 100 total workers, 80 vote. 41 or more of the voting workers vote yes.)
    9. The union gets ready to bargain their first contract!