Union Election Information


1. Dates at-a-glance
2. How to ensure your ballot is valid
3. The union election process
4. If you haven’t received a ballot by October 26…
5. Union Election FAQs

Dates at-a-glance

Ballots mailed to you: October 19, 2020

  • Ballots will start arriving at your mailing address after this date.

Ballot request date: October 26, 2020

  • If you haven’t received your ballot by this date, you’ll need to call to request one! Instructions here

Ballots must be received at the National Labor Relations Board Milwaukee office by: 4:30 PM, November 9, 2020

Ballots will be counted on: November 13, 2020

  • The count will be held virtually with representatives from the NLRB, the IAM, and the Milwaukee Art Museum

How to ensure your ballot is valid

The mail-in ballot process is tricky. Below you will find the official NLRB instructions for returning your ballot, ensuring that your vote will be counted. If you do not properly follow the instructions, your vote will not be counted.

To make this process even easier, we have created an instruction video for you to follow along with in order to complete your ballot in the proper way.

The Union Election Process

Holding a union election in any year is a long process. This year’s ongoing COVID-19 pandemic makes the election more tricky. The procedure began on August 31, 2020, when we filed a petition for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This triggered a hearing, which determined how the election would take place and who is in the bargaining unit that the union represents. This hearing occurred virtually on September 22, 2020. While we argued for a wall-to-wall union that included all non-management staff, with the exception of the guards, office clerical staff, supervisors, and confidential employees who are required by law to not be included, MAM argued that we shouldn’t be represented by the IAMAW at all, since they already represent the security guards. We also petitioned for a mail ballot election, due to the ongoing pandemic. MAM requested an in-person election, claiming that they could make the Northwestern Mutual Room safe for nearly 150 employees to vote in on Union Election Day.

On October 6, 2020, we received the results of our hearing. The NLRB ruled in our favor on both counts: our bargaining unit is valid and the election will be held via mail. On October 7, 2020, the museum gave employees four hours notice to update their mailing addresses—that request was likely made to ensure that all employees in the unit will receive their mail ballots in time for the election, as MAM is required by the NLRB to submit a list of bargaining unit employees and their contact info.

By October 16, 2020, the NLRB will send a sample ballot to the museum for them to post publicly. This ballot will help you get familiar with the election process. Note that there will be two different ballots. Because we have both professional and non-professional employees in our proposed bargaining unit, we will have a self-determination election (also known as a Sonotone election).

Non-professional employees will have one question on their ballot:

  1. Do you wish to be represented for the purposes of collective bargaining by District Lodge 10, International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO?

Professional employees will have two questions on their ballots:

  1. Do you wish to be included in a unit with non-professional employees for purposes of collective bargaining?
  2. Do you wish to be represented for the purposes of collective bargaining by District Lodge 10, International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO?

This allows professional employees the opportunity to choose their bargaining unit. It also allows the employer to drive a wedge between different types of employees, all of whom do crucial work for the museum. The museum’s lists of professional and non-professional staff split some departments right down the middle. These are the kinds of divisions we don’t want to see. We believe that it is in our best interests, as the workers of MAM, to form one large bargaining unit consisting of both professional and non-professional staff. That’s why we’re asking folks to vote yes once for the union, and vote yes twice for solidarity. However, we respect that professional employees might decide that their needs are best served in a separate bargaining unit. To check whether your position is designated professional or non-professional, click here.

After the sample ballot is posted, ballots will be mailed out from the Milwaukee NLRB office on October 19, 2020. The ballots must be received by the NLRB Milwaukee Office before 4:30 on November 9, 2020. Any ballots received after this time will not be counted. It is crucial that you send your ballots back with enough time to reach the office. Watch the video below for more information on the voting process.

On November 13, the Milwaukee NLRB office will count the ballots via a virtual meeting. Representatives from the NLRB, IAM, and MAM will be present. The results of this election will determine whether we will form one bargaining unit, two bargaining units, or zero bargaining units. If the union drive is supported by simple majority (50% + 1) of voting, eligible bargaining unit employees, then the unionization drive will go through and the IAM will represent the new unit(s) as specified by the election results. Once these results are certified by the NLRB, the union and the new bargaining units will proceed to contract negotiations in order to win the protections we all deserve as workers.

If you haven’t received a ballot by October 26…

…you’ll need to call the Milwaukee NLRB office and request a ballot! To do that, follow these instructions:

Those employees who believe that they are eligible to vote and did not receive a ballot in the mail by October 26, 2020, or otherwise require a duplicate mail ballot kit, should communicate immediately with the National Labor Relations Board, Milwaukee Sub-Regional office by either calling the office at (414) 297-3861 or our national toll-free line at 1-844-762-NLRB (1-844-762-6572).

Union Election FAQs

What percentage of votes are needed to win the election?

  • A simple majority of the ballots cast, 50% + 1, is needed to win the election.

Who is usually present during the ballot count?  

  • Usually, the NLRB agent, representatives from the employer and the union, and a designated number of observers are present for the ballot count.  

Is the final and official result of the election announced at the election count?

  • The official result of the election is announced at the election count, and within 7-10 days, the NLRB will certify the election.  However, if the number of challenged ballots is determinative to the result, then a hearing will be scheduled to resolve the status of the challenged ballots.  Additionally, both the union and the employer have the right to request a review if filed within 10 business days after the election.

If the election ends in a tie, who wins?

  • In the case of a tie, the employer wins the election.

Will my ballot be tossed if I am not on the voter list?

  • No.  If you are not on the voter list, you may still vote.  However, your ballot will be automatically subject to a challenge by the NLRB agent.

Will MAM know how I voted?

  • No.  The election is a secret ballot election and no one will know how you voted.