Monday, September 8, 2014

4 questions to NLRB and a surprise move from Lionbridge

As I was preparing myself to be an observer for the election I sent those 4 questions to NLRB's Daniel Hickey:

Hi Daniel,

1. Does my status of 'observer' prevents me to vote?

2. May I ask who is the observer for Lionbridge?

3. Is it allowed to bring/read a book/newspaper?

4. Is it allowed to take notes (not related to the people voting)? I am interested in writing a few things if it is allowed. 

Thank you

Here are his answers:

Hello Philippe,

I have copied Employer attorney Tim O’Connell on my responses to your 4 questions below:

1.      No, you are an eligible voter.  There is Board case law that found that found a union official acting as the union’s observer in an decertification election was objectionable, meaning the election had to be rerun.  Butera Finer Foods, 334 NLRB 43 (2001).  However, the union observer in Butera was a full-time employee of the union, not an eligible voter or an employee of the employer, and the Board specifically stated in footnote 7 that its holding did not apply to non-decertification elections such as the one here.  I am not aware of a case that states it is objectionable for a union official, who is also an employee and an eligible voter, to act as the union's election observer.

2.      The Employer intends to have non-supervisory HR administrative assistant Sara D’Jiovanis act as its observer.

3.      I encourage both observers to bring books to read, but no campaign or political literature and no electronic devices of any kind, including e-readers, kindles, tablets, etc.

4.      Neither observer can takes notes or write during the election.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Here is the email sent by Lionbridge's attorney: 

Thank you for copying me.  I do not want to surprise you at the pre-election conference:  we are going to object to Mr. Boucher serving as an observer.  We believe he has become the public face of the Union, and therefore should not be permitted pursuant to Section 11310.2 of the Case Handling Manual (“A union official should not serve as an observer even if he/she is also an employee of the employer.”)

Having said that, I wholly agree that Mr. Boucher is an eligible voter, and I have no concerns about the other issues identified in your e-mail.

Best regards,


Timothy J. O'Connell
Stoel Rives
600 University St., Ste. 3600
Seattle, WA  98101

I had no idea I had 'become the public face of the Union' and that precluded my being an observer as this issue was never raised earlier but better now than Thursday morning. 

As I didn't especially relish spending the whole day in an hotel room even with an excellent book and as our main concern is not to delay the election we are going to look for a courageous replacement. 

Not sure what NLRB will decide as they did not seem to have anticipated this objection. 

We'll keep you informed.

Have a good evening.

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