Under the law, there are only certain periods of time wherein employees have the ability to decertify a union. These are what the National Labor Relations Board calls "election bars."

  • Newly Unionized With No Contract -- After One Year...
  1. If you have been newly unionized, you may not decertify the union for at least one year following the union's certification as long as there is no contract in place. If, after a year of certification, the union does not have a contract, employees are free to decertify the union.
  • Unionized with a contract -- The 30-day Window...
  1. If you have been unionized for some time, you can decertify the union near the expiration of your current contract.  The National Labor Relations Board will usually only process a decertification petition during a 30-day window near the end of the contract. 
  2. This 30-day window opens up 90 days prior to the contract expiration and closes again 60 days prior to the contract expiration, EXCEPT for health care workers


  1. It is not uncommon for unions facing decertification to challenge the validity of employees signatures, or to accuse companies of assisting employees. Often, unions facing decertification will file unfair labor practice charges against the employer in order to use the NLRB to help delay decertification elections or to invalidate employee signatures.
  2. As employees who are trying to kick a union out, you  should be prepared to encounter union tactics designed to impede or block your efforts.

​Take Action

  1. Health care workers' 30-day window opens up 120 days prior to the contract expiration and closes 90 days prior to the contract expiration.  
  2. If you missed the 30-day window, you CAN file a decertification petition AFTER the contract expires as long as there has NOT been another contract negotiated to replace it.
  • After a contract expires*, or after three years in a longer contract...
  1. ​If the contract has expired, employees can decertify a union. Or, in a longer contract (five to seven years, for example) employees can petition to decertify a union after the third year of the longer contract.
  2. Note: If the employer and the union enter into a successor contract, the new contract will begin another three year “contract bar” of decertification elections.​​

click here to download a sample decertification signature petition.

Giving Employees the Tools to Achive Workplace Freedom from Unwanted Unions

click here to download a sample decertification signature petition.


A simple recipe to remember: The more signatures you gather, the easier it is to decerify a union.

  • NLRB Decertification Election:
  1. Petitioning the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election only requires 30% of the employees in the bargaining unit to sign a petition indicating their desire to decertify the union. However, at least 50% (or more) employees need to vote "NO" to continnued representation in an election. The more people committed to decertification means the more likely it is that your efforts will succeed.
  2. ​Once at least 30% employees of the employees have signed a properly-worded petition, the employees can then go to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and file what is called an RD (or "decertification") petition for the NLRB to hold an election. The NLRB also encourages the filing of petitions to be filed electionically. [For more information, you can contact the nearest NLRB regional office by going here.]
  • Demanding Withdrawal of Recognition: If 50% (or more) of the employees in a bargaining unit sign a properly-worded petition demanding that the employer "withdraw recognition" from the union, then the employer can lawfully withdraw recognition from the union and the union has been kicked out without the NLRB having to conduct an election.