NLRB Prohibits Election-Day Raffles
Overturning 31 years of policy, the NLRB announced election-day raffles are prohibited. In Atlantic Limousine, Inc., 331 N.L.R.B. No. 134 (2000), the Board ordered a new election when the employer held an election-day raffle in the lobby of the polling location. The prize was a TV/VCR valued at approximately one year of union dues and fees. The employer argued the raffle encouraged employees to vote and the raffle was voluntary. The Board refused to enter into the multi-factor analysis it had used for 31 years and adopted a new rule.
The new rule bars employers and unions from holding an election-day raffles if:
- eligibility is tied, in any way, to voting in the election;
- it is held on election day at the election site; or
- it commences within 24 hours prior to the polls opening and/or ends at the close of the polls.
This is a bright-line test is designed to avoid the myriad of cases challenging the old subjective standard and the confusing and inconsistent results produced under the old standard. The Board limited the ruling to this circumstance; it does not apply to campaign propaganda and electioneering found unobjectionable in the past, such as free food, buttons, bumper stickers. As if to prove its commitment to this new rule, the Board stated it will not tolerate attempts to circumvent this rule, such as starting the raffle 25 hours before the election or continuing the raffle slightly beyond the end of polling.