A union authorisation card gives the Union the right to voice its opinion on behalf of the employee. This can be with respect to - wages, working hours, benefits, work place hazards etc. This is a legal card that is signed by an employee wherein he or she declares the Union to be his or her bargain agent. This eventually is used for collective bargaining by the Union on the employer.
The Unions have historically misinterpreted the union cards and made false statements and in many cases forced the employee to sign the card and threatened of dire consequences. These threats are unlawful and the signing of such cards leads to unlawful practices.
Three ways in which this card can be used
a. The Union can petition for an election with the National Labour Relations Board if they can get the union authorisation card signed by 30% of the employees.
b. The Union can ask the employer to recognise it as the bargaining agent for the employees without an election if it gets 50% of the employees to sign the union authorisation card. The rejection of such an appeal by the employer can lead to a strike by the Union.
c. If the Union get a union authorisation card signed by more than 50% of the employees, then it can ask the Labour Board to bargaining order without any election.