In a recent decision, the National Labor Relations Board decided to retain its longstanding “contract-bar doctrine.” Under this doctrine, the NLRB cannot process any petition that is filed seeking to decertify a union during the first 3 years of a valid collective-bargaining agreement. The only exception to this rule is that a petition can be processed during a specified “window period” before the expiration date of the agreement.

This decision is somewhat surprising given that in 2020 the Board issued a notice and invited interested parties to file briefs addressing whether the Board should modify this doctrine. Generally speaking, when the NLRB invites such comments, they are leaning towards making some sort of a change. However, notwithstanding the invitation for comments, the NLRB ultimately decided to maintain the current doctrine without modification.