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About the Board > Agency Overview

Overview of the PELRB:

This Board was created pursuant to RSA 273-A in 1975 at a time when some public employees already engaged in collective bargaining and strikes and work stoppages were a concern. Strikes are prohibited under the current law, and public employees have had the statutorily protected right since 1975 to participate in the formation of bargaining units and engage in collective bargaining. The legislature stated that "it is the policy of the state to foster harmonious and cooperative relations between public employers and their employees and to protect the public by encouraging the orderly and uninterrupted operation of government." The legislature effectuated this policy by: 1) recognizing the right of public employees to organize and be represented for the purpose of bargaining collectively with public employers such as the state, any political subdivision of the state, the university system but not the General Court; 2) requiring public employers to negotiate in good faith with certified employee representatives and reduce collectively bargained agreements to writing; and 3) establishing a public employee labor relations board with "broad powers to assist in resolving disputes between governments and its employees."

Administrative and Adjudicatory functions:

Bargaining unit formation and Determination of Representatiive:

Certification petitions are processed which seek recognition of proposed bargaining units. These may require adjudicatory hearings to resolve bargaining unit composition issues. The certified exclusive representative of appropriate bargaining units is determined through the written majority authorization or secret ballot election process.

Changes to existing bargaining units.

Modification petitions are processed to resolve proposed changes in the composition of previously certified bargaining units and may involve contested adjudicatory hearings.

Representation challenges.

Decertification petitions and challenge petitions are processed which seek to resolve through secret ballot elections questions of representation of existing bargaining units and whether bargaining unit employees wish to continue with statutory collective bargaining through secret ballot elections. Contested adjudicatory hearings may be necessary.


Secret ballot elections are held usually on site at various public employer locations
throughout the state to resolve questions of representation of bargaining units.

Violations of RSA 273-A:5 .

Unfair Labor Practice complaints are processed which seek to address alleged violations of RSA 273-A:5, I or II. Pre-hearing conferences and contested adjudicatory proceedings are typically required to determine whether a particular respondent has violated a provision(s) of RSA 273-A:5.

Declaratory Rulings.

Petitions for a declaratory ruling are processed pursuant to Pub 206.01 regarding the specific applicability of any statute within the jurisdiction of the board to enforce, or any rule or order of the board.

Adjudicatory Hearings.

RSA 273-A mandates the conduct of adjudicatory hearing within 45 days of the filing date for unfair labor practice complaints. Representation and other petitions follow a similar time line. The PELRB hearing room is used to conduct public contested hearings on the record. This involves the presentation of evidence by sworn testimony from witnesses, the submission of exhibits, as well as written and oral argument. These proceedings may involve two to three parties, their representatives, multiple witnesses, observers, and PELRB staff and board members. There is no security provided during such proceedings.


The PELRB resolves contested cases with the issuance of comprehensive written decisions which provide the factual and legal basis for the ruling. Per RSA 273-A, decisions on unfair labor practice complaints are to issue within 45 days of the close of the record, usually determined by the date established for the submission of post-hearing briefs. A similar timeline is followed for representation and other petitions. All decisions dating to 1976 are available on the website. Decisions are subject to a PELRB review process pursuant to Pub 205 and final PELRB decisions are subject to appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.


The PELRB files rulemaking petitions as necessary to implement the provisions of RSA 273-A. This involves the conduct of related public hearings and proceedings, and the presentation of proposed rule changes to the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR).

Neutral appointments.

The board maintains a list of neutrals per RSA 273-A:2, V available for employment by the public employers and exclusive representatives/unions in areas such as collective bargaining mediation and fact finding as well as arbitration.

Collecting bargaining agreements.

Parties to collective bargaining agreements are required to file their contracts with the PELRB. These agreements are available on this web site.

Website development and maintenance.

The board maintains a website which contains comprehensive and current information about applicable laws, rules, procedures, decisions, bargaining unit certifications and collective bargaining agreements. The website serves as a resource frequently used by public employers, public employees, employee organizations, and the public to conduct legal research and learn more about PELRB procedures.

RSA 273-C.

In 1990 the legislature enacted RSA 273-C and authorized proceedings before the PELRB relating to the right of employees of licensed dog or horse racing track owners to form bargaining units and engage in collective bargaining. This law accounts for a relatively small percentage of PELRB activity.

Electronic Filing and Docket Maintenance.

The PELRB has successfully implemented an electronic filing and case management system to facilitate and expedite filings made with the PELRB, the issuance of decisions, and internal management of case files, docket material, and general operations.

New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relations Board
2½ Beacon Street, Suite 200 | Concord, NH 03301
Telephone: (603) 271-2587 | E-mail: pelrb@nh.gov
The materials presented on this website are provided for informational purposes only. No information, data or statements should be considered as personal or specific legal counsel to any visitor to this site. If you have a specific question requiring a legal opinion you should contact your own union representative or your own attorney.