Foundation Helps Employees Win NLRB Ruling for Worker Free Choice 

A recent ruling by a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) administrative law judge upheld the right of employees to sign a union decertification petition in the midst of a debilitating strike. More importantly, the ruling also endorsed the employer's refusal to hand over non-striking workers' home addresses and other personal information to union officials bent on harassment and intimidation.

On the advice of Foundation staff attorneys, a substantial majority (77 percent) of non-striking employees at a Tenneco facility in Grass Lakes, Michigan signed a petition in favor of union decertification. Unwilling to relinquish their stranglehold on workplace representation, United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 660 officials filed a complaint with the NLRB, arguing that non-striking employees favored decertification only because of Tenneco's unfair labor practices. The NLRB judge rejected these claims and concluded that the UAW's objections to the decertification process were entirely without merit.

More significant, however, was the stern rebuke delivered to UAW officials for demanding Tenneco hand over the non-striking workers' personal contact information, including home addresses. Union officials claimed they needed the employees' home addresses to "communicate" the benefits of membership directly, but the judge decided that the threat of union intimidation justified Tenneco's decision to withold personal information from UAW militants.

The judge noted that the union's rationale for acquiring the employees' home addresses was suspect, as " . . . the Union had other viable means of communicating with the replacements short of having access to their homes." He also recognized that union operatives had exhibited a pattern of harassment, having previously " . . . traveled to the personal residence of two members, whose address they certainly had access to, and staged a protest of their stance on the strike." The judge further noted the UAW's "venomous" and "disrespectful" attitude towards non-striking workers. So much for fair representation.

Full text of the NLRB ruling is available here. It's a long decision, but you'll find the judge's response to union demands for employees' personal information on pages 62-65. His assesment of the decertification petition's legality is available on pages 74-79.

Strike-related violence is an under-reported aspect of compulsory unionization, and the UAW has a long history of harassment and abuse. In fact, Freedom@Work recently exposed a similar campaign of intimidation against non-striking workers at a Volvo auto plant in Pulaski County, Virginia.


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