Obama NLRB Creates New Barrier for Employees Seeking to Eject Unwanted Unions Installed through Card Check
Despite Congress’s rejection of card check legislation, Obama Labor Board continues to attack workers’ ability to challenge card check unionization
Washington, DC (April 6, 2015) – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a federal agency charged with administering private sector labor law, recently issued a decision blocking Karen Cox and her Americold Logisitics coworkers from ejecting an unwanted union. Cox received free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys after United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 578 union lawyers intervened to block their efforts to remove the union.
In August 2013, the Board conducted an election at the Americold facility, but impounded the ballots pending the union’s appeal. It will now destroy those ballots.
The Board held that workers who are pushed into union ranks by a “card check” organizing drive can be required to wait up to a year after union and company officials’ first bargaining meeting before they can attempt to decertify an unwanted union. For workers unionized through a traditional secret ballot election, however, this waiting period starts as soon as a union is recognized as their bargaining agent.
Under the Board’s ruling, unions that get in via card check can hold up the bargaining process to delay employees’ efforts to eject the union. Consequently, union organizers have an even greater incentive to avoid secret ballot elections in favor of card check, despite the fact that card check campaigns are often characterized by intimidation, harassment, and coercion on the part of union organizers. This is one of the reasons Congress rejected legislation that would have mandated card check recognition.
In 2011, the Board issued the Lamons Gasket decision, which overturned the Foundation-won Dana precedent and eliminated a 45-day window period for workers to decertify a union following a card check drive. This latest ruling builds on the Lamons Gasket precedent to further curtail the rights of employees organized via card check.
Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, issued the following statement criticizing the Board’s decision:
“Once again, the Obama Labor Board is doing everything it can to prevent independent-minded workers from ejecting an unwanted union. It is outrageous that Karen Cox and her coworkers’ uncounted ballots will now be destroyed because this NLRB says that workers who are unionized through the abusive card check method have to wait longer to decertify a union than workers who were unionized through a traditional secret ballot vote.
“Congress rejected legislation that would have mandated card check recognition because of the intimidation, coercion, and harassment inherent in bypassing secret ballot elections, and yet in this ruling the Obama Board has twisted the law to deny workers their vote to decertify the union solely because they were previously denied a secret ballot vote over unionization.
“This decision, combined with the ambush election rule set to go into effect in just days, demonstrates that the Obama NLRB aims to force as many employees as possible into union ranks and will disregard the rights of any worker who wishes to remain independent to achieve that goal.”