Top Down Organizing (card check) 

News Release

Foundation Requests Investigation of NLRB's Conduct in Chattanooga Volkswagen Case

Leaked internal emails bring agency's impartiality further into question

Washington, DC (January 29, 2014) – National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, led by former National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Member John Raudabaugh, have requested an official inquiry into the NLRB's conduct in adjudicating several Chattanooga Volkswagen America workers' charges against VW and the United Auto Worker (UAW) union during the on-going, highly-contentious UAW organizing campaign.

Foundation staff attorneys have asked the NLRB's Inspector General to investigate the agency's conduct during its processing of the workers' unfair labor practice charges that the NLRB Division of Advice instructed the NLRB Regional Director in Atlanta to dismiss.

Several VW workers filed charges alleging improprieties in the UAW union hierarchy's card check process, including getting workers to sign union authorization cards by coercion and misrepresentation and using cards signed too long ago to be legally valid. Some of those workers also filed a federal charge against the company alleging that statements by German VW officials are illegally coercing their fellow workers to accept UAW monopoly bargaining power over their workplace.

On January 23, NLRB staff in Washington, DC, released the Division of Advice's two "Advice Memorandums" to members of the media in Chattanooga and Knoxville but not to the workers' Foundation staff attorneys. Foundation public relations staff later received the NLRB memos from a reporter in Chattanooga. The Board staff released these Advice Memorandums to the press even though such memos are rarely, if ever, released to anyone in open cases.

An email the NLRB Atlanta Region accidentally forwarded to Foundation attorneys suggests that VW's lawyers also received inquiries regarding the memos' content from a press contact in Knoxville before those lawyers received the memos. Furthermore, the email shows that the Regional Director in Atlanta questioned the propriety of the Advice Memorandums' release to the media, contrary to longstanding NLRB practice.

The NLRB Regional Director's message then states, "I hope the RTW folks do not pick apart the dismissal letters because they may not exactly track the advice wording." Foundation attorneys are concerned that the NLRB's hurried public release of memos favorable to VW and the UAW calls into question the agency's impartiality in the workers' cases.

Foundation attorneys also filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the NLRB seeking full disclosure regarding the agency's handling of the case and its contacts with UAW agents.

"The NLRB's actions undermined Foundation attorneys' ability to advise their clients before the NLRB's dismissal of their cases became publicly known," said Ray LaJeunesse, Legal Director of the National Right to Work Foundation. "The NLRB's conduct further cements the perception that one set of rules applies to benefit union bosses and another set of rules applies against workers who wish to remain union free."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

U.S. Supreme Court Reviews Illinois Homecare Provider Unionization Scheme

National Right to Work Foundation attorneys return to High Court to defend home-based personal care providers forced into union ranks

Washington, DC (January 21, 2013) – Tuesday morning, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys will argue a case before the United States Supreme Court that will decide whether Illinois homecare providers can be forced into union ranks against their will.

The case, Harris v. Quinn, is a class-action lawsuit filed by Pam Harris and seven other Illinois care providers after Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed an executive order designating 4,500 individuals who offer in-home care to disabled persons as "public employees," thus rendering them vulnerable to unwanted union organizing. However, the scheme only designates providers as public employees for the purposes of unionization, leaving the homecare recipients as the employers for all other aspects of the providers' work.

As a result of Quinn's order, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) organizers have been seeking to acquire monopoly bargaining control over this newly-created class of public employees.

Quinn's executive order mirrored one issued by disgraced former Governor Blagojevich, which designated over 20,000 personal care providers as state workers solely for the purpose of forcing them into union ranks. Quinn then expanded Blagojevich's directive to cover an additional 4,500 providers who were not included in the original order.

Several legal observers and pundits have referred to Harris as a "sleeper" case. At least 18 states have imposed schemes to unionize home-based personal care and childcare workers. This case could have significant ramifications of how the government determines what workers, who indirectly receive state subsidies based on their clientele, qualify as state employees. Foundation attorneys will argue that such schemes violate the providers' First Amendment right to choose with whom they associate to petition the government.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, issued the following statement:

"This scheme, which forces small business owners and even parents and grandparents taking care of children into union political association is a slap in the face of fundamental American principles we hold dear. The government does not have the power to force citizens to accept its handpicked political representation to lobby itself.

"Forcing homecare providers into union ranks just for the sake of lobbying is not only unconstitutional, but immoral. We hope the Court will agree and protect the rights of Pam Harris and tens of thousands of other care providers by striking down this constitutionally-dubious scheme."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

U.S. Supreme Court Considers Union Organizing Deals Wednesday

Right to Work legal challenge could determine if companies are allowed to hand over sensitive employee information to aggressive union organizers

Washington, DC (November 13, 2013) – Wednesday morning, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys will argue a case before the United States Supreme Court that could determine what kind of organizing assistance union officials can receive from a targeted company during coercive card check unionization schemes.

The case, Mulhall v. UNITE HERE, could determine whether union organizers can receive workers’ personal information and other valuable organizing tools in exchange for concessions at employees' expense. Jamie Raskin, professor at American University law school, was quoted in the Washington Examiner as stating "This is by far the most important labor case in a generation."

In 2004, UNITE HERE Local 355 and Mardi Gras Gaming entered into an agreement in which union officials promised to devote over one hundred thousand dollars to help pass a gambling ballot initiative and guaranteed not to picket, boycott, or strike against Mardi Gras facilities.

In return, Mardi Gras agreed to give union operatives workers' personal contact information (including home addresses), grant them access to company facilities during a coercive 'card check' organizing campaign, refrain from informing workers about the impact of unionization, and refrain from requesting a federally-supervised secret ballot election to determine whether employees unionized.

Under the Labor Management Relations Act, employers are prohibited from handing over "any money or other thing of value" to union organizers, a provision that is supposed to prevent union officials from selling out workers' rights in exchange for corporate support of unionization.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, issued the following statement:

"Instead of relying on the traditional shop-floor organizing methods, union officials are increasingly cutting backroom deals with company management that allows both sides to sell out the workers. Workers' freedom of association and free choice should not be a bargaining chip. Over the years, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have assisted many workers from across the country who were victims of card check instant organizing and neutrality agreements.

"We feel strongly that what happened in this case is a perfect example of the corrupt dealings that the Labor Management Relations Act was enacted to outlaw. We hope the Court will agree and decide that union officials' top-down organizing campaigns targeting workers are designed to obtain 'a thing of value' and thus illegal under federal law."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Thomas Built Buses Worker Files Federal Charge Against Company for Turning Blind Eye to Union Harassment

Company management demands she join the union to get fair treatment

High Point, NC (October 28, 2013) – A local Thomas Built Buses worker has filed a federal charge against the company for turning a blind eye to harassment she has received for exercising her right to refrain and inform her coworkers of their right to refrain from union membership.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Tracy McLaughlin filed the unfair labor practice charge yesterday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

United Auto Worker (UAW) Local 5287 union officials obtained monopoly bargaining powers over the workplace in 2006 after union and company officials cut a deal to force union "representation" on the workers.

In her charge, McLaughlin states that union officials have harassed her because she has exercised her right under North Carolina's popular Right to Work law to refrain from membership in the UAW Local 5287 union. McLaughlin states that she has also been harassed because she informs her coworkers of their right to refrain from union membership and dues payments.

In her charge, McLaughlin recounts that in June 2013, Thomas Built management refused to address her claim that a union official falsely accused her of harassment in attempt to get her disciplined. Instead of providing her information on how to file internal company disciplinary charges, Thomas Built management instead suggested she get counseling.

McLaughlin also recounts in her charge a September 2013, incident in which a union official falsely accused her of calling a union member a "terrorist" in an attempt to get her disciplined for her efforts in informing her coworkers of their rights under the state's Right to Work law.

After company management threatened to fire McLaughlin, she brought witnesses to substantiate her account of the incident. Company management ignored her account and the witnesses. When she asked why union members get to resolve their problems by presenting witnesses in a timely manner, company management told her that if she wanted representation, she would have to join the union.

"No worker should be forced to join a union in order to receive fair treatment in the workplace," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Thomas Built management needs to stop discriminating against workers based on their union membership status."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Hospital Workers Win Federal Settlements Booting SEIU Officials from Area Hospital

200 nurses and ancillary employees freed from illegal SEIU forced dues power grab

Thousand Oaks, CA (October 21, 2013) – A group of Thousand Oaks Surgical Hospital (TOSH) nurses and support staff has won three federal settlements forcing two major healthcare unions and the hospital's parent company to stop illegally forcing them and their coworkers into unwanted union "representation."

The settlements come after three TOSH nurses and two support staff receiving free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation filed federal charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

In late November 2012, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) Holdings, Inc.-owned Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center purchased TOSH. In late April 2013, Los Robles Hospital management suddenly announced that TOSH workers were "represented" by Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) and SEIU Local 121 RN union officials. Supposedly the workers had been "accreted" into a pre-existing Los Robles-SEIU monopoly bargaining unit.

The workers were never given the opportunity to vote or otherwise be consulted on the matter. In fact, the vast majority of TOSH nurses and support staff signed petitions opposing the SEIU officials' forced "representation." Moreover, because California does not have a Right to Work law that makes union membership and dues payment strictly voluntary, SEIU officials began demanding that the TOSH employees pay union dues or fees or be fired from their jobs.

Two of the settlements force the SEIU union officials to renounce monopoly bargaining and forced dues powers over the workers, thus freeing roughly 200 nurses and ancillary workers from forced "representation" and compulsory dues payments. Similarly, Los Robles management must renounce its recognition of the two unions at TOSH, and notify all employees via workplace postings and e-mail that the SEIU unions are not the employees' representatives.

"Los Robles/HCA management and SEIU officials colluded to shove SEIU union bosses' 'representation,' and forced dues payments, down the throats of TOSH nurses and support staff," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Schemes like this show that the ultimate goal of union officials is more forced dues collected from workers, even when rank-and-file employees want nothing to do with the union."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Chattanooga VW Workers File Federal Charge Against Company For Pro-Unionization Coercion

Company management in Germany gives workers ultimatum: Join the union or lose workplace opportunities

Chattanooga, TN (October 16, 2013) – Today, four Chattanooga, Tennessee, Volkswagen AG (VOW.DE) workers filed a federal charge against the company alleging that statements by German VW officials are illegally coercing fellow workers into representation by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, the workers filed the charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Atlanta.

The charge comes after senior VW management in Germany stated, according to recent media reports, that for any expanded production to be considered in Chattanooga, the plant must adopt a works council that would force workers to accept the representation of UAW union officials.

The workers point out in their charge that Volkswagen's threat that failure to accept the union would risk losing potential for job growth "interfere[s] with Chattanooga facility employees' rights to choose whether or not to engage in self-organization to form, join, or assist labor organizations."

"With reports that Volkswagen is considering Chattanooga to build its new SUV, this is no idle threat," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "If VW management was discouraging workers from joining the UAW with threats, there's little question that an NLRB prosecution would have already begun at the UAW's behest."

Three of the four VW workers are part of a group of eight VW employees that also filed charges last month alleging improprieties in the UAW union hierarchy's "card check" process, including getting workers to sign union authorization cards by coercion and misrepresentation and using union cards signed too long ago to be legally valid.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Eight Chattanooga Volkswagen Workers File Federal Charges Challenging UAW Card Check Scheme

Demand for installing UAW union at VW based on cards collected through "unlawful means including misrepresentations, coercion, threats, and promises"

Chattanooga, TN (September 25, 2013) – Today, eight Chattanooga, Tennessee, Volkswagen AG (VOW.DE) workers filed federal charges against the United Auto Workers (UAW) union for misleading and coercing them and other workers to forfeit their rights in what is now a "card check" unionization drive by the UAW.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, the eight workers filed the charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Atlanta.

After UAW union officials claimed to possess signature cards from a majority of workers, UAW union president Bob King demanded VW deny workers a secret ballot vote on unionization and instead unionize all workers on the basis of the unreliable and abuse-prone card check process.

The charges state that VW workers were told by UAW union organizers that a signature on the card was to call for a secret ballot unionization election. They also allege other improprieties in the card check process, including using cards that were signed too long ago to be legally valid.

After recent media reports suggested that workers were misled or bribed into signing union cards, workers who wanted to lawfully revoke their signatures were told by union officials that they had to physically appear at the union office if they wanted their cards returned to them.

"Despite making it so easy to sign union 'cards' at the workplace, UAW union officials are now demanding workers to go to the union office to exercise their right to reclaim their cards," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores how card check unionization schemes make it 'easy to check in, but impossible to check out.'"

The charges ask the NLRB to order UAW union officials to cease and desist from demanding recognition based upon the tainted cards.

The workers contacted the Foundation for free legal assistance after learning about the Foundation's special legal notice to Volkswagen Chattanooga employees being subjected to the UAW card check drive. The notice can be found online here: www.nrtw.org/vw-chattanooga

Other VW employees who were subjected to or have knowledge of cards being collected through abuse, fraud, bribes, or other illicit means are encouraged to contact the Foundation. Workers can call 1-800-336-3600 or visit www.nrtw.org to request legal assistance.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Worker Files Brief in Supreme Court Case Challenging Backroom Union Organizing Deal

Right to Work legal challenge could determine if companies are allowed to hand over sensitive employee information to aggressive union organizers

Washington, DC (September 23, 2013) – National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys filed a brief at the United States Supreme Court late Friday for a Florida casino worker challenging a much used union organizing scheme. The case, Mulhall v. UNITE HERE, could determine whether union organizers can receive workers' personal information and other valuable organizing tools in exchange for concessions at employees' expense.

In 2004, UNITE HERE Local 355 and Mardi Gras Gaming entered into an agreement in which union officials promised to devote over one hundred thousand dollars to help pass a gambling ballot initiative and guaranteed not to picket, boycott, or strike against Mardi Gras facilities.

In return, Mardi Gras agreed to give union operatives workers' personal contact information (including home addresses), grant them access to company facilities during a coercive 'card check' organizing campaign, refrain from informing workers about the impact of unionization, and refrain from requesting a federally-supervised secret ballot election to determine whether employees unionized.

With the help of Foundation staff attorneys, Mardi Gras employee Martin Mulhall filed a lawsuit in 2008 challenging the organizing pact. Under the Labor Management Relations Act, employers are prohibited from handing over "any money or other thing of value" to union organizers, a provision that is supposed to prevent union officials from selling out workers' rights in exchange for corporate support of unionization. Mulhall argues that the company's assistance with organizing was of substantial monetary value because it made UNITE HERE’s organizing drive easier and less expensive.

Mulhall won a significant victory in 2012, when the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the company's organizing assistance could constitute "a thing of value." UNITE HERE lawyers quickly appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, prompting Foundation attorneys to file a cross-petition asking the Court to review certain aspects of the Eleventh Circuit's ruling.

Foundation attorneys believe that the Eleventh Circuit's decision was too narrowly tailored to always prevent companies from aiding union organizers with valuable assistance. The Supreme Court will now revisit whether the company’s organizing assistance constitutes "a thing of value.

"We hope the Supreme Court will expand upon the Eleventh Circuit's landmark ruling and ensure that union organizers can't cut backroom deals that harm the very people they claim they want to represent," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Companies shouldn't be allowed to turn over employees' personal information to unscrupulous Big Labor organizers as a negotiating tactic."

The Court will hear the case on November 13.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Chattanooga Volkswagen Employees Tell Right to Work Foundation They Were Promised Secret Ballot Election

UAW union bosses target Volkswagen workers for unionization via card check scheme

Springfield, VA (September 13, 2013) – Recent media reports suggest that United Auto Workers (UAW) union officials are pushing Volkswagen AG (VOW.DE) to eliminate a secret ballot vote on unionization and instead unionize all workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee on the basis of an unreliable and abuse-prone "card check" process.

After UAW union officials claimed to receive a majority of workers signing union "cards," UAW union president Bob King told Reuters yesterday that the VW employees should be put under union monopoly control through the card check, and that they should not vote in private because, he claimed, such a secret ballot vote would be "divisive."

However, the National Right to Work Foundation has received a number of calls from workers at the plant who were told by UAW union organizers that a signature on the card was to call for a secret ballot unionization election.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, issued the following statement in response to King's statement to Reuters:

"Despite their promises, UAW union officials are now trying to deny workers a secret ballot election to determine whether to unionize. Instead, they are pressuring Volkswagen to recognize them as the workers' monopoly bargaining representative.

"Any worker who believes they may have been misled, pressured, or coerced into signing a union 'card' should contact the National Right to Work Foundation at 1-800-336-3600 or the Foundation's website at www.nrtw.org immediately. It is not too late for workers to protect their legal rights."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Federal Appeals Court Rules to Halt Implementation of Minnesota's Childcare Unionization Scheme

Childcare providers fight dictate to push them into forced union dues ranks

Minneapolis, MN (September 19, 2013) – Today, a federal appeals court ruled to delay implementation of Minnesota's new law that seeks to forcibly unionize the state’s home-based childcare providers.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Jennifer Parrish from Rochester and 11 other providers from around the state filed an appeal last month after the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota dismissed their lawsuit on the grounds that it was filed too soon.

Parrish and other providers seek to halt implementation of a recently-passed law intended to designate American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) officials as the monopoly political representative of thousands of providers in the state, who are either owners of childcare businesses or family members who take care of related children.

Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation, issued the following statement on the appeals court ruling:

"Minnesota's childcare providers are no longer under imminent threat to be forcibly unionized in a union they want nothing to do with.

"The court ruled to delay implementation of the law pending the outcome of a National Right to Work Foundation-led challenge pending at the U.S. Supreme Court of a similar law passed in Illinois."

Home-based childcare and personal care providers have challenged similar forced-unionization-by-government-fiat schemes in several states across the country. Foundation attorneys argue that such schemes violate the providers' First Amendment right to choose with whom they associate to petition the government.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

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