Holiday Inn employees had to endure a two-year legal process to force an election that would have removed obstinate union bosses
Carteret, NJ (January 29, 2016) – Faced with the prospect of an embarrassing election loss, The New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council Local 6 union officially walked away from the Carteret Holiday Inn. The campaign to remove the unwanted union was spearheaded by employees who received free assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys throughout the legal process.
Holiday Inn employee Michelle Buniak originally submitted a union decertification petition in September 2014. The petition, which was signed by a majority of her coworkers, asked her employer to remove Local 6 from the hotel. Buniak’s employer responded by withdrawing recognition from the union, but union officials refused to leave without a fight.
Instead of acceding to the employees’ wishes, union lawyers avoided immediate eviction by filing a barrage of spurious unfair labor practice charges against Holiday Inn at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). After dismissing the charges several months later, the NLRB scheduled a union decertification election for February 12, 2016.
In the lead-up to the election, several of Buniak’s coworkers said that union officials resorted to bribes and harassment to persuade Holiday Inn employees to vote for Local 6. Despite these efforts, union officials ultimately decided to officially “disclaim representation” over all Carteret Holiday Inn employees and walk away from the bargaining unit to avoid suffering an embarrassing election loss at the hands of the very workers for whom the union had claimed to speak.
Local 6 officials had bargained for all Carteret Holiday Inn employees, including those who didn’t belong to the union, for over two decades. The union contract with the hotel included a provision that allowed union officials to collect mandatory dues from all employees, even those who refrained from joining Local 6 and opposed the union’s presence.
“After two long years, union officials have finally left a workplace where they were no longer wanted,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Foundation. “We applaud the determination of Michelle Buniak and her colleagues to see this process through, but employees shouldn’t have to endure a lengthy legal battle to exercise their right to remove stubborn union bosses.”
“Unfortunately, union officials – aided and abetted by a pliant NLRB – have become very skilled at gaming the federal labor bureaucracy to protect their workplace privileges,” continued Mix. “That’s why the union decertification process should be streamlined to better reflect employees’ wishes.”