Worker Decertification and Deauthorization Drives 

News Release

Kaolin Farmworkers Win Legal Victory Upholding their Decision to Eject Unwanted Union

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court rules that unwilling employees can’t be trapped in union for seven years

Philadelphia, PA (June 16, 2016) – Thanks to the efforts of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Kaolin Mushroom Farms employees have won a decision upholding their vote to remove the Kaolin Workers Union (KWU). The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court unanimously ratified the results of a March 2015 union decertification election that evicted the KWU.

In September 2014, Kaolin Farms employee Roberto Morales filed a decertification petition indicating that he and his coworkers were dissatisfied with the union and wished to hold a vote to remove the KWU. A Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) Secretary initially dismissed the petition on the grounds that the union’s presence could not be challenged for a seven-year period after its contract with the employer was adopted. According to the Secretary, this “contract bar” would remain in force until October 2, 2016, the earliest date an election could be held under that bar.

Foundation staff attorneys helped Morales file an objection to this decision with the full PLRB, arguing that unwilling employees shouldn’t be kept in union ranks for such a lengthy period, and that there is no basis in Pennsylvania law for the seven-year contract bar. The PLRB eventually decided to hold a secret ballot election in March 2015, which resulted in Kaolin Farms employees rejecting the union by a decisive margin.

Instead of accepting the employees’ verdict, union lawyers filed objections to the election outcome, once again arguing that a vote could not be held until after the seven-year contract bar had expired. Fortunately for Morales and his coworkers, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled unanimously that the employees could not be denied a vote to oust the union for such a long time. Instead, the court ruled that, after three years, the contract no longer could block a decertification vote by employees seeking to remove the union.

“Thanks to the efforts of Roberto Morales and Foundation staff attorneys, Kaolin Farms employees have finally evicted one very stubborn union,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Unfortunately, Morales and his coworkers had to endure a lengthy legal process before their vote was finally upheld.”

“Workers shouldn’t have to jump through this many legal hoops to get rid of an unwanted union,” added Mix. “Pennsylvania needs to adopt a Right to Work law, which would ensure that no employee is forced to pay dues to an unwanted union just to keep a job. Such a law would prevent employees stuck with an unpopular union from being forced to pay dues to the very organization they are trying to remove.”

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

Hempstead Charter School Teachers Overcome Union Obstructionism to Force Vote to Remove Union from their School

NLRB ruling greenlights election to determine if union officials get to continue to bargain for all teachers and collect mandatory union dues

Nassau County, NY (June 6, 2016) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, 27 Evergreen Charter School employees have won the right to conduct a decertification election to decide the fate of the Evergreen Charter Staff Association-NYSUT union. The Regional Director for Region 29 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has scheduled the union decertification election for June 16, 2016.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, private-sector employees in unionized workplaces have the right to petition for a decertification election to remove a union. After 22 Evergreen employees signed and submitted an election petition to the NLRB in April, union officials attempted to head off the vote by claiming that Evergreen Charter School is a public employer, and thus outside the NLRB’s jurisdiction.

Union lawyers argued that the New York State Public Employment Relations Board has jurisdiction over Evergreen employees, an interpretation that was ultimately rejected by the NLRB, which determined that the Evergreen Charter School is a private employer. Had the union’s arguments prevailed, the school’s employees would have been forced to pursue a much more onerous and complex process to remove the unwanted union.

The scheduled decertification election will determine whether Evergreen employees can be forced to pay union dues and accept union bargaining over their salaries and working conditions. If a majority of eligible employees vote against the union, the Evergreen Charter Staff Association union will be formally removed from the school and lose its workplace privileges.

“We’re happy to report that the NLRB has rejected union lawyers’ attempt to derail the Evergreen decertification vote,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Given the fact that the NYSUT opposed the establishment of the Evergreen Charter School in the first place, it’s no surprise that these teachers and support staff are disillusioned with the union’s so-called ‘representation’.”

“Employees shouldn’t have to jump through this many hoops to get rid of one stubborn union, but Foundation staff attorneys are committed to helping these teachers and support staff navigate the decertification process and assert their right to vote out union officials whom they feel are a detriment to their school and their students,” added Mix.

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

14 Employees File Charges against Union Officials for Fining Them After They Defied Union Boss-Ordered Strike

Union officials hit each employee with a fine exceeding five thousand dollars for exercising their right to continue working during a strike

Seattle, WA (April 1, 2016) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, fourteen Northshore Sheet Metal employees have filed federal unfair labor practice charges against a local union for illegally fining them thousands of dollars after they refused to join a union-ordered strike.

All fourteen employees originally joined the Sheet Metal Workers Local 66 union because they were wrongfully informed that union membership was a condition of employment at Northshore Sheet Metals. After union officials ordered a strike in August 2015, the employees learned that formal union membership is voluntary and decided to exercise their rights to resign from the union and refrain from participating in the work stoppage.

Although the employees had resigned from the union, Local 66 officials subjected them to internal union disciplinary procedures for refusing to strike. All fourteen workers were charged varying amounts for rebuffing the union’s strike order. All of the fines exceeded five thousand dollars.

Under federal labor law, no employee can be required to formally join a union as a condition of employment. Moreover, employees have the right to resign from a union at any time, at which point they can no longer be subjected to internal union discipline. Local 66 officials not only failed to inform Northshore Sheet Metal workers of their rights, they also refused to honor the fourteen employees’ resignations.

In addition to levying punitive strike fines, the union also posted photographs and names of each of the fourteen employees. The employees have since been harassed for their decision not to participate in the strike.
The employees’ charges will now be investigated by the National Labor Relations Board. In the coming weeks, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys anticipate filing charges for several other nonunion employees who were also fined by union officials for continuing to work during the union-ordered strike.

“Local 66 union officials misled employees about their right to refrain from union membership, ignored their requests to leave the union, and are now threatening those same employees with thousands of dollars in bogus strike fines,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Employees shouldn’t have to endure this brazen intimidation simply because they don’t want to abandon their jobs and their paychecks at the behest of union bosses.”

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

Despite Teamster Boss Attempts to Overturn Election, Threshold Enterprises Employees Successfully Eject Unwanted Union

Employees voted to oust Teamsters last November but were forced to wait months while the NLRB resolved a last-ditch union attempt to overturn results

Santa Cruz, CA (March 16, 2016) – Following a lengthy legal process, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has certified the outcome of an election removing Teamsters Local 912 from two Oakland-area Threshold Enterprises facilities. National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys participated in the hearing for Tomas Campos, a Threshold employee who opposed the union’s presence and defended the employees’ vote to eject the union.

Prior to the decertification election, Local 912 was the monopoly bargaining agent for approximately 546 Threshold employees at the facilities. Because California lacks a Right to Work law, this meant that Teamster officials were legally empowered to collect mandatory union dues or fees from all workers, including the majority who opposed the union’s presence.

In late November 2015, Threshold employees voted 269-195 to remove the Teamsters. Union lawyers responded by filing four election objections with the NLRB, three of which were immediately rejected. After holding a hearing on the remaining objection, the NLRB ultimately upheld the election results.

Not only did union officials fight the decertification results, they also retaliated against employees who opposed the union’s presence. Prior to the election, Foundation staff attorneys filed federal unfair labor practice charges for Hector Garcia and Enriqueta Morales, two employees whose jobs were threatened for working to remove the union. Garcia and Morales also say that other employees faced harassment and intimidation from Teamster operatives for opposing the union’s presence.

“Mr. Campos and his colleagues had to overcome legal obstructionism and Teamster boss intimidation tactics to get rid of a union they wanted nothing to do with,” said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Unfortunately, workers across the country often face similar hurdles when attempting to remove unwanted union bosses from their workplaces.”

“This episode also emphasizes the need for a California Right to Work law, which would ensure that no employee can be forced to pay union dues to get or keep a job,” continued Semmens.

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

Union Officials Leave Carteret Holiday Inn to Avoid Worker Vote

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.”

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

SEIU Disclaims “Representation” over Des Peres Hospital Employees on the Eve of Vote to Kick Union Out

After employees pushed to remove the union, SEIU bosses gave up their workplace privileges to avoid an embarrassing election loss

St. Louis, MO (January 14, 2016) – On the eve of an election that almost certainly would have resulted in a defeat for SEIU Healthcare IL/IN/MO/KS, union officials renounced their workplace bargaining privileges over approximately 170 Des Peres Hospital employees.

In late December 2015, a Des Peres employee, who received free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, submitted a petition to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asking for a vote to remove the SEIU. The employee-led drive to remove the union prompted the NLRB to schedule a union decertification election for January 13, but that vote was cancelled after union officials announced they were “disclaiming representation” and walking away from the Des Peres bargaining unit. The affected employees consisted of technicians, secretaries, and other hospital support staff.

Because Missouri lacks a Right to Work law, union officials can be empowered to require all employees in a given workplace – including those who don’t belong to or support the union – to pay dues or fees. The contract between Des Peres Hospital and SEIU Healthcare IL/IN/MO/KS included a provision that required all employees in the bargaining unit, including nonmembers, to contribute money to the union. Now that the union has left, these 170 employees can no longer be forced to pay dues to the SEIU.

“SEIU officials read the writing on the wall and fled before these employees could vote them out,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “We are happy to report that these workers are now free from the burden of paying dues to an organization they don’t support.”

“Unfortunately, many of their fellow Missouri employees aren’t so lucky,” continued Mix. “That’s why Missouri should make all union dues completely voluntary by adopting a Right to Work 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

Federal Judge Denies Attempt to Force Union Back Into Chicago Workplace

NLRB and union lawyers sought to nullify workers’ decision to get rid of unwanted union

Chicago, IL (December 3, 2015) – United States District Court Judge Amy J. St. Eve has just denied a petition by the Obama National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and United Steelworkers (USW) union lawyers to force the USW back into a Franklin Park workplace after a majority of employees decided to remove the union. National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys represented Arlington Metals employee Brandon DeLaCruz and 20 of his co-workers in a federal court injunction hearing and filed an amicus brief affirming the employees’ opposition to the union’s continued presence.

Unwilling to accept the employees’ verdict, USW officials asked the Obama NLRB to seek an injunction to nullify the results of a 2014 decertification drive, in which 16 out of 26 employees at Arlington Metals’ Franklin Park facility successfully petitioned to remove the union from their workplace.

In September 2014, USW lawyers filed unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB in an attempt to nullify the employees’ petition and force the union back into their workplace. The NLRB’s General Counsel issued a complaint seeking to require the company to restore the union as the workers’ monopoly bargaining agent, and the full NLRB in Washington authorized the filing of a petition for an injunction to immediately reinstate union officials’ workplace privileges.

Although the judge’s decision forecloses the possibility of immediately restoring union officials’ bargaining privileges, DeLaCruz and his coworkers can still be pushed back into union ranks if the full NLRB later upholds the union’s unfair labor practice charges.

If the federal judge had issued the NLRB’s requested injunction, all Arlington Metals employees at the Franklin Park facility would have been immediately forced to accept unwanted Steelworkers “representation.” Union officials would have been empowered to dictate workers’ wages and working conditions, and likely would have demanded forced dues from all employees at the facility.

In November 2015, the federal judge allowed DeLaCruz to file an amicus curiae brief opposing the NLRB and the union’s petition. That brief urged the Court to deny the injunction because a majority of employees continue to oppose the USW. Although the NLRB unsuccessfully tried to block DeLaCruz from even submitting his brief, approximately 20 of his co-workers joined his effort and sought legal representation from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

“This story is all too familiar,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The Obama NLRB will go to great lengths to keep union bosses in power, even in the face of overwhelming employee opposition. For now, these workers are free from the burden of unwanted union representation and the specter of being forced to pay dues to an organization they do not support. But it shouldn’t take years of legal procedures to get rid of one stubborn union.”

“Instead of actively hindering their efforts, the NLRB should respect the wishes of employees who wish remove unwanted union bosses,” added Mix.

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

Employee Files Federal Charges after Teamster Officials Threaten Workers Who Seek to Vote Union Out

Employee Files Federal Charges after Teamster Officials Threaten Workers Who Seek to Vote Union Out

Santa Cruz, CA (November 20, 2015) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a local Threshold Enterprises employee has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 912 union. Threshold employee Hector Garcia states that union officials threatened to have workers fired for voting to remove the Teamsters.

A union decertification election is scheduled for November 23 and 24 at Garcia’s workplace to determine whether Teamster officials will continue to collect mandatory union dues and bargain over wages and working conditions for all Threshold employees. In the months leading up to the election, union officials have repeatedly harassed independent-minded employees to discourage them from voting against the union.

Local 912 is currently the monopoly bargaining agent for all Threshold employees in Garcia’s workplace. Because California lacks a Right to Work law, this means that Teamster officials are legally empowered to collect mandatory union dues or fees from all workers, including those who oppose the union’s presence.

Garcia’s charges follow similar allegations leveled by his coworker, Enriqueta Morales, in September 2015. Morales also filed federal charges after Teamster officials threatened her job for gathering signatures for a petition to remove the union. Both Garcia and Morales’ charges contend that other employees have faced harassment and intimidation from Teamster operatives for opposing the union’s presence.

Garcia and Morales’ charges will now be investigated by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a federal agency responsible for administering private-sector labor law.

“It’s outrageous that union officials are resorting to harassment and intimidation to hold onto their forced-dues powers over workers,” said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Employees should be free to vote their consciences without interference from Teamster goons. The National Right to Work Foundation stands ready to defend the rights of any victims of union boss harassment.”

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

Fifth Time’s a Charm? Alabama NTN-Bower Employees Vote to Remove Unwanted Union Again in Fifth Election in Two Years

The UAW lost three previous votes and the fourth was thrown out due to ballot stuffing, but union lawyers resorted to legal stalling tactics to delay union decertification

Hamilton, AL (May 20, 2015) – Employees at a local NTN-Bower plant voted yesterday 74-52 to remove the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 1990 union from their workplace. This marks the fifth time in less than two years employees at the facility have voted on decertifying the union. The UAW has lost four out of the past five elections, and the only vote the union won was tainted by blatant ballot-stuffing.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) scheduled a fifth decertification election at the facility after a hearing officer found merit to UAW lawyers’ objections to the February 2015 vote against the union’s presence. Union officials now have one week to file objections with the NLRB contesting the most recent results.

Ginger Estes, who is receiving free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, first requested a decertification election in 2013 along with many of her coworkers.

Estes believes that the UAW has mistreated independent-minded employees. “We have endured their intimidation,” she said.

Although a majority of workers voted against the UAW in the first election, union and company officials agreed to set aside the results and allow the employees to vote a second time. In the second election, workers also voted to remove the union. UAW officials promptly challenged the results, and a divided NLRB panel voted 2-1 to invalidate the outcome and schedule a third election.

On January 16, 2015, workers voted a third time on removing the UAW. The union narrowly avoided another loss, but the results were tainted by obvious ballot-stuffing. Despite the fact that only 140 employees at the facility were eligible to vote, 148 ballots were cast. Estes formally challenged the results with the help of Foundation staff attorneys, and the NLRB quickly agreed to schedule a fourth vote. On February 20, NTN-Bower employees again voted to eject the UAW from their workplace by a wide margin. Shortly afterwards, UAW lawyers convinced the NLRB to set aside the results and hold yet another vote.

"Once again, employees at the Hamilton NTN-Bower plant have made it abundantly clear that they are not interested in the UAW's so-called 'representation',” said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Unfortunately, it has already taken these workers five elections in less than two years to rid themselves of one stubborn union.”

“While we applaud Ginger Estes and her coworkers for standing up for their right to represent themselves, employees shouldn't have to clear this many hurdles to remove an unwanted union,” continued Semmens. “It is our hope that the Obama NLRB will finally certify these results and not allow UAW bosses and lawyers to play more games to thwart the will of the employees at NTN-Bower."

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

NLRB Schedules Fifth Union Decertification Election at Alabama Plant Despite Workers Repeatedly Voting Against the UAW

Case highlights the obstacles workers face when attempting to eject an unwanted union

Hamilton, AL (May 7, 2015) – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has scheduled a fifth union decertification election at a local NTN-Bower plant after a hearing officer found merit to United Auto Worker (UAW) lawyers’ objections to a February vote against the union’s presence. This will mark the fifth time in less than two years employees at the facility have voted on removing the union.

The UAW Local 1990 union is currently the exclusive bargaining agent for 140 employees at NTN-Bower’s Hamilton plant. Ginger Estes, who is receiving free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, first requested an election with the NLRB in 2013 along with many of her coworkers to remove the UAW from their workplace.

Although a majority of workers voted against the UAW in the first election, union and company officials agreed to set aside the results and allow the employees to vote a second time. In the second election, workers elected to remove the union by a margin of two votes. UAW officials promptly challenged the results, and an NLRB panel voted to invalidate the outcome and schedule a third election.

On January 16, 2015, workers voted a third time to determine whether to remove the UAW. The union narrowly avoided another loss, but the results were tainted by obvious ballot stuffing. Despite the fact that only 140 employees at the facility were eligible to vote, 148 ballots were cast.

Estes formally challenged the results with the help of Foundation staff attorneys, and the NLRB quickly agreed to schedule a fourth vote. On February 20, NTN-Bower employees voted 82-50 to eject the UAW from their workplace. Despite losing the election by a wide margin, UAW lawyers convinced an NLRB hearing officer to set aside the results yet again and hold another vote.

The new election is scheduled for May 19, 2015.

“It shouldn’t take five votes to get rid of a union that has clearly overstayed its welcome,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The NLRB has stacked the deck against workers seeking to remove unwanted unions, allowing union officials to throw out results that don’t go their way and hold onto power.”

“Ginger Estes’ saga highlights an ugly double standard in federal labor law,” continued Mix. “While the activist Obama NLRB makes it easier to organize workplaces by enacting new ‘ambush election’ rules to get unions certified, union lawyers are allowed to game the system by blocking or overturning workers’ votes against unwanted unions.”

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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