Obama Administration Sides with Union Bosses Over Workers in Federal Court Case on Backroom Union Deals
Hollywood, FL (April 19, 2012) – The Obama administration is weighing in on a worker’s protracted, precedent-setting federal legal victory against a local union and Mardi Gras Gaming.
The case stems from a legal challenge initiated by Mardi Gras Gaming groundskeeper Martin Mulhall with free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation.
In 2008, Mardi Gras officials entered into an agreement with Unite Here Local 355 union officials promising that they would hand over employees' personal contact information (including home addresses), grant union operatives access to company facilities for the purpose of organizing through a coercive card check campaign, and refrain from speaking about the downsides of unionization. In return, Unite Here Local 355 union officials expended over one hundred thousand dollars to support a gambling ballot initiative and guaranteed not to picket, boycott, or strike against the facility.
Federal law aimed at preventing unions from agreeing to undermine workers' rights in exchange for concessions from management explicitly prohibits employers from giving "any money or other thing of value" to unions. Mulhall sued Unite Here Local 355 and Mardi Gras in 2008, arguing that the company's organizing assistance to the union is of substantial monetary value to the union.
In a precedent-setting decision, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit agreed with Mulhall, ruling that organizing assistance can be an unlawful "thing of value." Union lawyers subsequently petitioned the full court to rehear the case.
Obama Justice and Labor Department officials, along with controversial National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon, now have filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the union lawyers' position.
"Union bosses are using the power of their bought-and-paid-for White House in an attempt to roll back a major, precedent-setting victory for workers," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Of course, Obama administration radicals have already proven they will do what they can to support the union bosses' forced-unionism agenda at workers’ expense."