Worker’s labor board charges say union and company violating the law to impose unionization, ask for secret ballot vote to remove union
Seattle, WA (July 5, 2018) – Today, housekeepers at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Seattle, Washington filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asking for a decertification vote to remove the UNITE HERE Local 8 union from their workplace. The union was installed through an abuse-prone “card check” drive, which bypasses an NLRB-supervised secret ballot election. The petition was filed with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.
In a card check drive, union organizers can pressure, intimidate or mislead workers into signing cards, which then are counted as “votes” in favor of unionization. In the case of the UNITE HERE card check at Embassy Suites Seattle, company officials created further pressure by assisting union organizers in collecting cards before utilizing them to install the union as the workers’ monopoly bargaining “representative.” Because the state of Washington lacks a Right to Work law, even workers who choose not to be voluntary union members can be forced to pay dues or fees to union officials, or else be fired.
Foundation staff attorneys also filed federal unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB against the union and hotel management for housekeeper Gladys Bryant, who helped lead the drive to remove UNITE HERE.
Her charge against the union states that union officials illegally misled her about how to revoke the card union organizers had her sign. After learning more about the union’s activities and deciding she did not want UNITE HERE in her workplace, she asked a union agent how to withdraw her support. Contrary to the law, she was told she would need to drive to the union hall to revoke. When she did drive hours to demand her card in person, union officials had locked her out.
Bryant’s charge against the company alleges that hotel management violated federal labor law by assisting UNITE HERE with the card check campaign. That assistance included granting union organizers access to the workplace, turning over employees’ personal information to union organizers, and agreeing to silence any opposition to unionization from managers.
The charges ask the NLRB to either invalidate the card check unionization due to illegal conduct, or hold a decertification election to let the workers vote out the union they oppose. If the NLRB Regional Director applies the controversial Obama Labor Board decision Lamons Gasket to block the workers from holding a secret ballot vote to remove the union, Foundation staff attorneys will appeal and ask the newly composed five-member Board to overturn the decision, which prevents votes for one year after a card check recognition.
“This situation demonstrates the coercive, and often collusive, environment that accompanies a card check campaign, and demonstrates why the new Trump Labor Board should promptly abandon the disastrous Lamons Gasket decision, which locks workers into forced dues ranks even when a majority opposes a union,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation.
“This case uniquely spotlights one of the many double standards in federal labor law, which rigs the system in favor of forced unionism,” added Mix. “Although past Labor Boards have frequently declined to prosecute companies for assistance given to union organizers, they would prosecute the company for giving exactly the same type of assistance to workers seeking to remove a union. It is long past time this inequity in enforcement be eliminated.”
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, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.