Princeton, WV (December 26, 2006) – Walter Coeburn, a ResCare, Inc. assisted living employee filed federal labor board charges against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 1199 and ResCare for their attempts to force unwanted unionization on Coeburn, his co-workers and employees all across West Virginia.
Coeburn filed the charges at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 11 offices in Winston Salem, NC, with assistance from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys. The unfair labor practice charges ask for an injunction to block the union and ResCare from continuing their unlawful activities, and they detail multiple violations of the National Labor Relations Act by SEIU officials and ResCare.
As part of an agreement kept secret from employees, ResCare executives agreed to abandon even the limited protections offered to employees under a NLRB-supervised secret ballot election and instead impose a coercive “card check” procedure, in which union organizers can browbeat employees individually to sign cards that are then counted as “votes” for unionization.
Because of the prevalence of union intimidation tactics directed at employees, card check is controversial for severely curtailing workers’ freedom of choice in deciding whether or not to unionize. Consequently, the organizing scheme has sparked numerous legal cases documenting coercive activities by union organizers, including threats, bribes, and stalkings of rank-and-file workers. In this case, witnesses said that SEIU organizers lied to many employees by stating that signing the cards was only a request “to get more information.”
The “card check” procedure used at ResCare is part of a larger misnamed “neutrality and card check agreement” designed to have the employer assist union organizers in pushing workers into the union’s ranks. Under such agreements, the company commonly must give union officials unfettered access to workers on company property and the home addresses and phone numbers of employees, resulting in menacing home visits from groups of union organizers. Also, such agreements usually include a “gag rule” preventing the employer from commenting on any potential impact of unionization.
In exchange for agreeing to assist the union with the card check scheme, ResCare executives received concessions from SEIU officials, including an agreed upon contract to be foisted upon the employees once the card check unionization was complete. Such “pre-recognition bargaining” clearly violates federal law, yet the SEIU and ResCare are now rolling this scheme out all over West Virginia and Ohio.
“Union officials sold out the interests of the very workers they sought to ‘represent’ in order to force unionization and compulsory dues on these employees,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Union organizers’ illegal behavior shows that they don’t respect the rights of the workers; they just want the forced union dues revenue.”
In response to their ill treatment, Coeburn and his colleagues conducted a decertification drive to throw out the unwanted union. A majority of employees in the bargaining unit have signed a petition asking the NLRB to conduct an election to determine if the SEIU really has the majority employee support it claims.
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.