Unfair labor practice charge highlights systemic abuse of NLRB policy by union bosses seeking to block workers from holding decertification votes
Des Moines, IA (January 19, 2018) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, a Bemis North America employee has filed a federal unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Teamsters Local 727S for interfering with his right to hold a vote to remove a union that is not supported by a majority of workers. In late 2017, Union officials filed several frivolous “blocking charges” with the clear intent of preventing Bemis employees from holding a decertification election, as is their right under the federal law.
Wayne Devore works at Bemis North America in Des Moines, Iowa. In late October 2017, he filed a petition for a decertification election with the NLRB, after collecting the necessary signatures from his coworkers opposed to the Teamsters so-called “representation.” Under NLRB rules employees can trigger a vote to strip union officials of their monopoly bargaining powers over workers when at least 30 percent of employees in the bargaining unit sign a decertification petition.
NLRB Region 18 officials verified the signatures and scheduled a hearing on November 9 on the decertification petition to set dates and time for the decertification election. Yet, just days before the hearing was to take place, Devore was informed by the NLRB that it was postponed because Teamsters officials had filed an unfair labor practice charge.
The charge union officials filed appeared to have been filed solely to delay or block the decertification. Later, Teamsters officials withdrew that original charge, only to contrive five more frivolous unfair labor practice charges. This occurred despite the fact that in the previous year Teamsters Local 727S officials had raised no charges against Bemis management.
Despite Teamsters officials’ abuse of the process, the decertification election has been postponed by the NLRB while the Teamsters’ unfair labor practice charges are pending. Initially, Board agents said the first charge would take two to four weeks to investigate. However nearly three months later, there still has been no indication that the decertification vote will actually be held.
Understanding that his legal rights were being violated, Devore turned to the National Right to Work Foundation for assistance. His unfair labor practice charge filed by his Foundation-provided staff attorney alleges that when Teamsters officials filed their charges, they were aimed solely at blocking or delaying the decertification vote and thus infringed on the workers’ protected legal rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
“As is the case here, far too often union bosses are more interested in holding on to their power rather than respecting the rights and wishes of the rank-and-file workers they claim to represent,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Mr. Devore and his coworkers have a legal right under federal labor law to hold a decertification vote to remove the Teamsters from their workplace, and Teamsters officials violated that right when they abused the NLRB’s blocking charge doctrine.
“This case highlights a systemic problem in the NLRB’s policy that permits union officials to file unsubstantiated charges against employers designed primarily to block employees from removing unwanted unions,” continued Mix. “Nothing is more contrary to the stated purpose of the National Labor Relation Act than trapping employees in union ‘representation’ opposed by a majority of workers, which is why the current NLRB blocking charge policy must be scrapped.”
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.