Series of successful worker-led decertifications of Teamsters union bosses nationwide follow federal labor board rule change simplifying process
Chicago, IL (July 26, 2021) – Maintenance workers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago have successfully removed Teamsters Local 743 union officials from their workplace, following a vote in which more than 70% of those who cast ballots voted to free themselves from the Teamsters’ monopoly bargaining power. The election was held after worker Tim Mangia submitted a petition to National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 13 in Chicago demonstrating sufficient support among his coworkers for a decertification vote.
Mangia received free legal aid in filing the petition from a National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorney. The successful ouster is the latest in a string of successful worker-led decertifications of Teamsters officials across the country. Just last month, Frito-Lay salesmen voted Teamsters Local 657 officials out of their monopoly bargaining status in Del Rio, TX, and Eagle Pass, TX, a removal which followed Santa Maria, CA Allied Central Coast Distributing delivery drivers’ April dethroning of Teamsters Local 986 bosses. The workers who submitted petitions requesting decertification votes in each of these cases received legal help from Foundation staff attorneys.
Mangia and his coworkers are employed by Jones Lang Lasalle Americas, Inc. Mangia gathered the necessary signatures from his coworkers and on May 17, 2021 submitted the petition requesting that NLRB Region 13 supervise a secret ballot vote to remove the union. The ballots were counted on July 8 and by July 16 NLRB Region 13 confirmed that the workers had voted 25-8 to eject Teamsters bosses from their workplace.
For almost a year workers have been enjoying an easier pathway to exercising their right to remove unwanted union officials. The NLRB in Washington, DC, in July 2020 enacted new rules governing decertification elections which, drawing from comments Foundation attorneys submitted to the agency earlier that year, now forbid union bosses from indefinitely stalling worker-requested votes based on “blocking charges.” Those charges are allegations against an employer that are often unproven and unrelated to workers’ desire to oust union officials.
In Mangia’s case, the new rules may have prevented union officials from submitting “blocking charges,” as filing them would have neither delayed the election nor stopped the results of the vote from being released.
Had the effort by Mangia and his colleagues to oust Teamsters Local 743 officials been blocked, every full-time employee in Mangia’s workplace would have been forced to continue to suffer under union boss monopoly power. Additionally, the employees would have been forced to pay money from their wages to fund the union boss hierarchy because Illinois lacks Right to Work protections for its workers.
Right to Work protections ensure that no worker can be required to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of keeping his or her job. In a non-Right to Work state like Illinois, workers who choose not to affiliate with a union can still be forced to pay at least a portion of union dues as a condition of employment.
“Although Foundation-backed NLRB rule changes eliminated some of the barriers faced by Mr. Mangia and his coworkers in removing the Teamsters union from their workplace, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that it is wrong for so-called union ‘representation’ to be imposed on even one worker who doesn’t want it,” observed National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “States like Illinois which lack Right to Work protections compound the injustice of letting union officials force workers under union representation against their will by also empowering union bosses to threaten workers to pay union dues or else be fired.”
“We will continue to work towards a day when unions can neither impose their so-called ‘representation’ on individual workers against their will, nor force them to fund union activities,” Mix added.
Labor Board Ruling Keeps Union Bosses in Power Despite Unanimous Opposition of Rank-and-File Workers
Every single worker petitioned to remove Carpenters Union bosses as monopoly bargaining ‘representative’ but NLRB won’t even allow a vote
Washington, DC (July 20, 2021) – In March, Region 13 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rejected a petition by a group of Indiana construction workers who wanted to remove union bosses from their workplace. This week, the full NLRB in Washington, DC, sided with union officials and left in place the Region’s decision to dismiss the petition, which had unanimous support from the company’s workers.
None of the employees at Neises Construction Company in Crown Point, Indiana are members of the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters union (IKORCC), but federal law empowers IKORCC union bosses to represent these employees as their “exclusive bargaining representative.” With free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys, Neises employee Mike Halkias submitted a petition to decertify IKORCC officials as the monopoly bargaining agent for him and his coworkers.
Though the petition bore the signature of every member of the bargaining unit, the NLRB regional office rejected the petition, pointing to ongoing litigation between IKORCC and Neises. At the behest of IKORCC officials, the NLRB is seeking to force Neises to bargain with union officials for a union monopoly contract, even though no Neises employee is an IKORCC member or supports the union. The Region used the pending case against the employer to justify dismissing the workers’ petition for a decertification vote.
Foundation attorneys argued in their appeal to the full NLRB that the employer’s dispute with IKORCC bosses did not take away the workers’ right to remove the unwanted union. As the appeal stated, “Halkias and his fellow employees are not children, but freethinking individuals who have the right to dislike the Union for a host of reasons having nothing to do with Neises or the Union’s unproven, unadjudicated allegations.” The appeal implored the Board to, at the very least, investigate whether the alleged employer wrongdoing had diminished the employees’ ability to make an informed choice about union boss “representation.”
Instead, the Board denied the appeal, accepting the Region and union officials’ reasoning that the pending employer charges should block the workers’ request for a vote, leaving the nine workers under union “representation” they unanimously oppose.
“It is simply outrageous that federal law lets union bosses force workers to accept unions’ so-called ‘representation’ against their will – even when workers unanimously oppose the union,” said National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix. “Federal law purports to protect workers’ ‘freedom of association’ and to ensure union representation ‘is of their own choosing,’ however, as this case demonstrates, the NLRB frequently protects union boss power to the detriment of workers’ freedom.”
“This outcome shows how federal labor law is broken,” added Mix. “These workers simply want a vote to remove a union they oppose, yet the NLRB response is not only to block any such vote but also to seek to force their employer to bargain further with a union supported by precisely zero rank-and-file workers.”
Union lawyers withdrew dilatory election objections after worker obtained assistance from Foundation attorneys
Las Vegas, NV (July 13, 2021) – Tammy Tarantino, a respiratory therapist at Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas, successfully petitioned for a vote to remove SEIU union bosses from her workplace. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Nevada Regional office initially delayed Tarantino’s vote request, but scheduled an election once she obtained free legal representation from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.
SEIU bosses had a monopoly over contract bargaining for Tarantino and her coworkers, all technical employees at the hospital. Tarantino filed a petition for a decertification election to remove SEIU bosses with NLRB Region 28 after collecting the requisite number of signatures from dozens of her coworkers. The Region initially resisted her petition, telling her it might not be possible to schedule a vote. In their effort to stop the workers from voting, SEIU lawyers raised issues designed to block the election, relying on pending and past charges it had filed against the hospital. Though these charges did not allege anything illegal affecting Tarantino’s petition the Union argued the election must be blocked.
Tarantino eventually enlisted the free legal assistance of Foundation staff attorneys, who filed a response to union lawyers’ arguments. The response pointed out that the union lawyers were ignoring updates to the NLRB’s rules on “blocking charges,” charges against employers used to block workers’ votes to oust union officials. Thanks to reforms pushed by the Foundation, decertification elections now can proceed more quickly and the results are announced sooner. Under the old rules, “blocking charges” that had no impact on employees’ desire to decertify the union could still be used to stall decertification votes.
Tarantino’s response further argued union lawyers hadn’t filed their objections in a timely manner, which thus could not be considered even if they hadn’t relied on outdated rules. Once the response was filed, SEIU lawyers signed a stipulated election agreement allowing the decertification vote to move forward.
During the NLRB-supervised election, which took place over July 7-8, the members of Tarantino’s unit voted 39-13 to remove SEIU bosses from their workplace. Employees must now wait until July 15 to see whether the union files “objections.”
“Instead of respecting the will of the workers they supposedly represent, SEIU bosses took advantage of the system and attempted to block the vote requested by Tammy Tarantino and her coworkers,” said National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix. “No worker should be forced to accept the so-called representation of union bosses they do not support. While we’re pleased that Tarantino got her vote, and that Foundation-backed blocking charge reforms worked as intended, workers shouldn’t need the assistance of an attorney to prevent unpopular union bosses from bargaining for them.”
School Bus Driver’s Legal Fight Forces Teamsters Officials to Reveal Union Financial Information to Workers
New settlement requires union bosses to provide workers information on how union is spending their money
Buffalo, NY (July 13, 2021) – With free legal representation from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, Lockport, NY-based Student Transportation of America school bus driver Cynthia Roszman has won a settlement in her case charging the Teamsters Local 449 union with failing to provide information about how worker dues are spent.
As part of the settlement, Teamsters union officials must provide Roszman and her coworkers who have refrained from formal union membership sufficient information to decide whether to challenge the union’s dues calculation for nonmembers.
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 3 in Buffalo is enforcing the settlement. Roszman, who resigned her union membership in May 2018, first hit Teamsters bosses with federal charges in September of that same year, asserting that they had not provided her with an independently-verified breakdown of the union’s expenditures and accompanying information about the process for disputing union officials’ calculation of the reduced dues rate for nonmembers.
The NLRB ruled in 1995 that under the 1988 Foundation-won CWA v. Beck case private sector union officials must provide nonmember employees with this information. Beck mandates that private sector union bosses cannot, as a job condition, force workers who have abstained from union membership to pay dues for anything beyond the union’s core representational activities.
In states that have Right to Work protections for their employees, union membership and financial support are completely voluntary and union bosses cannot force workers to pay any portion of dues as a condition of keeping a job. Even though New York lacks such protections, union bosses still must follow the requirements of Beck to justify their forced dues demands.
To avoid prosecution, Teamsters Local 449 officials initially entered into a settlement in the case in January 2019. They agreed to only deduct from Roszman the nonmember dues rate based on the Teamsters national union’s financials, so they could rely on the national union’s breakdown as opposed to providing one themselves. However, after about a year union bosses reneged on this agreement and resumed demanding Roszman pay Local 449’s nonmember rate, yet refused to give her the legally-mandated financial breakdown and information for challenging that rate.
The latest Foundation-won settlement now compels Teamsters Local 449 officials to give Roszman and her coworkers who have decided not to associate with the union “information that is relevant and sufficient to enable the objector to determine whether to challenge the calculation” of the union’s dues amount for nonmembers. Union officials must also post a notice at Roszman’s workplace informing employees of the settlement.
“Although this favorable outcome for Ms. Roszman is good news, no workers should have to battle union bosses for years just to get basic information on how the union is spending their money, and on how they can contest what union officials force them to contribute just to keep their jobs,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “All American workers deserve the protection of a national Right to Work law, which would ensure that no worker could legally be forced to pay dues or fees to a union boss just to get or keep a job.”
California Worker Hits Back after Regional Labor Board Tosses Out Concerns of Mail Vote Tampering by Teamsters Union Officials
Teamsters officials pushed to have union representation vote by mail as opposed to in-person, worker presents evidence of union using system to illegally solicit ballots
Los Angeles, CA (July 2, 2021) – Nelson Medina, an employee at transportation company Savage Services’ Wilmington, CA, facility, has just filed a Request for Review to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, DC. He is demanding the Board review an NLRB Regional Director’s discarding of his objections to a mail ballot election pushed by Teamsters Local 848 union officials. This vote resulted in the Teamsters gaining monopoly bargaining power in Medina’s workplace, despite significant evidence that union officials manipulated the less-secure nature of mail elections to illegally solicit ballots, and despite evidence of other voter disenfranchisement that occurred due to flaws in the process.
Medina, who is represented for free by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, in his brief reiterates evidence that at least 12 of his fellow employees never had their votes counted purely due to errors by the US Post Office and the NLRB regional office. He also details that a union lawyer had “access to the tracking numbers for two of the ballots” which were originally considered late, indicating unlawful vote harvesting by union officials.
Medina seeks to have the NLRB in Washington overturn the NLRB Regional Director’s decision and order a hearing on voter disenfranchisement. His brief argues that, if the Board orders such a hearing and “ultimately finds merit to some, but not all of these objections, there is a chance that the ballot solicitation objections” involve enough ballots to invalidate the mail election win that Teamsters officials claim they have. He also demands that a rerun vote be administered for him and his coworkers.
On the issue of voter disenfranchisement, Medina’s brief states: “the evidence will show that the timing of the mail ballot election during the pandemic and the U.S. Presidential election” led to a substantial number of votes not being counted. The circumstances surrounding the election also didn’t meet any of the criteria the NLRB set forth in its Aspirus Keweenaw standard for administering a mail vote, the Request for Review argues. The NLRB generally prefers the security of in-person elections to mail ballot ones.
With regard to ballot solicitation, Medina’s brief contends that the Teamsters lawyer’s possession of the tracking numbers of the untimely ballots “is highly suspect and creates an inference that the Union was involved in or assisted with the mailing of those two ballots,” and that the Regional Director’s decision to reject these concerns and those about voter disenfranchisement without a hearing to evaluate the issues is impossible to justify.
Earlier in 2021, Foundation staff attorneys filed an amicus brief for Medina in Professional Transportation, another NLRB case in which workers asserted that union officials were soliciting and collecting ballots illegally. That brief pointed out that the under the NLRB’s Fessler precedent “unions faced with mail ballot elections are likely to engage in voter solicitation knowing that…they are unlikely to ever get caught,” even though employers would almost certainly be punished for attempting the same thing.
“Union bosses prefer mail ballots for unionization elections over in-person NLRB-monitored secret ballot votes for the same reason Big Labor advocates for ‘card check’ unionization: without direct NLRB oversight it is easier for union agents to apply pressure tactics, threats, and other coercive measures,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Mr. Medina and his coworkers deserve a secure in-person election so they can freely choose who will speak for them in the workplace, and Foundation staff attorneys will keep fighting for them until they get it.”
National Right to Work Foundation Celebrates Third Anniversary of Janus Ruling Protecting Public Employees from Forced Union Dues
Foundation continues to assist workers fighting union boss violations of landmark First Amendment Supreme Court decision
Washington, DC (June 25, 2021) – Three years ago, the Supreme Court issued its decision in the landmark Janus v. AFSCME case, holding that it is unconstitutional to force public sector workers to pay money to a union as a condition of employment. In that case the plaintiff, Mark Janus, was represented by veteran National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorney William Messenger, who presented oral arguments before the High Court in February 2018.
Foundation President Mark Mix issued the following statement to commemorate the decision’s three year anniversary on June 27:
“Today we celebrate a victory for public sector workers across the country. In Janus v. AFSCME, the Supreme Court affirmed that it is unconstitutional to force public sector workers to pay money to unions just to keep their jobs. The Court held that public sector union officials cannot take workers’ money without first obtaining their affirmative consent. For decades, union bosses hadn’t bothered to get workers’ consent, taking money even from those who object to unions and their efforts to influence public policy.
Yet, despite the High Court’s clear ruling, even three years later, Big Labor continues the widespread violation of workers’ First Amendment Janus rights.
From coast-to-coast, union bosses and their allies in state and local government have enacted policies to trap workers into forced dues by declaring that workers can only stop paying dues during an ‘escape period’ that often lasts only a few days each year. These policies turn the Constitution on its head, by claiming that so long as you permit someone to exercise their First Amendment rights for a brief designated time, you can deliberately deny those rights the rest of the year.
This blatant violation of the law is frustrating, but it’s what you’d expect when Big Labor spends billions in members’ dues money lobbying the government and hiring an army of lawyers to argue against workers’ rights in court. Luckily, the National Right to Work Foundation is fighting back for independent-minded workers.
Foundation attorneys successfully defeated several union boss ‘escape period’ schemes, including one that affected nearly 30,000 Ohio public employees. But we haven’t stopped there, the Foundation now has 14 active cases challenging ‘escape periods,’ including two cases for teachers in New Jersey and Chicago that have been appealed to the Supreme Court. If either of these cases ends in another Foundation Supreme Court victory, it would eliminate ‘escape period’ schemes across the country and further solidify the groundbreaking protections won for public sector workers in the Janus case. Though union bosses will continue to resist, the Foundation will not stop fighting until the First Amendment rights of every worker in America are honored.”
National Right to Work Foundation President Says Cedar Point Nursery SCOTUS Decision One Step in Nixing Coercive Union Power
Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid that a California law forcing farmers to let union agents occupy their property for solicitation to workers violates farmers’ private property rights.
National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix emphasized that there is still a long battle ahead in eliminating the many government-granted special privileges given only to union officials:
“While the Court’s ruling ends one example of a special power granted to unions but not any other type of private organization in the country, there remains much to do to roll back the numerous other government-granted coercive powers that union bosses use to expand their power over American workplaces, often in violation of individual workers’ rights.
“Union officials can still force their so-called ‘representation’ on workers who do not want and never asked for it, force employers to hand over workers’ private contact information even over workers’ objections, and, in states that lack Right to Work laws, force nonmember workers to pay money to the union under threat of termination.”
Recently, Foundation staff attorneys have represented rank-and-file workers for free in many cases challenging these privileges, including a case for Indiana workers who were forced under union “representation” despite them unanimously voting to oust the union, a case for a Rhode Island nurse who was defending her right not to pay for union lobbying as a condition of employment, and a case where a Delaware worker is challenging union officials’ ordering his employer to turn over his private information.
Click here for the National Right to Work Foundation’s list of “Big Labor’s Top Ten Special Privileges.”