Jefferson, Wisc. (July 13, 2004) – The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has filed an amicus curiae brief with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Tyson Foods (Tyson) workers requesting to vote in a deauthorization election. If successful, the election would free nearly 400 workers at Tyson’s Jefferson, Wisconsin facility from being forced to pay union dues for unwanted union representation as a condition of employment. In their “Friend of the Court” brief, Foundation attorneys argue that contrary to arguments made by lawyers for the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, evidence clearly shows that the replacement workers are permanent employees and, accordingly, such workers have the right to vote in such an election. The NLRB accepted review of the appeal filed by UFCW union lawyers after the acting regional director in Milwaukee ruled in favor of the employees seeking to vote in the election. Tyson Foods hired the permanent replacement workers after approximately 390 employees walked off the job in a crippling strike in February of 2003. UFCW union lawyers somehow contend the workers are temporary replacements, despite a letter from Tyson to union officials to the contrary effect, and despite the fact that the company published announcements in 10 Jefferson-area newspapers from April 2003 to January 2004 stating that Tyson was in the process of hiring permanent replacement workers. Tyson also had replacement workers sign a “Permanent Replacement Acknowledgement” form affirming their permanent employment status upon hiring. “UFCW union officials fear losing the power to mandate dues payments from all workers. Without the power to get employees fired for refusal to pay union dues, union officials could actually be held accountable for their actions,” said Foundation Vice President Stefan Gleason. If the NLRB affirms the regional director’s finding, then the replacement employees at the Jefferson Tyson facility will be able to vote in the deauthorization election. A deauthorization election has only one purpose and effect: to remove the forced-union-dues clause from the collective bargaining agreement. Even after a successful deauthorization, all employees remain fully subject to other terms of the collective bargaining agreement, including agreements regarding wages and benefits, and they are still barred from negotiating on their own behalf. However, the union hierarchy would lose its power to get employees fired for refusal to pay union dues and would instead be forced to persuade individual employees why it deserves their financial support. Under the National Labor Relations Act, in order to request a deauthorization election, thirty percent of workers in a bargaining unit must sign a petition in support of holding the election. A majority of the workers in the bargaining unit, and not just of those voting, must then approve deauthorization.