Trump Labor Board has opportunity to overturn harmful 2011 ruling trapping workers in union after abuse-prone “card check” certification
Washington, D.C. (August 23, 2018) – Today, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys submitted an appeal to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asking the Board overturn a 2011 Obama-era NLRB decision that is being applied to block a group of Seattle hotel housekeepers from holding a secret ballot decertification vote to remove a union they oppose. Foundation staff attorneys are representing the Embassy Suites employee who filed the petition for a vote to oust the union which the workers never voted into their workplace.
The UNITE HERE Local 8 union was installed at the hotel through an oft-abused “card check” drive, which bypasses an NLRB-supervised secret ballot election. Gladys Bryant, a housekeeper at the hotel, led a group of other employees to petition the NLRB to hold a decertification vote and remove the union, which was never voted in.
However, the election petition was dismissed by an NLRB official using a controversial Obama-era ruling that bars workers from having a secret ballot decertification vote to remove a union from their workplace.
In Lamons Gasket, an Obama-selected NLRB overturned the 2007 National Right to Work Foundation-won Dana decision that gave workers the opportunity to challenge a card check union drive with a secret ballot vote. Under the Dana precedent, workers can collect signatures to request a secret ballot election during a 45-day window following notice that they have been forced into union representation via card check.
The Dana ruling provided an important, though limited, protection for workers against the coercive practices frequently associated with card check, which allows organizers to mislead employees into signing cards that are then counted as “votes” toward unionization—which is precisely what happened to Gladys Bryant. When the Dana precedent was overruled with Lamons Gasket, it meant no matter how many workers signed a petition seeking to oust a union, they could be barred for at least one year before they could file for a secret ballot vote.
Now, the Labor Board has the chance to undo the damage done by the previous NLRB by overturning the Lamons Gasket decision. This is especially important for workers in states like Washington, which does not have Right to Work protections—where workers can then be forced to pay fees to a union they never even had the chance to vote for or against.
“Ms. Bryant’s situation demonstrates the coercive nature of a card-check drive, and why the Trump Labor Board must put an end to the disastrous precedent which reinforces its use,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “The Lamons Gasket decision means that workers can be forced into paying union fees even if the majority of the workplace does not support the union. Workers must be allowed to fight back against this coercive process.”
In addition to her petition for a secret ballot decertification vote, Foundation staff attorneys also filed NLRB unfair labor practice charges for Bryant against the union and hotel management for coercive tactics used in the union card check process. Those charges are still being investigated by the NLRB.
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.