Region 28 Director blatantly ignored “blocking charge” rules to dismiss worker’s petition to remove IUOE and IUPAT bosses from his workplace
Washington, DC (April 5, 2021) – Thomas Stallings, a maintenance worker at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, filed an Emergency Request for Expedited Review with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington DC, with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
The request seeks to overturn the decision by the Regional Director of NLRB Region 28 to dismiss Stallings’ petition for a vote whether to decertify International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) and International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) officials who jointly have monopoly bargaining power over his maintenance unit. A large majority of Stallings’ coworkers signed the petition.
The Regional Director dismissed the petition because of “blocking charges,” unfair labor practice (ULP) charges filed by union lawyers. However, as Stallings’ request points out, all but one of the charges the Region used to dismiss the petition “relate to other unions besides the IUOE or IUPAT unions involved in this case, and to other bargaining units having nothing to do with the 19-person maintenance unit involved in this case.”
None of the charges even relate to the election itself, yet the Regional Director agreed with union lawyers that the mere existence of the charges―even if they turn out to be meritless― must deny Stallings and his coworkers the right to a decertification vote. The NLRB changed its rules in 2020 to curb union officials’ use of spurious “blocking charges” to delay decertification votes, and Stallings’ request for review argues that Region 28’s dismissal of his decertification petition ignored those rules changes.
Indeed, Stallings’ request argues, the Region is acting as though the old rules are still in place, and “did not even deign to cite the current Election Rules in its dismissal order, let alone apply them.” This is not the first time an NLRB Regional Director has ignored the new election rules to prevent workers from freeing themselves from unwanted union control.
In November, 2020, after all votes whether to remove the IUOE from Detroit-based Reith-Riley Construction Company had been cast, and hours before they were scheduled to be counted, NLRB Region 7 dismissed the workers’ decertification petition. In that case too, the Region cited “blocking charges” that had been filed by union lawyers as justification for stopping the election.
In both the Reith-Riley and Palms Casino cases, NLRB Regional officials ignored NLRB blocking charge reforms. The purpose of the reforms, which heavily cited comments National Right to Work Foundation attorneys submitted to the NLRB, is to stop union officials from imposing themselves on dissatisfied workers for months or even years while often-unrelated union allegations against employers are litigated.
The NLRB’s final rule specifically requires that votes be tallied and results announced unless the charges allege that the employer has improperly aided the decertification petition, and even then the votes will be counted unless a complaint against the employer has been issued within sixty days of the filing of the charges.
Stallings’ request notes that “even under the old election rules, a Region is not permitted to dismiss a decertification petition…based on ULP charges that are unrelated to any claim of employer taint in the election.” The Region cannot simply decide unilaterally that there is a connection between the employer’s misbehavior alleged in a blocking charge and the employees’ dissatisfaction with a union.
The request asks the NLRB to reverse the Regional Director’s decision and allow Stallings and his coworkers to have a vote to decide whether they will continue to be represented by IUOE and IUPAT officials.
“NLRB Region 28 is simply ignoring the existing rules to prevent independent-minded employees from choosing to remove a union they want nothing to do with,” commented National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix. “The Region is using charges that have nothing to do with Mr. Stallings and his coworkers’ petition as a pretense for insulating union bosses from a vote by those they claim to represent.”
“The NLRB in Washington should immediately reverse this blatant violation of the rules, and give Mr. Stallings and his coworkers the vote they deserve.”
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 around 250 cases nationwide per year.