49-17 Labor Board deauthorization vote comes as employees wait for window to hold vote to finally remove unwanted Steelworkers union boss “representation”

Austin, MN (December 19, 2022) – “We are so happy with the way the election turned out,” Mayo Clinic Austin patient care specialist Erin Krulish commented. “I think it really shows that all of us came together to show the union that we don’t want to keep paying them when they are doing nothing for us.”

A group of support employees at Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin, Minnesota, overwhelmingly voted to “deauthorize” United Steelworkers (USW) Local 11-00578 union in their workplace. The workers filed the deauthorization petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 18 with free legal representation from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.

Krulish filed the deauthorization petition for her coworkers who wanted to get rid of the so-called “union security clause” that authorizes USW union bosses to have clinic employees fired for refusing to financially support union activities. The request seeking the vote to end United Steelworkers union officials’ forced dues powers at Mayo Clinic Austin was signed by 49 of the 66 workers, well over the 30% required to trigger the NLRB-supervised election.

Minnesota is not a Right to Work state, meaning all workers in a unionized workplace can be required to pay dues or fees to a union as a condition of keeping their jobs. However, although winning such a vote can often be an uphill battle as independent workers have to take on professional forced-dues-funded union organizers, federal law does allow workers to hold deauthorization votes to end union officials’ legal authority to force workers to “pay up or be fired.”

The successful deauthorization vote at Mayo Clinic Austin comes as the workers wait for the opportunity to end USW officials so-called “representation” at the facility completely, a process known as decertification. “We plan to decertify come next December when our contract is up and we are ready for another fight!” Krulish said following the deauthorization victory.

Currently the non-statutory NLRB-invented “contract bar” doctrine blocks workers from holding a decertification vote to remove a union’s monopoly representation powers for up to three years when a union boss-imposed contract is in effect, consequently, a deauthorization vote, which isn’t limited by the contract bar was the employees’ only option. If the support staff at the Austin Mayo Clinic do decertify as they plan, they will join Minnesota nurses at Mayo Clinic Mankato and Mayo Clinic St. James in voting to oust union officials from their hospitals in just the six months.

Worker interest in removing unwanted unions is up nationwide. The NLRB’s own data show that, currently, a unionized private sector worker is more than twice as likely to be involved in a decertification effort as a nonunion worker is to be involved in a unionization campaign, with one analysis finding decertification petitions up 42% this year.

“We’re pleased Ms. Krulish and her coworkers are victorious in their effort to strip Steelworkers union bosses of their power to force workers to pay union dues or else be fired,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Ultimately, Minnesota needs a state Right to Work law to ensure that every individual worker has the freedom to decide whether or not to financially support a union, even those who can’t overcome the hurdles required to successfully navigate the complicated deauthorization process.”

“This case also shows why it is time to end the NLRB-concocted ‘contract bar’ that traps workers in union ranks they oppose for years at a time,” added Mix. “No worker anywhere should be forced under so-called union ‘representation’ they oppose.”

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 about 200 cases nationwide per year.

Posted on Dec 19, 2022 in News Releases