**Silver Spring, MD (December 11, 2006)** – Three workers aided by National Right to Work Foundation attorneys have filed federal labor board charges against the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 2 and their employer Kaiser Mid-Atlantic (a component of the national Kaiser Permanente health network) after union organizers entered into a pact with the healthcare giant to impose unwanted unionization on healthcare professionals.
The charges, filed at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), detail an agreement between OPEIU and Kaiser Permanente in which union officials bargained contract provisions for workers they did not legally represent. Such “pre-recognition bargaining” violates the National Labor Relations Act.
In exchange for a premature contract, Kaiser Permanente executives agreed to abandon even the limited protections offered to employees under a NLRB-supervised secret ballot election and instead impose a coercive “card check” procedure, in which union organizers can browbeat employees individually to sign cards that are then counted as “votes” for unionization.
Because of the prevalence of union intimidation tactics directed at employees, card check is controversial for severely curtailing workers’ freedom of choice in deciding whether or not to unionize. Consequently, the organizing scheme has sparked numerous legal cases documenting illegal activities by union organizers, including threats, bribes, and stalking of rank-and-file workers. In this case, OPEIU union officials told employees that raises and benefit increases depended on their signing up for union representation.
The “card check” procedure is part of a larger misnamed “neutrality agreement” designed to assist union organizers in pushing workers into the union’s ranks. Employers agree to give union officials unfettered access to workers on company property, and the home addresses and phone numbers of employees resulting in menacing home visits from groups of union organizers. Also, such agreements usually include a gag rule preventing the employer from commenting on any potential impact of unionization.
Once union officials gain monopoly bargaining power, they can then force all employees to pay dues to the union just to keep their jobs. Union officials hold this power because Maryland is one of 28 states that has not yet passed a Right to Work law, which would mandate that union membership and dues payment are strictly voluntary.
“Union officials want to force unionization on these workers from the top down, like it or not,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Union officials’ illegal behavior shows that they do not respect the rights of the workers they claim to represent; it’s all about the money and finding new sources of forced union dues revenues.”
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.