Once final, vote to boot IAM union officials strips union of ability to impose forced dues in wake of Right to Work repeal legislation
Grand Rapids, MI (May 16, 2023) – Workers at the TerryBerry Company in Michigan recently voted to remove International Association of Machinist of Aerospace Engineers (IAM) District Lodge 60/Local Lodge 475 union officials’ forced representation powers. A petition filed by Mary Soltysiak with the National Labor Relations Board Region 7 (NLRB) led to this successful vote. Soltysiak received free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
Mary Soltysiak and her coworkers at TerryBerry Company filed for a decertification vote on April 14, 2023, with free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys. Her decertification petition contained signatures of a majority of the employees in the unit. Soltysiak has been under the protections of the Michigan Right to Work law since 2018.
Under federal labor law, workers can trigger such a decertification vote with the support of 30% of workers in a unionized workplace. The NLRB should then promptly schedule a secret ballot election to determine whether a majority of workers want to end union officials’ power to impose a contract, including forced dues, on workers. The NLRB scheduled a vote for May 15, 2023.
On May 15, TerryBerry employees made their position on the union clear, voting to remove the union from their workplace. Barring any objections by union officials that seek to overturn the vote, the workers will be officially free of the union in one week.
The workers’ decertification petition comes in the wake of Michigan legislators ramming through a bill to repeal their state’s decade-old and highly popular Right to Work law. When the repeal law takes effect, union officials will once again have the power to force workers to pay up or be fired in workplaces where the union has forced “representation” powers. Luckily for Soltysiak and her coworkers, however, due to the successful decertification vote they will continue to be free of union coercion.
The TerryBerry decertification is one example of growing distrust in unionization, especially in Michigan. Currently, the NLRB’s data shows a unionized private sector worker is far more likely to be involved in a decertification effort as their nonunion counterpart is to be involved in a unionization campaign. NLRB statistics also show a 20% increase in decertification petitions last year versus 2021.
“As Michigan workers again face the prospect of mandatory union dues, we expect more will follow these TerryBerry workers and seek to decertify unions,” stated Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “Numerous polls showed that Michigan voters overwhelmingly supported Michigan’s Right to Work law, which doesn’t prevent a single person from voluntarily joining or paying dues to a union, but merely protects workers from being fired for non-payment.”
“Being forced under a union you oppose is bad enough, but then being told to pay up or be fired is even worse,” continued Mix. “Michigan workers can turn to the National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys who stand ready to assist them in exercising their right to decertify unwanted unions.”
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.