UFCW Local 3000 swept out in “double header” as Mariners and Storyville Coffee workers both successfully remove unwanted union
Seattle, WA (July 26, 2023) – Seattle Mariners employees have successfully voted 50-9 to remove United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 3000 union officials from power at the Mariners’ retail stores in T-Mobile Park and the Westlake area of Seattle. The news follows the National Labor Relations Board’s denial of a union attempt to overturn the election. The employees received free legal aid in their effort from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
The Mariners’ retail workers filed a petition in April asking National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 19 to hold a vote on whether the union should be removed. The petition followed UFCW union officials’ imposition of union power over the retail shop employees via an October 2022 “card check” drive. “Card check” is a coercive and abuse-prone scheme in which union officials can bypass the secret ballot union election process, and instead attempt to obtain a majority of union authorization cards by demanding them directly from workers.
Over the objection of UFCW union officials, the NLRB Regional Director in May ordered a union decertification election at the request of the Seattle Mariners’ retail employees. Union bosses subsequently filed a Request for Review at the NLRB in Washington, D.C., seeking to halt the election. They argued that a so-called “voluntary recognition bar” should be imposed to block the Mariners’ employees from exercising their right to vote on the union’s removal. However, the NLRB denied the union’s Request for Review on July 25. After NLRB Region 19 certifies the 50-9 vote result, the Seattle Mariners’ retail employees will finally be free from the unwanted UFCW union.
Foundation-Backed Election Protection Rule Safeguards Employees’ Rights
The retail workers were able to challenge union officials’ card check drive thanks to the Election Protection Rule (EPR), a reform to the election rules enacted by the NLRB in 2020 following Foundation advocacy. While union officials pre-EPR were able to manipulate the so-called “voluntary recognition bar” to block employees from voting out a union for at least a year after an employer recognized a union’s supposed card check victory, the EPR granted employees a 45-day window in which to petition for a secret ballot election to challenge the card check result.
The NLRB Regional Director’s May decision noted that, even though the Mariners’ employees filed the petition outside the 45-day window, the “bar” following the card check recognition would still not apply because neither the union nor the employer had followed the proper procedure to ensure that the retail employees were informed of their right to challenge the card check drive. “There is thus no bar to an election in the instant matter,” the decision read.
The process by which workers can challenge card check drives by requesting secret ballot elections was originally established by Foundation attorneys in the Dana Corp. NLRB case. Though this decision was later overturned by the Obama NLRB, “Dana elections” were codified in the EPR.
Predictably, the wildly pro-Big Labor Biden NLRB has announced rulemaking to eliminate the Election Protection Rule, as well as rulemaking to impose harsh penalties on employers that challenge card check drives. Such changes would let unions seize power virtually automatically after a card check drive, with no opportunity for employees to have a secret ballot vote instead.
Seattle Storyville Coffee Employees Also Remove UFCW 3000 Union
Just hours after the NLRB denied UFCW Local 3000 officials’ Request for Review in the Seattle Mariners case, employees of Storyville Coffee Company in Seattle received word that UFCW Local 3000 officials had filed paperwork to end their control at the shop. Storyville employees, led by Paris Hunt, also petitioned for a union decertification vote with free Foundation legal aid. Apparently fearing another loss at the ballot box, UFCW Local 3000 officials pulled out as opposed to facing the will of the workers in an election.
“While the Seattle Mariners’ retail employees were able to shut down UFCW bosses’ scheme to force them under union control without even a vote, workers’ right to get a secret ballot vote is now under severe threat from the Biden NLRB, which is eager to empower the Administration’s union boss allies,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “NLRB officials should look to the Mariners’ employees as real-life examples of workers whose rights would be stripped away if the Election Protection Rule is done away with at Big Labor’s behest.”
“No worker should be trapped under the ‘representation’ of a union they oppose, and at the very least every employee should have a right to cast a private ballot before union bosses gain power in their workplace,” Mix added.
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.