Majority of Lyndhurst Medieval Times cast members signed petition asking Labor Board for election to remove union, but union is stalling vote

Newark, NJ (September 21, 2023) – Artemisia Morley, a cast member at the Lyndhurst, NJ, location of Medieval Times, has submitted a Request for Review to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, D.C., defending her and her coworkers’ right to vote unwanted officials of the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA) union out of the workplace. Morley is receiving free legal representation from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.

Morley’s Request for Review challenges NLRB Region 22’s hurried dismissal of a petition she filed on behalf of her coworkers seeking an election to remove the AGVA union (also known as a “decertification election”). Her petition contained the signatures of a strong majority of her coworkers, but the Regional Director dismissed it “without any hearing, and without citing any evidence that there was a ‘causal nexus’ between the Employees’ disaffection from the Union” and unproven allegations that union officials had levied against the employer.

Because New Jersey lacks Right to Work protections for its private sector workers, AGVA union officials have the power to force Morley and her coworkers to pay union fees as a condition of keeping their jobs. In contrast, in states with Right to Work laws, union bosses can’t enter agreements with employers that force employees to fork over a portion of their paychecks to the union just to get or keep a job.

“Secretive” and “Self-Interested” AGVA Union Officials Tried to Stifle Worker-Requested Vote

The Request for Review notes that AGVA union officials were “secretive, self-interested, and divisive,” and “regularly advocated that the [Medieval Times] employees go on strike, something that had no support among the unit employees.” After waiting out the statutory one-year bar on union elections that follows a union’s certification, Morley filed the petition requesting a union decertification vote.

According to the Request for Review, instead of processing the petition as NLRB rules dictate, NLRB Region 22 issued a complaint against the employer and dismissed Morley’s petition based on unproven “blocking charges” AGVA union officials filed against Medieval Times management. The Request for Review argues that the hasty dismissal violated NLRB election rules, the Administrative Procedure Act, and well-established NLRB precedent requiring a hearing to demonstrate whether union allegations of employer misconduct actually caused employee discontent with the union.

“None of the alleged unfair labor practice allegations…concern the Employees’ collection of the decertification signatures or the Employer’s domination of the Union. Thus…an election should be held and the votes immediately counted,” the Request for Review contends. “Even if the Board determined the allegations warranted consideration under [NLRB rules], its plain terms prohibit dismissing a petition prior to an election.”

Case May Be Used to Push Radical Agenda of Biden-Appointed NLRB General Counsel

In 2020, the NLRB adopted Foundation-backed reforms that made it less difficult for workers to eliminate an unwanted union. One reform pared back union officials’ ability to use “blocking charges” to stop worker-requested decertification elections from happening. The reform instead created a process in which charges surrounding an election are litigated after employees have gotten to exercise their right to vote. Instead of applying this rule, NLRB Region 22 dismissed Morley and her coworkers’ requested election.

The Request for Review notes that NLRB Region 22’s complaint, which incorporated AGVA union officials’ unproven allegations against the employer, does not appear designed to help workers “but rather to twist the law and facts beyond recognition in order to aid the current [NLRB] General Counsel’s ideological crusade to overturn decades of settled Board law about bargaining obligations and employer free speech.” Biden-appointed NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, a former union lawyer, has thrown her weight behind other recent cases to uproot longstanding NLRB precedent, often to give more power to union bosses at the expense of workers’ freedom.

“Aided by regional NLRB officials, AGVA union officials seem determined to send the individual rights of Medieval Times workers back to the Dark Ages,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “NLRB election rules clearly forbid union officials from using completely unproven charges of employer misconduct to derail workers’ ability to have a vote on whether they want continued union representation.”

“Federal labor law is supposed to protect the fundamental right of workers to freely decide who will speak for them in workplace matters, and Foundation staff attorneys will fight for Morley and her coworkers as AGVA bosses try to turn this commonsense principle on its head,” 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.

Posted on Sep 21, 2023 in News Releases