Workers blocked from simply holding a vote to remove unpopular ATU union for months following union bosses’ unproven claims
Lansing, MI (April 8, 2020) – A Lansing transportation worker has just submitted a petition to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, D.C., requesting that the Board permit her and her coworkers to vote whether to remove the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) from power at their workplace. The petition was filed with free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys and responds to “blocking charges” ATU officials filed against her employer which have delayed the election.
The petition comes after the NLRB issued a final rule last week reforming the process by which union “blocking charges” are handled. “Blocking charges” are filed by union officials to prevent rank-and-file employees from exercising their right to vote whether to remove a union. The new rules generally permit employees to proceed with a vote whenever they demonstrate the necessary showing of interest. In the past unions could stay in power by blocking workers’ votes for months or even years while often unrelated allegations against employers were litigated. The new rule is set to go into effect this June.
According to this petition, the employee, Sandy Harris, filed a request for an election to remove the union in November 2019. Before her request was filed, the petition says, ATU union bosses filed “blocking charges” against her employer, Transdev Services. The NLRB Regional Director in Detroit then blocked the vote from taking place without an investigation or a hearing into whether the charges have merit. Harris’ petition notes that five months have now passed since an election was requested and that further delays are likely to occur now due to the impact of coronavirus on the NLRB’s operations.
In light of the NLRB’s new rules, Harris’ petition contends that the NLRB should process the employees’ request for a decertification election now and permit them to vote as soon as reasonably possible. This, according to the petition, would “vindicate the employees’ right to petition for a decertification election” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and prevent them from being “stuck in limbo” while waiting for the new rules to take effect this June. The petition also points out that union lawyers could and are likely to challenge the NLRB’s new rules in court, which could further slow the process.
The NLRB cited comments the Foundation submitted earlier this year dozens of times when it issued the final rule last week. Those comments pointed out that the NLRB’s old rules regarding “blocking charges” served only to keep union bosses in power while forbidding employees from exercising their right to vote to eliminate unwanted unions, and were merely the product of forced unionism-friendly board decisions, and not required by the NLRA itself.
“NLRB Region 7, by clinging to outdated, union boss-friendly rules, has allowed the ATU to remain in power at Ms. Harris’ workplace while needlessly stifling Ms. Harris’ and her coworkers’ right to vote out an unwanted union from their workplace,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “The NLRB should quickly enforce the new protections for employees.”
“It is outrageous that union officials continue to contend that workers’ right under the National Labor Relations Act to a decertification vote should be restricted based on unproven allegations of employer conduct,” added Mix.
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 more than 250 cases nationwide per year.