Union officials attempted to use technicality to block employees’ right to vote despite clear showing workers opposed union
Shrewsbury, NJ (April 9, 2020) – With free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, Loundy Saint Louis, an employee of the Meridian Health Nursing and Rehabilitation facility in Shrewsbury has successfully petitioned the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a vote to remove the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199 at her workplace. In a ruling Monday the NLRB overturned an earlier decision by a regional office in Newark, which had blocked her original petition despite a sufficient showing of interest by the employees for a vote.
According to the NLRB’s decision, a different employee of the nursing home had submitted a petition for a vote to remove the SEIU union on June 11, 2019, which contained signatures from enough employees to trigger the election. Though that employee withdrew the petition a week later, NLRB Region 22 maintained possession of the employees’ showing of interest in having the vote. Loundy Saint Louis then stepped up and submitted a new decertification petition on June 25. She asked the Regional Director to schedule a vote based on the recent showing of interest that it still had in its possession from the prior petition.
The Regional Director sided with union bosses and rebuffed Saint Louis’ petition, on the grounds that the employee that submitted the first petition “had not instructed or requested the Region to transfer the showing of interest to the Petitioner,” according to the NLRB’s decision.
Saint Louis then filed a petition for review, which pointed out that the prior petitioner’s permission is “irrelevant to whether the showing of interest is valid” in proving there is sufficient interest among the employees in a vote whether to oust the union, and that Saint Louis was merely acting for her coworkers.
The full NLRB in Washington granted Saint Louis’ request for review filed by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys. It ruled that “the petitioner in a decertification case merely acts ‘[on] behalf of employees’” and that the showing of interest in the earlier petition “still reflects the wishes of the employees.”
The Board reversed Region 22’s dismissal of Saint Louis’ petition and ordered that the Region take “further appropriate action” consistent with the Board’s decision, i.e., schedule the requested election.
This decision comes after the NLRB issued a final rule last week which removed some of the barriers employees face when trying to exercise their right to vote out a union that they oppose. These reforms, long-advocated for by the National Right to Work Foundation, included a reform in how the NLRB handles union “blocking charges” filed against employers with the intent of stopping employee attempts to decertify a union.
The final rule also substantially eliminates the “voluntary recognition bar,” which union bosses manipulate to block workers from requesting a secret ballot election after a union is installed as the monopoly bargaining agent through an abuse-prone “card check” drive. In justifying these rule changes the NLRB cited the Foundation’s comments submitted during the rulemaking process dozens of times.
“Although this victory is certainly good news, it is outrageous that SEIU union bosses were able to delay for months the right of Ms. Saint Louis and her coworkers to vote to decertify the union when, as the NLRB observed, there was clear evidence that more than enough workers were interested in having such an election,” observed National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “As the NLRB pointed out in its decision, mere technicalities like a change in petitioner should never serve as grounds to erase proof that a sufficient number of workers are interested in a decertification election.”
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.