USWU outrageously claimed that vote among approximately 1,000 PrimeFlight employees across country was necessary to boot union just at Orlando Airport
Orlando, FL (May 2, 2023) – Robert Anderson and his fellow PrimeFlight Aviation Services fueling employees at Orlando International Airport have successfully ousted United Service Workers Union (USWU) Local 74 union officials from their workplace. Anderson and his colleagues received free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation in removing the unwanted union.
Anderson and his coworkers submitted a majority-backed petition to the National Mediation Board (NMB) in March 2023. The petition contained enough employee support to prompt the agency to conduct a union “decertification” investigation at his facility. However, union officials objected to letting the employees vote, outrageously claiming that Anderson and his coworkers were actually part of a nationwide “system” and the union decertification election would need to be conducted among almost every PrimeFlight employee in the country – even though Anderson and his colleagues simply wanted to dismiss the union from their Orlando workplace alone.
Foundation Attorneys Expose Outrageous Union Scheme to Stop Vote
Foundation attorneys refuted union arguments in a position statement, contending that the union’s position was completely at odds with the Railway Labor Act’s (RLA) basic purposes, which ensure that “employees can [choose] to join or refrain from unionization, and that they are entitled to the fullest freedom in making that choice.” The RLA governs private sector labor relations in the air and rail industries.
“The [union] reasoning is both illogical and devastating to employee free choice,” said Foundation attorneys’ statement. “Local 74 would require some 1,000 PrimeFlight fuelers, at all locations, to weigh-in on whether the employees at one specific location in Orlando should be represented by Local 74, even though those other employees cannot possibly have any…interest in the representational choices of the Orlando location’s employees.”
Further, Foundation attorneys pointed out that USWU union officials’ position was especially suspect considering “the fuelers at other locations are represented by unions other than Local 74” (emphasis added) and have completely different contracts and working conditions. Had the USWU officials’ position been adopted, in order to eject a union for workers at one location, the workers would need signatures from hundreds or potentially thousands of workers at other locations. That could include not only workers covered by different unions with entirely different monopoly bargaining contracts, but also nonunion workers at other facilities who are already free to negotiate their own terms of employment.
USWU Officials Back Down, Abandon Orlando Airport
After Foundation attorneys countered the union’s contentions, USWU union officials quickly backed down and disclaimed interest in maintaining power over Anderson and his coworkers. Likely wanting to avoid a vote of the rank-and-file fueling employees who petitioned for the decertification vote, union officials issued a letter on April 21, 2023, declaring that the union “abandons its representative status and disclaims interest in the aforementioned employees.”
The NMB closed the case on April 26, 2023, meaning Anderson and his fellow fuelers are officially free of the union.
Foundation attorneys have continuously sought to safeguard workers’ right to decertify unwanted unions at the NMB. In 2020, the Foundation filed a brief at the agency opposing the AFL-CIO’s effort to bring back the arbitrary “straw man” rule, which required workers interested in decertifying a union to solicit support for a fake “straw man” union just to vote out incumbent union officials.
“USWU union officials’ ridiculous proposal of a nationwide decertification vote disrespects the rights of rank-and-file employees to vote out union bosses they oppose,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “We applaud Mr. Anderson and his fellow airplane fuelers for exercising their rights even in the face of such opposition from USWU union officials, but there are likely many other employees across the country whose efforts to oust an unpopular union have been stifled by such legal maneuvering. National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys stand ready to aid employees who experience similar barriers to their rights.”
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 around 250 cases nationwide per year.