Request for Review: In vote to remove union, NLRB Regional Director ordered employee ballots destroyed and never counted

Los Angeles, CA (December 19, 2022) – With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Spanish Broadcasting System radio host Adal Loreto is defending his and his coworkers’ right to vote unwanted Stage Actors’ Guild (SAG-AFTRA) union officials out of their workplace. In July, Loreto filed a petition for a group of his coworkers seeking a vote to end union officials’ so-called “representation” over on-air talent of KLAX­FM and KXOL-FM radio stations.

That National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decertification petition resulted in a mail ballot election conducted in August and September. However, the workers’ ballots were never actually counted. Now, Loreto and his National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have filed a Request for Review at the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, DC, asking the Board to overturn NLRB Region 31 Director Mori Rubin’s order that the workers’ ballots be destroyed and never counted.

Loreto’s appeal says that regional NLRB officials are illegally refusing to count votes that he and his colleagues have already cast in their decertification election to decide whether SAG-AFTRA officials should be booted from the workplace. According to Loreto’s Request for Review, regional NLRB officials not only improperly relied on unverified charges (also called “blocking charges”) from SAG-AFTRA union officials to block the vote, but ignored the NLRB’s own election rules and polices.

NLRB Rules and Regulations state that, if NLRB regional officials do not issue a complaint related to a union decertification election within 60 days of the election, the votes “shall be promptly opened and counted.” Because no timely complaint was issued and NLRB Region 31 nevertheless ordered the ballots tossed, Loreto’s Request for Review argues that the regional officials are clearly disobeying NLRB Rules and Regulations in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and are violating the workers’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

SBS Radio Host Fights Unpopular Union’s Scheme to Stay in Power

In July 2022, Loreto submitted a valid employee-backed petition to the NLRB, asking the agency to hold a vote in his workplace on whether to remove, or “decertify,” the SAG-AFTRA union. The NLRB is the agency responsible for enforcing federal private-sector labor law and will normally conduct a “decertification vote” among workers when the required number express support, by petition, to remove the union from their workplace.

Loreto and his coworkers began voting in the decertification election on August 26, and the scheduled date for the ballot count was September 20. However, in response to SAG-AFTRA union officials’ “blocking charges,” NLRB Region 31 impounded the ballots for 60 days while it investigated the union charges.

National Right to Work Foundation-backed reforms adopted in rulemaking by the NLRB in 2020 eased the process by which employees can free themselves of an unpopular union. Under the reforms, union officials in most cases can no longer unilaterally derail an employee-requested decertification vote simply by filing “blocking charges,” which often contain unrelated and unverified allegations of employer misconduct.

In most cases, employees can still exercise their right to vote, though in some limited cases NLRB officials can impound ballots for up to 60 days while dealing with “blocking charges.” After that period, however, the vote counting must commence absent the filing of a formal complaint by the NLRB Regional Director based on the union-instigated “blocking charges.”

Loreto’s Request for Review notes that, instead of counting the votes as mandated by NLRB rules, NLRB Region 31 instead continued impounding the ballots past 60 days and later dismissed Loreto and his coworkers’ petition. This order effectively ends the workers’ effort to oust the unpopular union and would destroy the workers’ ballots without them ever being counted, despite no complaint being issued at the time when Regional Director Rubin ordered the workers be disenfranchised.

Loreto’s petition now asks the NLRB in Washington to reverse the NLRB Regional Director’s ruling and to immediately order the counting of ballots in the election as mandated by the NLRB’s own rules.

Foundation Fights Union Boss Moves to Scale Back Worker Free Choice Rights

Foundation staff attorneys aid workers across the country in exercising their right to vote out union officials who don’t serve their interests. Foundation attorneys have recently guided workers in California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and many other states in navigating the NLRB decertification process. Foundation attorneys will also oppose the Biden NLRB’s recently-announced plan to reverse the 2020 Foundation-backed reforms to the NLRB’s election rules, an action which would make exercising decertification rights significantly harder for countless workers across the country.

“Mr. Loreto’s situation illustrates perfectly how the NLRB, an agency that is supposed to neutrally enforce federal labor law, puts its thumb on the scale to assist union boss schemes to retain power over the wishes of rank-and-file workers,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “This situation is even more egregious as the NLRB is disobeying its own rules and regulations to disenfranchise workers who simply want their votes to remove SAG-AFTRA from their workplace counted.”

“Workers should not have to endure months of litigation simply to exercise their right to oust a union they no longer want, and Foundation attorneys will fight with Mr. Loreto to right this injustice,” 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 Dec 19, 2022 in News Releases