Foundation Vice President and Legal Director Raymond J. LaJeunesse, Jr., has announced a newly formed “Neutrality/Card Check Task Force” composed of Staff Attorneys experienced in litigation under the National Labor Relations Act. The Foundation has formed this task force to provide legal assistance to employees who are victimized by a pernicious and spreading scheme of union officials and politicians to force compulsory union representation on workers.

The background is as follows: Although so-called “neutrality agreements” come in several different forms, the common denominator is that an employer is pressured into staying “neutral” with regard to a union’s attempt to organize its workforce. Neutrality agreements commonly give the union access to employees in the form of a list of their names, addresses and telephone numbers, as well as permission to come on company property during work hours for the purpose of collecting union authorization cards. This differs from the guidelines set by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the courts, under which an employer has no obligation to, and may actually be prohibited from, providing the union with such sweeping access to its employees.

Most neutrality agreements also include a “card check” agreement. Under such an agreement, the employees are not permitted to vote on union representation in a secret ballot election monitored by the NLRB. Instead, the employer pledges to automatically recognize the union without an election if the union presents the company with the requisite number of signed authorization cards. Experience shows that many employees are coerced or misled into signing these authorization cards, often being falsely told that they are merely health insurance enrollment forms, non-binding “statements of interest,” requests for an election, or even tax forms.

Some employers are pressured into neutrality agreements by union picketing, threats, or comprehensive “corporate campaigns.” Even more ominously, we see a growing trend in which state and local politicians pass laws mandating that any employer who wishes to do business with the state or locality must sign such neutrality agreements. In one notorious case, the San Francisco Airport Authority mandated that any concessionaires who wished to lease space at the airport had to first sign a neutrality/card check agreement. That governmental interference in private labor relations was held to be federally preempted, and was enjoined, in Aeroground, Inc. v. City & County of San Francisco, 170 F. Supp. 2d 950 (N.D. Cal. 2001). Unfortunately, many politicians still require such neutrality/charge check agreements as a condition of contracting with the government or of obtaining grants, even though most, if not all, such requirements are unlawful under federal law.

Because employees’ rights of free choice are being sacrificed and lost by coercive “neutrality and card check” agreements, the Foundation has established its new Neutrality/Card Check Task Force to help employees who find themselves forced (or potentially forced) into unwanted union representation as a result of these devices. The Foundation stands ready, willing and able to help employees who are victims or potential victims of these schemes. Workers who wish to request assistance may write us, call us toll-free at 800-336-3600, or send an e-mail message to [email protected]. Address your request for assistance to Legal Department.

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.

Posted on Sep 30, 2002 in News Releases