Spenard Building Supply employees vote 17-6 to oust Pacific Northwest Regional Counsel of Carpenters union officials
Chugiak, AK (May 4, 2023) – Workers at the Spenard Building Supply factory recently voted to remove the Pacific Northwest Regional Counsel of Carpenters union by an overwhelming majority. A petition filed by Scot Breuer with the National Labor Relations Board Region 19 (NLRB) led to this successful vote. Breuer received free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
Scot Breuer filed a decertification petition with the NLRB on March 31, 2023, which was supported by a significant number of his coworkers. Under federal labor law, workers can trigger a decertification vote with the support of 30% or more of workers in a unionized workplace. The NLRB should then promptly schedule a secret ballot election to determine whether a majority of workers want to end union officials’ power to impose a contract, including forced dues, on workers. On April 12, 2023, the NLRB issued an election notice to all parties involved that stipulated an election date for May 2.
During the election on May 2, Spenard Building Supply employees made their position on the union clear when over two-thirds of the workers voted to remove the union from their workplace, with the official tally of 17-6. Barring any objections by union officials that seek to overturn the vote, the workers will be officially free of the union in one week.
The Spenard Building Supply election is just one example of workers looking to leave union control. Currently, the NLRB’s own data shows a unionized private sector worker is far more likely to be involved in a decertification effort as their nonunion counterpart is to be involved in a unionization campaign. NLRB statistics also show a 20% increase in decertification petitions last year versus 2021.
Unfortunately, the NLRB’s union decertification process is prone to union boss-created roadblocks. Foundation-backed NLRB reforms from 2020 have made it somewhat easier for workers to remove unwanted union officials, such as the “Election Protection Rule” that prevents union bosses from filing trumped-up “blocking charges” meant to delay or stop decertification elections entirely.
Prior to these Foundation-backed reforms, workers often had their decertification votes delayed by unproven union blocking charges, giving union bosses the power to trap workers in union ranks they oppose nearly indefinitely. Under the Foundation-backed reforms most votes take place promptly, with union blocking claims adjudicated later, after the votes have been counted. However, the Biden-appointed NLRB is currently engaging in rulemaking to roll back these protections and make it much harder for workers to decertify a union.
“We are extremely pleased to help these Alaskan workers exercise their right to remove a union they want nothing to do with. With over two-thirds of the votes being cast in favor of removing the union, this case is a clear example as to workers’ growing dissatisfaction with compulsory unionism,” stated Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “Unfortunately, as the NLRB moves to roll back reforms that gave workers at Spenard a speedy victory, workers will again find it increasingly difficult to exercise their rights and decertify unwanted unions even when opposition to the union’s so-called ‘representation’ is overwhelming.”
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.