Recently workers in New York, California, and New Jersey have also successfully freed themselves of unwanted Teamsters “representation”
Chicago, IL (December 15, 2022) – Morris-based Tri-State Asphalt employee Brent Johnson and his coworkers have successfully voted Teamsters Local 179 union officials out of their workplace, following Johnson’s filing of a worker-backed petition earlier this month requesting a vote to remove the Teamsters union. Johnson received free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation in filing the petition for his coworkers.
The vote, conducted by Indianapolis-based National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 25, tilted overwhelmingly against continued union boss control, with nearly 80 percent of the employees voting to reject the union. The NLRB is the agency responsible for enforcing federal private-sector labor law, which includes holding union “decertification votes” among workers.
Although the NLRB’s union decertification process is still prone to union boss-created roadblocks, Foundation-backed reforms the NLRB adopted in 2020 have made it somewhat easier for workers to remove unwanted union officials.
Before the reforms, for example, union officials could stop workers who requested a decertification vote from casting ballots by filing so-called “blocking charges,” which often contain unverified and unrelated allegations of employer misconduct. The rule changes improved the process so employees can at least have a chance to vote before any allegations surrounding the election are resolved.
Johnson submitted the employee-backed petition seeking a vote whether to remove the union during a Teamsters-ordered strike against Tri-State Asphalt, during which Teamsters bosses filed charges against Tri-State Asphalt management. After the vote, Teamsters officials could have further pursued those charges in an attempt to invalidate the election result. However, because of the Foundation-backed NLRB reforms’ focus on letting workers exercise their right to vote before charges are dealt with, Teamsters officials likely saw the decisive rejection by employees and understood opposing the workers’ will would be futile.
Because Illinois lacks Right to Work protections for its private sector employees, Teamsters union officials also had the power to force Johnson and his colleagues to pay dues or fees to the union hierarchy just to stay employed. In contrast, in the 27 Right to Work states – including neighboring Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Kentucky – union membership and all union financial support are the choice of each individual worker and cannot be required as a condition of employment.
Foundation Aids Employees Coast-to-Coast in Kicking Out Teamsters Officials
Johnson and his coworkers’ successful decertification comes as Foundation staff attorneys are receiving increasing requests from workers seeking to boot Teamsters officials out of their workplaces. Just this month, Teamsters Local 294 officials fled an XPO Logistics workplace in Albany, NY, after driver William Chard obtained free Foundation legal aid in filing a petition for a decertification vote, which 65 percent of his coworkers backed.
On the West Coast, Foundation attorneys recently aided nurses in Sacramento, CA, and Home Depot freight drivers in San Jose, CA, in removing unwanted Teamsters Local 150 and Teamsters Local 853 officials, respectively.
The NLRB’s own data show that a unionized private sector worker is more than twice as likely to be involved in a decertification effort as the average nonunion worker is to be involved in a unionization campaign, with one analysis finding decertification petitions up 42 percent this year.
“Teamsters officials seem to be bleeding workplaces nationwide, a sign that they are prioritizing power and politics over the needs of workers,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Mr. Johnson’s case is unique, though, because without the Foundation-backed reforms to the NLRB’s union decertification process, Teamsters union officials could have made workers wade through months or even years of litigation just to exercise their right to vote out the union – which it turns out they overwhelmingly opposed.”
“However, even as workers across several industries are exercising this right at a rising rate, the Biden NLRB has announced rulemaking to roll back the Foundation-backed reforms that make decertifying unpopular unions easier,” Mix added. “The Foundation will oppose this move to hamper workers’ free choice rights, and will also continue to aid workers nationwide in voting out unions they oppose.”
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.