The following article is from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation’s bi-monthly Foundation Action Newsletter, November/December 2023 edition. To view other editions of Foundation Action or to sign up for a free subscription, click here.

Victories come as Biden NLRB advances rule to block worker decertification votes

Seattle Mariners pro shop employees slammed UFCW union bosses out of 
T-Mobile Park by taking advantage of Foundation-backed rules that make union decertification votes easier. But the Biden NLRB is attacking those reforms.

Seattle Mariners pro shop employees slammed UFCW union bosses out of T-Mobile Park by taking advantage of Foundation-backed rules that make union decertification votes easier. But the Biden NLRB is attacking those reforms.

WASHINGTON, DC – With National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys aiding workers across the country in exercising their right to vote out union officials they don’t want, President Biden’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is moving to undermine such efforts. The Biden NLRB is also fast-tracking policies that let union bosses sweep to power without even giving workers any chance to vote.

The Biden NLRB is pulling out all the stops to mandate the so-called “card check” process while eliminating workers’ ability to ask for a secret ballot vote. Card check lets union officials bypass the traditional union election process and pressure workers into signing union authorization cards that are later counted as “votes” for the union. Workers often report threats, intimidation, unwanted home visits, and union deception about the true meaning of the cards as part of a card check campaign.

The latest attack on workers’ election rights is the Biden NLRB’s pending rule to overturn Foundation backed-reforms to the election process adopted by the NLRB in 2020. The 2020 reforms, known as the Election Protection Rule, give workers a window of opportunity to petition for a secret ballot vote after a union imposes itself on workers without a secret ballot election. Foundation staff attorneys first established this protection in the 2007 Dana Corp case, and workers all over America used it until the Obama NLRB overturned Dana in 2010.

Seattle Mariners Employees Overwhelmingly Vote to Reverse UFCW Card Check

Since the 2020 Foundation-backed reforms reinstated the Dana process, workers have again used it to demand secret ballot elections to challenge union “representation” imposed through coercive card checks. In just the past few months, Foundation attorneys have assisted multiple groups of workers in exercising this freedom, and will continue to do so even in the face of Biden NLRB opposition.

This year, employees of the Seattle Mariners’ MLB pro shop obtained free Foundation legal aid to defend their effort to remove the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, which had previously been installed through card check.

Regional NLRB officials granted the workers’ petition for a vote to remove the union based on the Election Protection Rule. But union lawyers argued on appeal that the Mariners employees’ election should be thrown out because of the so-called “voluntary recognition bar,” a pre-Election Protection Rule restriction that blocked workers from having a vote for up to a year or more after a card check.

The union’s appeal was dismissed based on the Election Protection Rule, and Mariners pro shop employees voted to send the UFCW packing by well over 80 percent.

California Paramedics Fight with Foundation Aid to Resuscitate Election Rights

Also on the West Coast, Michael Radan and his fellow paramedics and EMTs with the Manteca District Volunteer Ambulance Service in Groveland, CA; and Sonora, CA, petitioned for a secret ballot union decertification election shortly after Steelworkers union officials had swept themselves into the workplace via card check.

In August, Radan and his fellow paramedics and EMTs voted to remove the union. While Foundation attorneys are now defending Radan and his coworkers’ decision from election objections
levied by Steelworkers union bosses, the Election Protection Rule’s safeguards at least permitted the employees to vote.

As Decertifications Increase, Biden NLRB Makes Worker Free Choice Last Priority

Before the Rule, union officials could often use unproven or unrelated allegations of employer wrongdoing (also called “blocking charges”) to halt an election before ballots were even cast.

“That workers petition for secret ballot votes after union bosses make specious claims of majority support via card check shows that a card check isn’t truly reflective of workers’ will. The AFL-CIO’s own organizing manuals admit that workers often sign cards just to get union organizers ‘off their backs,’” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix.

“All of this points to why the Election Protection Rule is so important — Big Labor should not have the power to subordinate workers’ free choice to union bosses’ thirst for power and dues revenue,” Mix added. “But as the Biden NLRB seeks to confer ever greater powers on union bosses, Foundation staff attorneys will continue to defend workers opposed to unionization, including by challenging the Biden NLRB in federal court.”

Posted on Feb 15, 2024 in Newsletter Articles