The following article is from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation’s bi-monthly Foundation Action Newsletter, March/April 2024 edition. To view other editions of Foundation Action or to sign up for a free subscription, click here.

Foundation now defending workers against union attempt to overturn employee vote

Union Kitchen, a unique grocery concept that helps local DC entrepreneurs get their food products to market, was the target of a dangerous UFCW picket scheme.

WASHINGTON, DC – Ashley Silva, an employee at independent DC-area food store Union Kitchen, could sense in July 2023 that her coworkers had had enough of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union in their workplace.

UFCW union officials had been ordering contentious boycotts and pickets on the stores, and some of the demonstrations even required police intervention after union picketers blocked store exits.

“The vast majority of the workers at Union Kitchen are sick and tired of the UFCW’s picketing, harassment of employees, and constant disruptions of our day-to-day work life,” Silva said at the time.

Despite Searing Worker Rejection, UFCW Bosses Trying to Cling to Power

With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation, Silva filed a decertification petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), asking the federal agency to hold a vote among the employees of Union Kitchen’s five stores on whether the union should be ousted. The vast majority of her coworkers signed the petition.

UFCW union officials levied allegations against Union Kitchen management in an attempt to stop the vote from happening. Despite some delays, Silva and her coworkers cast ballots in October 2023, and a January 2024 vote count revealed that she and her colleagues had voted against the union 24-1.

The union challenged eight employee ballots, meaning the full tally of votes against the union is most likely 32-1.

Once the NLRB certifies this election result, Silva and her coworkers will be free of the union. However, in an attempt to stop this, UFCW officials continue to press the “blocking charges” against Union Kitchen management that they filed at the NLRB before the vote, and have also piled on objections to the election that contain the same basic accusations as the blocking charges.

Blocking charges are often unverified or unrelated charges of employer misconduct that union officials can manipulate to stall a ballot count or a certification of results in a union decertification case.

If the NLRB issues a complaint against an employer based on a union’s “blocking charges,” the decertification process is halted.

Foundation Will Fight UFCW Bid to Overturn Vote

Foundation staff attorneys are defending Silva and her colleagues’ victory at the ballot box from UFCW union officials’ bald-faced attempts to oppose their will.

“We’re happy that Ms. Silva and her coworkers were finally able to exercise their right to vote out a union they oppose,” commented National Right to Work Foundation Vice President Patrick Semmens. “It’s unfortunate, though hardly surprising, that despite such an overwhelming rejection UFCW union officials won’t take a hint and stop attempting to impose their unwanted so-called ‘representation’ on Union Kitchen employees.

“The Foundation is proud to defend Silva and her coworkers against these union tactics as they seek freedom from coercive unionism,” Semmens concluded.

Posted on May 14, 2024 in Newsletter Articles