Milwaukee, Wis. (April 10, 2003) – Citing the expiration of a six-month statute of limitations, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) avoided adjudicating unfair labor practice charges filed against Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI) and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union for jointly coercing employees to sign union authorization cards as part of a so-called “neutrality” agreement.
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys will appeal the dismissal of the first-of-its-kind case to the NLRB’s General Counsel in Washington, DC. Meanwhile, the Foundation is stepping up its efforts to locate union-abused employees in the many other JCI workplaces where the statute of limitations may not yet have expired.
“We are committed to protecting workers from having their rights trampled under these insidious so-called ‘neutrality’ agreements,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “As union operatives increasingly use this organizing tactic to impose compulsory unionism on employees, we are certain that more individuals will come forward to challenge this new type of employer-union collusion.”
Robert Walach, a non-union member, filed the charges in January against JCI and the UAW union challenging the so-called “neutrality” agreement as a violation of the National Labor Relations Act. As part of the agreement, workers are denied the ability to reject unionization through a secret ballot election, and union operatives are permitted to attain the appearance of support by using the notoriously abusive “card check” authorization scheme. Once UAW officials sign up a majority of the workers, JCI agrees to declare the union as the exclusive representative of all its workers, even those who did not sign a card.
Bowing to pressure brought by UAW union operatives, JCI originally signed the pact last summer to halt crippling strikes staged by UAW officials at various unionized JCI facilities. Under the agreement union organizers are given full access to non-union employees’ personal information at the company’s 26 non-union facilities. The company’s non-union employees are forced to attend “captive audience” speeches in which they are told that, if they do not support the union’s organizing effort, they could risk losing potential job opportunities from Big Three automakers.
Union operatives increasingly use “neutrality agreements” and other “top-down” organizing techniques to force employers to recognize unions without a vote by the workers. The National Right to Work Foundation’s legal challenge to this tactic is the first of its kind.