St. Marys, Pa. (December 22, 2003) – A majority of employees of Metaldyne, Inc. in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, today filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asking that officials of the nation’s largest autoworkers union be stripped of their newly granted exclusive representation power over hundreds of the company’s employees.
With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Foundation, the workers filed the decertification petition against the United Auto Workers (UAW) union after Metaldyne agreed to begin bargaining with the union.
Early this month, UAW officials claimed that – pursuant to the implementation of a so-called “neutrality agreement” and a “card check” authorization process – a majority of Metaldyne employees had indicated they supported unionization. Based on this claim, which was not verified by any government official, company officials nevertheless recognized the union as the exclusive representative. This action granted union officials a monopoly on bargaining over wages and working conditions of hundreds of employees, including the power to compel dissenting employees to pay union dues or be fired from their jobs.
“Union organizers bypassed the traditional secret ballot election process and instead cut a deal with Metaldyne endorsing a process whereby employees are shaken down, one by one, into signing union recognition cards,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “By signing the decertification petition, these workers are saying that they want a secret ballot election to determine if employees really want the UAW union to represent them.”
If the decertification election is allowed and is successful, the UAW would lose its power to act as the “exclusive bargaining representative” of the employees, and all Metaldyne employees will be free to negotiate their own terms and conditions of employment.
Metaldyne and UAW officials signed a so-called “neutrality agreement,” denying workers the ability to reject unionization through a secret ballot election, and allowing the union to sign up workers under a “card check” authorization scheme. In recent years union organizers have had less success in persuading employees to vote for unionization, and thus have focused on eliciting employer support to corral workers into union collectives.
Metaldyne’s parent company, Heartland Industrial Partners LLP, currently faces related federal charges filed by another group of Foundation-aided workers. In addition to a U.S. District Court suit alleging an illegal sweetheart arrangement, workers under the Heartland umbrella have filed NLRB charges challenging a “secondary boycott” provision.