After Teamsters union lawyers stonewalled ballot counting for months, NLRB announced that employees voted out unwanted union
St. Louis, MO (January 23, 2008) – Overcoming months of union stonewalling, federal officials today announced KV Pharmaceutical Company (NYSE:KV-A) employees have voted 89-46 to remove an unpopular Teamsters union local from their workplace.
Teamsters Local 688 has been booted as the employees’ “exclusive bargaining representative” and may no longer act as a middleman between the employees and management. The employees received free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation in overcoming months of delays at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and legal challenges by Teamsters union lawyers who tried to stonewall the results of the vote.
Calbert Edwards and his KV Pharma coworkers obtained the secret ballot “decertification” vote after gaining signatures from an overwhelming majority of employees at the pharmaceutical giant. However, after the election was held in November, the NLRB Regional Director indefinitely impounded the ballots, leaving the employees without their election results.
Teamsters Local 688 lawyers had delayed the counting of ballots by filing “blocking charges” at the NLRB. They alleged that the company tried to entice the employees to vote against the Teamsters union by promising better benefits if the Teamsters union was voted out.
But, with help from attorneys at the National Right to Work Foundation, Edwards and his coworkers petitioned the NLRB to proceed. Consequently, in early January the NLRB Regional Director granted the request – dismissing the Teamsters union’s charges – and ordered the ballots counted. As a result of the employees’ decertification victory, KV Pharma workers will now be free to negotiate their own terms and conditions of employment, and be rewarded on their individual merit.
“Teamsters lawyers threw up every stumbling block possible over the past several months to block KV Pharma employees from exercising their free choice,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The hostility of the union hierarchy to workers’ interests shows why Missouri needs a Right to Work law that would make union affiliation and dues payment strictly voluntary.”
A decertification election, an NLRB-supervised secret ballot election to oust a union, is an uphill battle for workers to obtain or win. In particular, union lawyers are adept at gumming up the works by filing baseless charges that often block an election for years. Employees can also only obtain such elections during narrowly prescribed periods every few years, and incumbent union hierarchies often retaliate against dissenting employees.