Bush Labor Board Authorizes Congressmen to Issue Union “Certifications” Intended to Deceive Employees
Labor Subcommittee Chairman Congressman Rob Andrews (D-NJ) conducted televised sham union “certification” at union hall just days before the real vote
Atlantic City, NJ (June 3, 2008) – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a controversial and ground-breaking ruling that gives Congressmen and other public officials the green light to stage fake “certification” ceremonies that give the misimpression of official government recognition of a union during “card check” organizing drives.
The case dismissed objections to the conduct of Congressman Robert Andrews (D-NJ) and other government officials who participated in a televised sham union “certification” ceremony and public announcement that workers had selected a union immediately prior to a NLRB certification election last summer at the Trump Plaza Hotel in Atlantic City.
The NLRB’s ruling raised the burden of proof requirements for arguing that conduct tainted a certification election. Earlier Board law did not require challengers to present incontrovertible evidence that many employees were actually aware of the objectionable conduct – only that it was likely that many were.
In addition to filing a brief supporting Trump Plaza’s request that the Board set aside the election, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed unfair labor practice charges and a House Ethics Committee complaint.
The Foundation’s unfair labor practice charge, which has been held in abeyance pending the appeal regarding certification, points out that Congressman Andrews led an extraordinary public event (which was televised and disseminated by other media) and aided UAW union officials in interfering with the free exercise of employee rights in choosing whether to unionize. “Acting under the false imprimatur of NLRB authority,” Andrews counted union authorization cards that were not necessarily intended by employees to be considered formal votes, and he signed and announced a “Certification of Majority Status” for unionization.
Andrews’s participation, given his position as Chairman of House of Representative’s subcommittee that oversees labor issues, made the union’s televised public announcement of its “certification” particularly problematic. Given his prominent role in the creation of federal labor policy, employees could think that the union had already been formally installed, or that the union’s election was a forgone conclusion. As the Foundation’s brief in the case pointed out, Andrew’s actions likely had the effects of suppressing turnout for the election, and inducing employees to vote for a “pre-certified” union, thus disenfranchising employees and destroying the “laboratory conditions” under which NLRB elections are required to take place.
“The Bush Labor Board has just opened the floodgates. Workers will be faced with union officials’ aggressive use of Members of Congress during coercive union organizing campaigns,” said Foundation vice president Stefan Gleason.
A copy of the NLRB's decision can be downloaded here.
The Foundation's amicus brief to the board can be downloaded here.