Union Officials Forced to Agree to New Decertification Election after Workers Complained of Union Intimidation
California workers faced union threats, intimidation in an earlier bid to eject unwanted union from the workplace
Banning, California (July 11, 2008) – In response to objections filed by workers represented by the National Right to Work Foundation alleging union misconduct during a recent decertification election at Coastline Manufacturing, International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades Local 636 union officials decided to save face rather than go through an embarrassing National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hearing. Instead, they agreed to a new election to determine whether the union will retain its monopoly bargaining privileges.
After union officials unlawfully tampered with employees’ efforts to prove a majority didn’t want union representation, workers contacted the National Right to Work Foundation for free legal assistance. Employees at the glass manufacturing company then sought a union decertification election supervised by the NLRB to formally toss the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades local out of their workplace.
On May 19, a majority of workers voted to retain union representation, but the results were marred by union threats, intimidation, and other irregularities. Foundation staff attorneys filed official objections with the NLRB’s Regional Director, citing five union violations of federal labor election guidelines and asking for a new decertification election so that employees could freely express their preferences.
Workers reported that the union illegally tainted the election by installing a union official as a supposedly “neutral” election observer, threatening employees with financial penalties and employer confiscation of pension funds in the event of decertification, menacing workers with suggestions of lay-offs if the union were to be ejected, and threatening employees with disclosure of family members’ immigration status.
The NLRB Regional Director granted a hearing to resolve employees’ objections, but union officials apparently recognized the likelihood of an embarrassing loss and, at the 11th hour, decided to withdraw from the proceedings and instead agree to another federally-supervised decertification election.
“Union officials’ willingness to intimidate the very employees they are supposed to represent irreparably compromised the integrity of the decertification election,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The union’s decision not to contest the workers’ charges clearly demonstrates the process was fatally flawed. We can only hope that this next election will fairly reflect employees’ preferences.”