Nationwide plan afoot to eliminate secret ballot elections to verify whether employees actually wanted to unionize
Washington, DC (December 17, 2009) – In five new cases before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), union lawyers are asking the NLRB to overturn a landmark 2007 decision which gave new protections to workers swept into union ranks through card check forced unionism.
In Dana Corporation, National Right to Work Foundation attorneys won new rights for employees intended to counteract the employee intimidation and harassment waged by aggressive union operatives that frequently occurs during controversial card check organizing campaigns.
The Dana decision granted employees the ability to file a decertification petition and demand a secret ballot election to toss out union officials from their workplace within 45 days after an employer recognizes a monopoly bargaining agent by card check. This important (though modest) check gives workers some ability to stop union organizers from gaining monopoly control over a workplace without even the support of a majority of the employees.
The very Foundation attorneys who originally won the landmark Dana case are providing free legal assistance to Todd Fields, an ARAMARK Uniform and Career Apparel employee in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Mike Lopez, an employee of Lamons Gasket Company in Houston, Texas, in two of the five cases before the NLRB. These two cases seeking to overturn Dana were pressed by Service Workers United (SEIU) and United Steelworkers union lawyers.
In each of these cases, more than 30 percent of the employees at each employer asked for a secret ballot election to decertify the newly installed union, and union lawyers asked for the election petitions to be dismissed. Union lawyers argue that giving the employees a secret ballot election is a “radical departure” from established law.
“The fact that many employees corralled into a union through the card check scheme have almost immediately thrown the union back out through a private ballot vote demonstrates card check’s unreliable and coercive nature,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Because the Dana election process inherently undermines Big Labor’s case to permanently end secret ballot elections, union lawyers are determined to undo this modest check on union intimidation.”
In the Dana ruling, the NLRB majority pointed out, “card checks are less reliable because they lack secrecy and procedural safeguards… union card-solicitation campaigns have been accompanied by misinformation… workers sometimes sign union authorization cards…to get the person off their back.”