Casino Union Bosses Back Down from Enforcing Card Check Deal after Supreme Court Dismisses Union Appeal
Right to Work Foundation-won Eleventh Circuit ruling stands, establishing that union demands for organizing assistance can violate federal labor law
Hollywood, FL (February 11, 2014) – Following a prolonged legal battle, a local casino worker has successfully fought off a backroom union organizing deal with help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys. Martin Mulhall withdrew his lawsuit, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, after union lawyers ceased their efforts to enforce the agreement Mulhall was challenging.
Mulhall was contesting a union organizing pact struck in 2004 between UNITE HERE Local 355 officials and Mardi Gras Gaming. Under the deal, union officials promised to spend over one hundred thousand dollars on a gambling ballot initiative and guaranteed not to picket, boycott, or strike against Mardi Gras facilities.
In return, union organizers asked Mardi Gras to give them employees’ personal contact information (including home addresses) and grant access to company facilities during a coercive “card check” organizing campaign, refrain from informing workers about the downsides of unionization, and not request a federally-supervised secret ballot election to determine whether employees unionized.
Mulhall filed a lawsuit challenging the organizing pact in 2008, alleging that the company’s concessions were of substantial monetary value because they made UNITE HERE’s organizing drive easier and less expensive. Under the Labor Management Relations Act, employers are prohibited from handing over “any money or other thing of value” to union organizers, a provision that is supposed to prevent union officials from selling out workers’ rights in exchange for corporate concessions.
In December, the U.S. Supreme Court “dismissed as improvidently granted” a union appeal of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Mulhall v. UNITE HERE. The dismissal leaves intact the appeals court’s ruling that the company’s organizing assistance to union officials could constitute “thing[s] of value” under the Labor Management Relations Act. After the Court dismissed the union’s appeal, UNITE HERE finally abandoned its effort to enforce the organizing pact.
“Management shouldn’t be allowed to turn over employees’ personal information to aggressive Big Labor organizers as a negotiating tactic, which is why the Eleventh Circuit’s precedent is a vital protection for independent-minded workers,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Thanks to Mr. Mulhall’s victory, union bosses and employers who use workers’ rights as a bargaining chip will now enter into these agreements at their own risk.”