Portland, OR (November 7, 2005) – A local health care worker filed federal unfair labor practice charges after union officials gained monopoly bargaining power over Kaiser Permanente employees by deceiving them into signing union “authorization” cards.
In granting Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 49 officials monopoly bargaining authority, Kaiser violated its own contract with the union which requires “private elections” for the union to be recognized, and only after such elections are requested by more than half of the employees.
Karen Mayhew, who works in the Patient Business Services Department at a local Kaiser office, obtained free legal assistance from attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation in filing the charges at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for herself and roughly 65 similarly situated employees.
Mayhew also filed a petition for decertification of the unwanted union within days of Kaiser’s granting SEIU officials monopoly bargaining power over the 65 workers affected. However, under the so-called “voluntary recognition bar rule,” created by the NLRB, workers cannot petition for an election for up to a year after a union gains recognition. Foundation attorneys have requested that the petition for election not be dismissed because a separate Foundation-assisted case challenging that rule’s validity is pending before the full NLRB in Washington, DC.
“All too often, union bosses use misrepresentations and coercion during union organizing drives, and we are hopeful that the federal labor board will take swift action,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Union officials’ illegal behavior shows that they do not respect the workers they seek to represent. They simply thirst for additional sources of forced union dues revenues.”
Kaiser granted recognition to SEIU union officials based on the results of this “card check” scheme, even though the agreement between the company and union specifically states that recognition will only be granted after workers have a secret-ballot election to determine majority support of the union. Furthermore, several workers will submit statements that Kaiser held a meeting with its employees during which union officials explicitly told workers that signing the “cards” was not a vote for unionization, but instead was a request to hold a secret-ballot election and receive more information.
The NLRB Region will investigate the charges and determine whether to issue a formal complaint. It will also make a decision on the disposition of the decertification petition in the coming weeks.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.