**Buckhannon, WV (January 17, 2007)** – Esther Gearhart, a ResCare, Inc. assisted living employee filed federal labor board charges against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 1199 and ResCare for their attempts to force unwanted unionization on health care employees all across West Virginia.
Gearhart filed the charges at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 6 offices in Pittsburgh, PA, with assistance from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys. The unfair labor practice charges ask for an injunction to block the union and ResCare from continuing their unlawful activities, and they detail multiple violations of the National Labor Relations Act by SEIU officials and ResCare.
Gearhart’s charge is the second such charge filed by ResCare employees with help from Foundation attorneys in recent weeks. In late December, Foundation attorneys helped employees in the Princeton area file charges to block similar unlawful union organizing activities. Employee reports also signal similar activities occurring across the state border in Ohio.
As part of an agreement kept secret from employees, ResCare executives agreed to abandon even the limited protections offered to employees under an NLRB-supervised secret ballot election in choosing whether to unionize. Instead the agreement imposed a coercive “card check” procedure, in which union organizers can browbeat employees individually to sign cards that are then counted as “votes” for unionization.
Because of the prevalence of union intimidation tactics directed at employees, card check is controversial for severely curtailing workers’ freedom of choice in deciding whether or not to unionize.
The “card check” procedure used at ResCare is part of a larger misnamed “neutrality agreement” designed to have the employer assist union organizers in pushing workers into the union’s ranks. Under such agreements, the company commonly must give union officials unfettered access to workers on company property and the home addresses and phone numbers of employees, resulting in home visits from groups of union organizers. Such agreements also often contain a “gag rule” preventing employers from discussing any potential impact of unionization on employees.
In exchange for agreeing to assist the union with the card check scheme, ResCare executives received concessions from SEIU officials, including an agreed upon contract to be foisted upon the employees once the unionization is complete. Such “pre-recognition bargaining” clearly violates federal law, yet the SEIU and ResCare are now rolling out this scheme all over West Virginia, and possibly Ohio as well.
“Union officials sold out the interests of the very workers they sought to ‘represent’ in order to force unionization and compulsory dues upon them,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Union organizers’ illegal behavior shows that they don’t respect the rights of the workers; it’s all about the money.”
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.