National Right to Work Foundation letter asks Board to address all non-statutory “bars” to decertification votes that trap workers in unions that lack majority support
Washington, DC (December 3, 2018) – Today the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation submitted a letter to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asking the Board to expand the scope of upcoming rulemaking to address several Board-invented doctrines that block employees from exercising their right to vote whether to remove union representation under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
According to statements Board Members recently made at an American Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Conference in San Francisco, the NLRB intends to use rulemaking this winter to address two policies that restrict workers’ right to vote out union officials’ unwanted representation: the “blocking charge” policy and the “voluntary recognition bar” doctrine.
The letter from Foundation Vice President and Legal Director Raymond LaJeunesse recognizes that the Board’s decision to address those two policies that have restricted workers’ rights for years is a good first step. However, it adds that Foundation staff attorneys believe that the Board should address all “bars” and “blocks” on employees’ right to hold elections to remove unwanted union representation which are not established by the NLRA itself, because they improperly obstruct employees from exercising their free choice rights guaranteed by that statute.
“Blocking charge” policies allow union officials to file unfair labor practice charges to block employees’ petitions to decertify unions, even when a majority of unit employees sign a petition. The “voluntary recognition bar” rule prevents workers’ attempts to hold secret ballot votes to decertify a union for at least a year, and potentially up to four years, after union officials force workers into union representation via a coercive card check drive.
The letter urges the Board to also address all of the other doctrines created by past Board Members that restrict workers’ right to hold decertification elections, highlighting three other “bars” that should be eliminated. The “successor bar” blocks workers from decertifying a union for an indefinite amount of time after the previous employer has been replaced by a successor. The “settlement bar” rule prevents workers from removing an unwanted union after a settlement agreement between a union and their employer. The “contract bar” restricts when workers can file decertification petitions to a narrow window of time that may occur only once in three years.
As the letter and the Foundation’s formal comments concerning the Obama Board’s “ambush election” rules filed with the NLRB earlier in the year point out, none of these bars are authorized by the statute. Moreover, all undermine workers’ rights under the NLRA by allowing union officials to maintain monopoly representation powers even when a majority of the workers they claim to represent oppose union representation.
“These restrictive doctrines have granted power to union bosses at the expense of the rights of the employees whose choice the National Labor Relations Act purports to protect,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Each of these Board-invented doctrines actively undermines the NLRA’s central premise by trapping workers in unions that lack the support of a majority of workers, which is why the announced rulemaking should eliminate all of these non-statutory barriers to holding decertification votes.”
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.