Workers at an Alabama plant will be voting for a fifth time to remove their union after the previous attempts were deemed invalid by federal labor board officials.
“It shouldn’t take five votes to get rid of a union that has clearly overstayed its welcome,” Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, said in a statement Thursday. “The [National Labor Relations Board] NLRB has stacked the deck against workers seeking to remove unwanted unions, allowing union officials to throw out results that don’t go their way and hold onto power.”
The group, which offers free legal assistance to workers struggling with their union, has been helping to represents Ginger Estes, the NTN-Bower employee who filed for the original decertification election to remove the United Auto Workers.
“Ginger Estes’ saga highlights an ugly double standard in federal labor law,” continued Mix. “While the activist Obama NLRB makes it easier to organize workplaces by enacting new ‘ambush election’ rules to get unions certified, union lawyers are allowed to game the system by blocking or overturning workers’ votes against unwanted unions.”
Estes notes it has been a strain on employees and that throughout the process the NLRB has shown a bias in favor of the union which is why they have to keep voting to decertify it.
“They feel like it’s just very unfair,” Estes told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “They feel like it’s a never ending process.”
In March, the UAW lost in an 82 to 50 vote at NTN-Bower that was supposed to decide its continued existence. Like the previous three votes though, an objection was filed disputing the results. The union has lost 3 of the 4 elections so far.
The latest vote was deemed invalid after the union alleged management threatened employees prior to the vote.
“Management threatened plant closure in the event the Union won the election,” the UAW notes in its objection, which was obtained by TheDCNF. “Employee agents of the Employer informed employees that the plant would close in the event the Union won the election.”
“Management informed employees that in the event the Union lost the election, employees would have increased wages,” the objection said.
Prior to that the union was accused of manipulating the only vote it had won. At the time NRTW alleged the union stuffed the ballot so it could win.
“Even though 139 workers voted in the third election out of the 140 eligible, 148 ballots were cast,” NRTW claimed in a statement.
The NLRB found the second election invalid following an objection that the company acted unfairly. As the union complaint noted, “two days before the second election, Plant Manager Rufus McMillan held a series of captive audience meetings, which were attended by the entire workforce.”
After the third election, Estes began leading some of her colleagues in rallies against the union. No word on whether she and her fellow workers will be doing anything else to show their opposition to the union.
The UAW has represented employees at the NTN-Bower plant since 1976. The decertification petition was filed with the NLRB on May 22, 2013.
TheDCNF was unable to reach the UAW for comment.
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