Federal labor officials are denying workers at a South Carolina plant the ability to vote out their union despite multiple attempts, according to reports Wednesday.
Workers at Johnson Controls, Inc. have tried multiple ways to decertify the United Auto Workers (UAW). They tried first with an informal withdrawal petition followed by a request to hold a secret ballot election. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), however, has blocked both attempts.
“There is a lot of people there that don’t want a union,” attorney Glenn Taubman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “A lot of people that feel they don’t need a third party mediator.”
Taubman works as a staff attorney for the National Right to Work Foundation (NRTW). The foundation is helping to represent Brenda Lynch and the other employees involved in the case. The withdrawal petition was blocked because the union filed a complaint against its use. This despite the petition being a legally recognized method to decertify a union.
“They handed their employer a petition signed by the majority of employees stating they don’t want the union,” Taubman continued. “Technically this is legal.”
A withdrawal petition can be dismissed if it evident the employer coerced employees into signing it or tampered with it in some way. The complaint filed by the union, which was obtained by TheDCNF, failed to cite such a reason.
“They counted the petition and sent a letter to the union saying they are withdrawing,” Taubman continued. “The union filed a complaint.”
After the complaint was filed, the NLRB ordered Johnson Controls to allow the union back in. In response, workers filed for a more formal secret ballot election to vote out the union. This, however, was also blocked by the NLRB, which cited the pending union complaint against the company as the reason why.
“This is the worst NLRB in my 33 years of practice,” Taubman added. “It’s very easy to get a union in but it’s very, very difficult to get them out.”
The NLRB has been accused on multiple occasions of unfairly benefiting unions. This often at the expense of employers and their workers. The case could set a precedents, as well, making it more difficult to use withdrawal petitions. NLRB General Counsel Richard F. Griffin has been adamantly opposed to the method.
“Richard Griffin has argued these petitions shouldn’t count,” Taubman concluded. “But so far it’s still the law.”
At the moment the NLRB can hold the union complaint as long as it would like. There is no time limit to resolve the issue and cases have been known to drag on. The only other option would be for the UAW to withdraw its complaint. That, though, is unlikely to happen.
“Brenda and her coworkers remain trapped under union boss monopoly control, despite multiple attempts to remove the union,” NRTW President Mark Mix said in a statement. “Even more absurd, the NLRB and the UAW are blocking the employees’ request for a secret ballot election on the grounds that the company violated federal labor law by respecting the wishes of the majority of its workers who want nothing to do with the union.”
The UAW and the NLRB did not respond to requests for comment from TheDCNF.
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