Court: Workers may oust union, after all

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Court-ordered decert smacks down NLRB

In early June, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys moved to block an injunction intended to force unwilling workers back into a union they'd already chosen to toss out.

Despite the fact that the vast majority of employees at a Narricot Industries facility in Norfolk, Virginia (a) did not belong to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 2316 and (b) overwhelmingly signed on to a union decertification petition, union bosses sought to retain monopoly bargaining privileges with a series of last ditch unfair labor practice charges leveled against the workers' employer. Among other things, union lawyers claimed that Narricot Industries' alleged unfair labor practices somehow incited employee opposition to the union's presence. (For the full story, check out the Foundation's press release here).

After examining the case, Foundation staff attorneys determined that employee disatisfaction with the Carpenters Union clearly predated allegations of unfair labor practices. Accordingly, the Foundation filed a motion to intervene in the District Court's hearing to defend employees' decision to eject the union from their workplace.

Yesterday, the District Court ruled in favor of the employees, finding that company misconduct had nothing to do with workers' decision to eject the union. The court also concluded that imposing union representation on unwilling employees for the duration of the NLRB's unfair labor practice investigation would violate workers' rights to not associate with an unwanted union. Here's the crux of the court's decision (.pdf):
The presence of the employee intervenors in this action in opposition to the imposition of an injunction, as well as the facts in the record which show that the employees, not Narricot, initiated the effort to remove the Union, have convinced the court that imposition of an injunction mandating the recognition of the union would not be just and proper.
With the NLRB and the union bosses aligned against them, Narricot employees really dodged a bullet. For now, at least, they're free of the unwanted union.


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