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NLRB Ruling ‘Cuts Voluntary Recognition off at the Knees’

10.04.07

NLRB Ruling ‘Cuts Voluntary Recognition off at the Knees’
by James Parks, Oct 3, 2007

Original Article:
NLRB Ruling Cuts Voluntary Recognition Off At The Knees

The Republican-dominated National Labor Relations Board is at it again. Instead of protecting workers’ freedom to join a union, the Bush-appointed members continue to take away workers’ rights.

In a partisan vote, the board ruled Sept. 29 that if employers voluntarily recognize a union based on union authorization cards (also known as card-check), anti-union employees have a 45-day window to petition for an NLRB decertification election. The employer has to give employees notice of their 45-day window to petition for a decertification election. Just 30 percent of the employees need to sign the petition even though more than 50 percent of employees have already chosen union representation by signing authorization cards.

In effect, this means 30 percent of employees can force an NLRB election, even if a card-check/neutrality agreement was reached before recognition, and even if a bargaining agreement has been reached in the 45-day period. Click here to read the NLRB decision.

In a ringing dissent, NLRB members Wilma Liebman and Dennis Walsh said the decision “cuts voluntary recognition off at the knees.”

Sadly, today’s decision will surely enhance already serious disenchantment with the [National Labor Relations] Act’s ability to protect the right of employees to engage in collective bargaining.

The majority’s decision…subjects the will of the majority to that of a 30 percent minority.

Today’s decision…undercuts the process of voluntary recognition as a legitimate mechanism for implementing employee free choice and promoting the practice of collective bargaining. It does so at a critical time in the history of our act, when labor unions have increasingly turned away from the board’s election process—frustrated with its delays and the opportunities it provides for employer coercion—and have instead sought alternative mechanisms for establishing the right to represent employees.

The case stems from an agreement by Dana Corp. and Metaldyne Corp. with the UAW not to interfere in workers’ efforts to form a union and to recognize the union if a majority of workers have signed union authorization cards. After the union was recognized, employees in each unit filed a petition seeking a decertification election.

The NLRB regional director dismissed the petitions based on the board’s “recognition-bar” doctrine that an employer’s voluntary recognition of a union, in good faith and based on a demonstrated majority status, immediately bars an election petition filed by an employee or a rival union for a reasonable period of time. In its ruling last week, the board removed any time limits on filing the decertification.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says:

At a time when America isn’t working the way it should for working people, the Bush labor board is pulling the rug out from under our nation’s middle class through such decisions which amount to a sea change in our nation’s labor laws.

This shameful decision reverses decades of precedent around voluntary recognition–what previous Board decisions have called “a favored element of national labor policy.” The NLRB has shown itself again to be little more than a political tool of right-wing Republicans in their continuing assault on America’s working families.

It’s time for the politicization at the NLRB to stop. The Board must return to its original intent of protecting workers’ basic freedoms rather than infringing upon them.

Working families are ensuring their lawmakers running for election in 2007 and 2008 understand the importance of backing the Employee Free Choice Act. One of the key provisions in the act would allow employees to choose to join a union by card-check or to hold an NLRB election. Now the decision rests with the employer.

This NLRB attack on card-check comes less than a month after the board upheld an employer’s withdrawal of recognition without an election. After employees at Shaw’s Supermarkets submitted slips signed by bargaining unit employees saying they no longer wanted the union to represent them, the board ruled that it was perfectly OK for the employer to simply withdraw recognition from the union without an election.

When Liebman complained that Shaw’s should have waited for the election results, the board amazingly said the process takes too long.

In regard to the time that it can take to resolve a decertification election case, we note that, in many cases, blocking charges are filed and delay the election until the charges are resolved one way or another. And, even absent such charges, a union election loss can be contested by challenges and/or objections.

Ironically, union members have been saying the same thing about the length of time it takes for an NLRB vote and that is one main reason workers support and use card-checks.

The Dana/Metaldyne decision is just another in a series of bad decisions by the Republican-dominated NLRB. A year ago, in three cases, collectively known as the Oakwood cases after the lead case, Oakwood Healthcare Inc., the board reinterpreted the definition of “supervisor” in a way that greatly expanded the number and type of workers who can be classified as supervisors. The expanded definition applies to workers in every industry and means up to 8 million workers, including nurses, building trades workers, newspaper and television employees and others, may be classified as supervisors and barred from joining unions.

The board also has denied graduate assistants and temporary agency workers the right to form unions. Check out the AFL-CIO BushWatch site http://www.aflcio.org/issues/bushwatch/index.cfm for more examples of anti-union actions by the NLRB.

Big Win for UNITE HERE in Tama Manufacturing Strike!

10.02.07

Congratulations to the workers at TAMA Mfg., represented by UNITE HERE. Their 15 week old strike is now OVER!! Special congratulations to Gail Meyer, her staff, and the negotiating committee.

In unity,

Gregg J. Potter

President, Lehigh Valley Labor Council
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Pennsylvania Joint Board UNITE HERE
1017 Hamilton Street, Allentown PA 18101

For Immediate Release Oct. 1, 2007

Contact – Gail Meyer 610-433-7445

Tama Mfg Strike ends – New Contract ratified

A solid majority of UNITE HERE members voted overwhelming today to ratify a new 3 year contract with Tama Manufacturing ending their 15 week strike.

The new contract secures affordable Health Benefits, wage increases in the 2nd and 3rd year of the contract and seniority language defining the distribution of work.

“Our fight was about health care benefits and we won”, stated negotiating committee member Ed Yost. “We did not get everything we wanted, but we needed our health insurance and we would not return to work without it.”

Mary Ann Pollitt, leadership committee member stated, “We are glad the strike is over and we want to thank the labor movement and the community for their outpouring of support.”

Tama Mfg workers are represented by the Pa Joint Board UNITE HERE.

Weekend Walks Reach 900 Union Households in Virginia

10.02.07

http://www.unionvoice.org/ct/Q1a31_F19PkC/

Eileen Toback, AFL-CIO political organizer/Voice@Work campaign, took part in the union movement’s kickoff walks over the weekend in Virginia, where dozens of union members turned out.

Northern Virginia had a great get-out-the-vote kickoff this past Saturday with more than 70 activists knocking on the doors of union members who this November have a chance to elect many working family-friendly candidates to state offices.

Nearly 900 households were greeted by members from AFGE, AFSCME, Communications Workers of America, Electrical Workers, Food and Commercial Workers, Laborers, Iron Workers, Office of Professional Employees, Operating Engineers, Painters and Allied Trades, Plumbers, Seafarers, Sheet Metal Workers and Transport Workers.

The morning began with steaming cups of coffee, donuts and appreciative and inspiring words from the candidates. Chap Peterson, a Democrat running for the State Senate in the 34th District, addressed the crowd by reminding folks that their critical volunteer work will directly support working family priorities once he and his colleagues are in office.

Also on hand to greet us were: state Sen. Mark Herring (D-District 33); House of Delegates incumbents David Poisson (D-District 32) and Chuck Caputo (D-District 67); House of Delegates candidate Rex Simmons (D-District 40); Gerry Connolly, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors; Mike McClanahan, candidate for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors; and Gerry Hyland, incumbent Fairfax County supervisor.

Tony Perez, government affairs coordinator for UFCW Local 400, brought 11 of his brothers and sisters to the walk and told the volunteers:

We all believe Virginia is ready for change. We don’t just feel the wave–we have seen it with the governor’s race and last year’s U.S. Senate race. Now it’s time to change the face of the state legislature.

CWA Local 2222 President Stacie Adams added:

We are going to hit the streets to take the Senate. Contracts are coming in 2008, and we are battling the State Corporation Commission’s deregulation on service quality. Politics has a direct effect on our contracts and our members’ lives.

(Click on link above for original article which lets you see live video)

City of Lancaster PA Passes an Employee Free Choice Resolution

10.01.07


UAW urges SCHIP Veto Override

10.01.07

Dear Stephen Crockett,

The House of Representatives and the Senate recently passed
legislation to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance
Program (SCHIP). This measure would provide an additional $35
billion over five years to expand health insurance coverage to
an additional 4 million children in this country.

President Bush has already announced that he will veto this
legislation, over the objections of many lawmakers in his own
party. Democratic congressional leaders are mobilizing an effort
to override this expected veto, particularly in the House, where
it is uncertain if there are enough votes to override the veto.

The UAW and a broad coalition of progressive groups are mounting
a major effort to convince more House Republicans to vote to
override the expected veto.

Attached is a list of key swing House Republicans. UAW activists
should contact these lawmakers and urge them to vote to override
Bush’s expected veto of the SCHIP legislation. The message is
simple: Congress should stand with children, not the president
and bring health insurance coverage to 4 million uninsured
children!

UAW activists can use the following toll-free number to call
these Republican representatives: (877) 331-1223.

SCHIP Veto Override Targets

State Member
AK Don Young
AL Robert Aderholt
AL Spencer Bachus
AL Jo Bonner
AL Terry Everett
AL Michael Rogers
AR John Boozman
AZ Rick Renzi
CA Mary Bono
CT Christopher Shays
DE Michael Castle
FL Gus Bilirakis
FL Ginny Brown-Waite
FL Vern Buchanan
FL Ander Crenshaw
FL Lincoln Diaz-Balart
FL Mario Diaz-Balart
FL Ric Keller
FL Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
FL Cliff Stearns
FL C.W. Bill Young
IA Tom Latham
ID Mike Simpson
IL Judy Biggert
IL Timothy Johnson
IL Mark Kirk
IL Ray LaHood
IL John Shimkus
IL Jerry Weller
KS Jerry Moran
KY Geoff Davis
KY Harold Rogers
KY Edward Whitfield
LA Rodney Alexander
LA Bobby Jindal
MD Wayne Gilchrest
MI Vernon Ehlers
MI Thaddeus McCotter
MI Candice Miller
MI Fred Upton
MN Jim Ramstad
MO Jo Ann Emerson
MO Kenny Hulshof
MT Dennis Rehberg
NC Robin Hayes
NC Walter Jones
NJ Michael Ferguson
NJ Rodney Frelinghuysen
NJ Frank LoBiondo
NJ Jim Saxton
NJ Christopher Smith
NM Heather Wilson
NV Jon Christopher Porter, Sr
NY Vito Fossella
NY Peter King
NY Randy Kuhl
NY John McHugh
NY James Walsh
OH David Hobson
OH Steven LaTourette
OH Deborah Pryce
OH Ralph Regula
OH Pat Tiberi
OH Michael Turner
OR Greg Walden
PA Charles Dent
PA Philip English
PA Jim Gerlach
PA Tim Murphy
PA John Peterson
PA Todd Platts
TN John Duncan
TN Zach Wamp
TX Kenny Marchant
TX Ted Poe
TX Lamar Smith
VA Jo Ann Davis
VA Tom Davis
VA Randy Forbes
VA Virgil Goode
VA Bob Goodlatte
VA Frank Wolf
WA Dave Reichert
WA Cathy McMorris Rodgers
WI Thomas Petri
WV Shelley Moore Capito

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Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.

http://www.unionvoice.org/join-forward.html?domain=Uawire&r=DdM43H918g0u

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for
UAWire at:

http://www.unionvoice.org/Uawire/join.html?r=DdM43H918g0uE

USW email concerning John Edwards

10.01.07

Sisters and Brothers,

When was the last time you heard a President of the United States say the word union?

When was the last time we had a President that fought to strengthen labor laws, to put an end to unfair trade policies and protect the worker’s right to organize? In 2008 we have the opportunity to elect a candidate that has vowed to do all of this and more.

John Edwards has based his campaign for the Presidency upon the promise to make healthcare a human right, and not something that our unions must negotiate. He has vowed to end the global ‘race to the bottom’, and will demand strong labor laws that:

· benefit working families.

· will not allow trade with countries that exploit workers, and the

environment.

· will eliminate tax incentives for companies that move offshore, and

· put an end to currency manipulation by countries like China and

Japan.

In the past six years the Bush Administration has put the privilege of corporations before the rights of working Americans. Isn’t it time we had a President that will fight for us and not against us?

Contribute to the campaign to elect John Edwards for President in 2008.

http://www.johnedwards.com/usw