Salesmen for Frito Lay in Del Rio and Eagle Pass, Texas have successfully removed officials of Teamsters Local 657 from their workplace. On May 13, 2021, John Adams filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a decertification election, and gathered enough of his coworkers’ signatures to trigger an NLRB-supervised vote to remove the union from his workplace. He received free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation in exercising his right to have the vote conducted by the NLRB.
The workers at both facilities voted on June 3. In the NLRB tally of ballots, Teamsters union officials failed to gain the support of a majority of the salesmen voting. On June 11 the NLRB certified the results of the decertification election and announced that Teamsters bosses no longer have the monopoly authority to impose their “representation” on the Frito Lay salesmen.
Adams was able to remove the union less than a month after filing his petition in part because of NLRB reforms finalized in 2020 limiting union tactics previously used to delay or block workers from exercising their right to vote out an unwanted union. Before the change, union lawyers could file so-called “blocking charges” to stall a vote union officials expected to lose. These “charges” were often unproven allegations against the employer used as pretense to hold up an election, even when the charges had nothing to do with the employees’ dissatisfaction with the union.
In July 2020, new NLRB rules went into effect limiting the use of “blocking charges,” and making other changes to enforce workers’ right not to be trapped in union ranks when the union lacks the support of a majority of workers. Under the NLRB’s new policy, which draws extensively on comments the National Right to Work Foundation filed, union charges cannot indefinitely stall employee votes. In most cases workers can remove an unwanted union without delay.
“Even in a Right to Work state like Texas, a union can negotiate for workers without their permission thanks to federally-granted monopoly bargaining powers,” said National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix. “Thanks to the Foundation-backed rulemaking curtailing union bosses’ ability to block workers from removing a union they oppose, votes like the one Mr. Adams and his colleagues held to boot the Teamsters from their place of work cannot so easily be derailed by unproven union allegations.”
“We will continue to work towards a day when unions can’t impose their so-called ‘representation’ on individual workers against their will,” added Mix.