Tammy Tarantino, a respiratory therapist at Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas, successfully petitioned for a vote to remove SEIU union bosses from her workplace. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Nevada Regional office initially delayed Tarantino’s vote request, but scheduled an election once she obtained free legal representation from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.

SEIU bosses had a monopoly over contract bargaining for Tarantino and her coworkers, all technical employees at the hospital. Tarantino filed a petition for a decertification election to remove SEIU bosses with NLRB Region 28 after collecting the requisite number of signatures from dozens of her coworkers. The Region initially resisted her petition, telling her it might not be possible to schedule a vote. In their effort to stop the workers from voting, SEIU lawyers raised issues designed to block the election, relying on pending and past charges it had filed against the hospital. Though these charges did not allege anything illegal affecting Tarantino’s petition the Union argued the election must be blocked.

Tarantino eventually enlisted the free legal assistance of Foundation staff attorneys, who filed a response to union lawyers’ arguments. The response pointed out that the union lawyers were ignoring updates to the NLRB’s rules on “blocking charges,” charges against employers used to block workers’ votes to oust union officials. Thanks to reforms pushed by the Foundation, decertification elections now can proceed more quickly and the results are announced sooner. Under the old rules, “blocking charges” that had no impact on employees’ desire to decertify the union could still be used to stall decertification votes.

Tarantino’s response further argued union lawyers hadn’t filed their objections in a timely manner, which thus could not be considered even if they hadn’t relied on outdated rules. Once the response was filed, SEIU lawyers signed a stipulated election agreement allowing the decertification vote to move forward.

During the NLRB-supervised election, which took place over July 7-8, the members of Tarantino’s unit voted 39-13 to remove SEIU bosses from their workplace. Employees must now wait until July 15 to see whether the union files “objections.”

“Instead of respecting the will of the workers they supposedly represent, SEIU bosses took advantage of the system and attempted to block the vote requested by Tammy Tarantino and her coworkers,” said National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix. “No worker should be forced to accept the so-called representation of union bosses they do not support. While we’re pleased that Tarantino got her vote, and that Foundation-backed blocking charge reforms worked as intended, workers shouldn’t need the assistance of an attorney to prevent unpopular union bosses from bargaining for them.”

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