Maintenance workers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago have successfully removed Teamsters Local 743 union officials from their workplace, following a vote in which more than 70% of those who cast ballots voted to free themselves from the Teamsters’ monopoly bargaining power. The election was held after worker Tim Mangia submitted a petition to National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 13 in Chicago demonstrating sufficient support among his coworkers for a decertification vote.
Mangia received free legal aid in filing the petition from a National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorney. The successful ouster is the latest in a string of successful worker-led decertifications of Teamsters officials across the country. Just last month, Frito-Lay salesmen voted Teamsters Local 657 officials out of their monopoly bargaining status in Del Rio, TX, and Eagle Pass, TX, a removal which followed Santa Maria, CA Allied Central Coast Distributing delivery drivers’ April dethroning of Teamsters Local 986 bosses. The workers who submitted petitions requesting decertification votes in each of these cases received legal help from Foundation staff attorneys.
Mangia and his coworkers are employed by Jones Lang Lasalle Americas, Inc. Mangia gathered the necessary signatures from his coworkers and on May 17, 2021 submitted the petition requesting that NLRB Region 13 supervise a secret ballot vote to remove the union. The ballots were counted on July 8 and by July 16 NLRB Region 13 confirmed that the workers had voted 25-8 to eject Teamsters bosses from their workplace.
For almost a year workers have been enjoying an easier pathway to exercising their right to remove unwanted union officials. The NLRB in Washington, DC, in July 2020 enacted new rules governing decertification elections which, drawing from comments Foundation attorneys submitted to the agency earlier that year, now forbid union bosses from indefinitely stalling worker-requested votes based on “blocking charges.” Those charges are allegations against an employer that are often unproven and unrelated to workers’ desire to oust union officials.
In Mangia’s case, the new rules may have prevented union officials from submitting “blocking charges,” as filing them would have neither delayed the election nor stopped the results of the vote from being released.
Had the effort by Mangia and his colleagues to oust Teamsters Local 743 officials been blocked, every full-time employee in Mangia’s workplace would have been forced to continue to suffer under union boss monopoly power. Additionally, the employees would have been forced to pay money from their wages to fund the union boss hierarchy because Illinois lacks Right to Work protections for its workers.
Right to Work protections ensure that no worker can be required to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of keeping his or her job. In a non-Right to Work state like Illinois, workers who choose not to affiliate with a union can still be forced to pay at least a portion of union dues as a condition of employment.
“Although Foundation-backed NLRB rule changes eliminated some of the barriers faced by Mr. Mangia and his coworkers in removing the Teamsters union from their workplace, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that it is wrong for so-called union ‘representation’ to be imposed on even one worker who doesn’t want it,” observed National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “States like Illinois which lack Right to Work protections compound the injustice of letting union officials force workers under union representation against their will by also empowering union bosses to threaten workers to pay union dues or else be fired.”
“We will continue to work towards a day when unions can neither impose their so-called ‘representation’ on individual workers against their will, nor force them to fund union activities,” Mix added.