A large majority of the workers at Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada voted “no” to unionization, but a federal district court judge is forcing their employer to bargain with union officials anyway.
The Casino is appealing the judge’s order at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Now Red Rock employee Raynell Teske has filed an amicus brief arguing the judge was wrong to impose the union on the workers, given the rejection of the union in the election. National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys assisted Teske for free in filing the amicus brief with the appellate court.
In December 2019, the National Labor Relations Board held a secret ballot election whether to unionize Red Rock. A sizable majority of those voting rejected union officials’ effort to become their monopoly bargaining representatives. Despite that vote, NLRB Region 28 Director Cornele Overstreet filed a federal court injunction action seeking to have the union imposed over the workers’ objections.
On July 20, 2021, Judge Gloria Navarro agreed with the NLRB Director’s request, and issued a “Gissel” order forcing Red Rock to bargain with union officials despite the employees’ vote against unionization. The judge said the order was justified because, prior to the vote, union officials claimed that a majority of workers had signed union authorization cards.
Teske’s amicus brief argues those “card check” signatures are unreliable, and not reason enough to conclude the union ever had majority support. She contends the level of union support was tested fairly by the secret-ballot election, in which workers voted 627-534 against unionization. Secret ballots are a far more reliable way of gauging worker support for a union, because workers are often pressured, harassed, or misled by union organizers into signing cards.
Unions themselves know that “card check” signatures do not indicate solid worker support. The AFL-CIO admitted in its 1989 organizing handbook that it needed at least 75% card check support before having even a 50-50 chance of winning a secret ballot election. An earlier guidebook acknowledged that some workers sign cards just to “get the union off my back.”
Teske’s brief argues the union’s possession of so-called “cards” is an insufficient legal basis for imposing unionization, especially after a secret ballot election in which the union lost. It agrees with the employer that the “Gissel” order should be overturned, and that Teske and her coworkers should not be subjected to monopoly bargaining by a union they rejected in an NLRB-supervised secret ballot election.
This is not the only case in which union bosses are battling casino employees in court. Red Rock’s parent company, Station Casinos, also owns Palms Casino in Las Vegas, where employees filed a petition to decertify union officials in March, 2021. Union lawyers blocked the petition with a slew of charges that were accepted by NLRB bureaucrats as reason to block the workers’ petition. The Palms Casino worker represented by National Right to Work Foundation attorneys who filed the petition is appealing the decision to block the vote he requested.
“Ms. Teske and her coworkers had good reasons to reject the union. It is outrageous that the judge’s order imposing unwanted unionization brushes aside the workers’ contrary preference clearly demonstrated in the secret ballot vote,” said National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix. “There have been countless examples of workers being pressured, misled and even bribed to sign union cards, which is why ‘Card Check’ is widely accepted as unreliable, especially compared to an NLRB-supervised secret ballot election.”
“If federal labor law is to be about defending the rights and freedoms of rank-and-file workers, then the Court of Appeals should promptly overturn Judge Navarro’s order substituting the wishes of NLRB bureaucrats for the actual choice workers made at the ballot box,” added Mix.