Following Airgas USA employee Angel Herrera and his coworkers’ yearlong effort seeking to end the union’s control at their workplace, Teamsters Local 848 officials have filed documents with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ending their monopoly bargaining power over all workers at the Airgas Glass Welding and Safety Products facility in Ventura. Herrera and his colleagues received free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys in filing a petition for a vote to oust Teamsters union officials.

Airgas Ventura employees’ effort began in 2020, when they submitted a petition asking Airgas management to rescind recognition of Teamsters Local 848. Though Airgas management prepared to withdraw recognition as the majority of employees had requested, Teamsters officials filed unfair labor practice charges against Airgas soon after in an attempt to retain power over the employees at the facility despite the employees’ overwhelming opposition to the union.

What followed was months of litigation at the NLRB, the federal agency charged with enforcing most private sector labor law. Ultimately the NLRB forced Airgas to recognize the Teamsters union and the union’s “representation” was imposed back on the employees.

Herrera and his coworkers tried again to get Teamsters union chiefs out of their workplace this summer by filing a “decertification petition” with the NLRB. Herrera’s petition, filed on August 30, contained signatures from enough of his coworkers to trigger an NLRB-supervised “decertification election,” a secret-ballot election after which union officials lose monopoly bargaining power if a majority of workers vote to remove them.

Before a decertification election was scheduled, however, Teamsters officials instead disclaimed interest in maintaining control over the workplace on September 13, in an apparent attempt to spare themselves the embarrassment of an overwhelming vote by workers to reject the union’s so-called “representation.”

This is just the latest in a series of successful worker efforts to oust unwanted union officials aided by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys. Earlier this summer, maintenance worker Tim Mangia and his coworkers at Chicago’s Rush University filed a decertification petition with free Foundation legal aid and voted out another Teamsters affiliate, Local 743, from their workplace by a more than 70-30 margin.

Relatedly, just last month in Las Vegas, Foundation staff attorneys filed an amicus brief for a Red Rock Casino worker contesting a federal judge’s order that casino management submit to bargaining talks with Culinary Union officials, despite a majority of Red Rock workers voting against unionization.

The Foundation has also fought to break down union boss-created legal barriers to unseating unwanted union officials. Early last year, following detailed formal comments submitted by Foundation attorneys, the NLRB finalized rules eviscerating union bosses’ ability to stop a decertification effort with “blocking charges,” i.e., accusations made against an employer that are often unverified and have no connection to workers’ desire to kick out undesired union officials.

“We at the Foundation are proud to have helped Mr. Herrera and his colleagues in the exercise of their workplace rights, but no American workers should have to file multiple petitions and endure protracted litigation just so they can exercise this basic right of free association,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “This is more important than ever given the Biden Administration’s focus on further empowering union officials at the expense of rank-and-file workers’ individual rights.”

“Foundation staff attorneys will not waiver in their defense of workers’ right to dispense with unwanted union so-called ‘representation,’ regardless of which way the political winds blow,” Mix added.

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