Ozvaldo Gutierrez and his coworkers at XPO Logistics’ Fashion District-area facility in Los Angeles have successfully forced Teamsters Local 63 union officials out of their workplace. Following Gutierrez’s submission of a petition bearing enough employee signatures to prompt the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to administer a vote to remove the union at the facility (or “decertification vote”), Teamsters officials backed down rather than face a vote of employees and disclaimed interest in continuing their control over the workers.

Gutierrez and his coworkers received free legal assistance from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys in their effort to remove the unwanted union. Teamsters Local 63 bosses’ departure from XPO comes amid a spurt of Foundation-backed employee legal actions opposing coercive behavior by Teamsters officials across Southern California.

Long Beach-area Savage Services employee Nelson Medina filed federal charges just weeks ago against Teamsters Local 848, maintaining that union bosses threatened to have him fired for refusing to join the union and pay various fees demanded by union officials. Medina is also leading an employee effort opposing Local 848’s presence in his facility, asserting union officials engaged in illegal ballot harvesting to gain power in the workplace.

In Ventura last month, Teamsters Local 848 bosses were also forced to depart Airgas worker Angel Herrera’s workplace after he and his coworkers filed a petition for an NLRB-administered vote to remove the union from the workplace. Herrera’s colleagues had been involved in litigation against Local 848 officials since 2020, and filed at least two different majority-backed employee petitions seeking the end of Local 848’s monopoly bargaining power.

Gutierrez and his coworkers on August 20, 2021 filed with the NLRB their petition seeking an election to decertify Teamsters Local 63. While the petition demonstrated sufficient employee support to trigger such a vote, Teamsters officials claimed in an opposition that a March 2020 settlement meant to kick off bargaining talks between them and XPO Logistics management should have prevented any such election.

Teamsters officials were trying to manipulate the “settlement bar,” a non-statutory NLRB precedent that restrains workers’ right to vote out unpopular union officials for up to a year while an employer and union officials attempt to bargain as ordered by a settlement. Foundation attorneys representing Gutierrez argued that a year had already passed between the first bargaining session between management and union bosses and Gutierrez’s filing of the petition, and that the union was wrong in claiming that delays in bargaining talks should have extended the “settlement bar” past the one-year mark.

The Regional Director of NLRB Region 21 in Los Angeles issued a decision on October 6 ordering that Gutierrez’s requested vote go forward, declaring that “a reasonable period has elapsed and that the settlement does not bar the processing of the instant petition.” The vote was slated for October 21, but on October 18 Teamsters Local 63 officials tapped out and announced they were abandoning the facility. The NLRB revoked the union’s certification the next day.

“We are happy that Mr. Gutierrez and his coworkers are finally free from unwanted Teamsters ‘representation’ and that we were able to help him and his coworkers defend their rights,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “However, workers should not have to obtain legal aid and endure months or even years of litigation just to exercise their right to dispense with unpopular union bosses. The flurry of similar cases involving Teamsters officials around Southern California is a growing cause for concern.”

“Any employees in California or elsewhere seeking to oust unwanted Teamsters officials from their workplaces should not hesitate to contact the Foundation for free legal aid,” Mix added.

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