Employees at chemical company Ecolab’s Atlanta-area location are one step closer to successfully removing Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union, Southeast Council (RWDSU) union officials from their workplace.
Ecolab employee Irvin Arnold in October 2021 submitted a “decertification petition” signed by his colleagues, which prompted the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to conduct an election at his workplace on whether the union should be scrapped. Arnold received free legal representation from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.
Ecolab employees voted in December 2021 to send RWDSU officials packing from the plant. However, RWDSU officials filed objections after the election in an attempt to reverse the workers’ exercise of their right to dispense with the unwanted union.
After a hearing and the filing of briefs, a regional NLRB official ruled on March 11 that “the Union’s objections should be overruled in their entirety,” and that Arnold and his coworkers’ vote to oust the union should be certified.
Foundation-backed Reforms Prevented RWDSU Chiefs from Blocking Employee Vote
The Ecolab employees’ push to remove RWDSU officials benefitted from Foundation-backed changes to union election rules that the NLRB adopted in 2020. Before the reforms, union bosses were often able to delay decertification elections for months or even years by filing “blocking charges,” sometimes repeatedly.
“Blocking charges” are often unverified and unrelated allegations of employer misbehavior that union officials regularly manipulate to stop workers from booting them from a facility.
As a result of the changes, in most circumstances union officials’ “blocking charges” cannot stop a vote from being promptly scheduled, and are generally dealt with after the ballots have been counted and the tally announced.
The RWDSU is notably the same union that Bessemer, AL, Amazon employees rejected by a more than 2-to-1 margin during a highly publicized April 2021 union election. However, the NLRB voided the result and ordered a rerun election after an intense litigation effort by RWDSU lawyers to install the union at the plant over worker opposition. Barely 12% of eligible voters indicated support for union bosses’ monopoly “representation.”
Alabama Amazon workers are now casting ballots in the new election, with counting slated to begin March 28.
Foundation attorneys recently aided another group of workers in removing unwanted RWDSU union officials. In October 2021, Ervin Par of Queens, NY-based Main Street Car Wash submitted the second valid decertification petition in his and his coworkers’ three-year attempt to remove RWDSU bosses from their workplace. Rather than face an employee vote that would have likely ended in defeat, RWDSU officials disclaimed interest in continuing their control over the car wash early last November.
Foundation President: RWDSU Officials Have ‘Penchant’ for Opposing Workers’ Will
“We at the Foundation are proud to help Mr. Arnold and his coworkers freely exercise their right to oust unwanted RWDSU officials from their workplace,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Unfortunately, as his situation and the situation at Amazon in Alabama show, RWDSU officials have a penchant for opposing the will and rights of the very workers they claim to ‘represent.’ If the wishes of rank-and-file workers mean anything to RWDSU officials, the union will file no further appeals and accept the clear message that they are not wanted by Ecolab employees.”
“No American worker should be trapped under the control of union officials that they do not want,” Mix continued. “Any worker across the country who opposes RWDSU officials’ presence in their workplace should not hesitate to contact the Foundation for free legal aid in exercising their rights.”
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in around 250 cases nationwide per year.