Slot machine technicians at Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas are seeking a vote on whether to remove International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 501 officials from control at their workplace. Red Rock technician Jereme Barrios submitted the petition to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
Barrios’ petition for a union decertification vote contains the signatures of a large majority of slot machine technicians at the casino, far more than the percentage NLRB rules require to trigger a vote. Barring any delays, the vote should be held in April at the casino.
Thanks to Foundation-backed changes to union election rules that the NLRB adopted in 2020, Barrios and his colleagues expect to vote promptly. 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 allegations of employer misbehavior that union officials regularly invent to stop workers from booting them from a facility. As a result of the Foundation-backed 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.
Other Red Rock Employees Fight for Freedom from Culinary Union
The slot techs’ effort comes as Red Rock hospitality and foodservice staff, led by employee Raynell Teske, are battling an order from a federal district court judge that forces them under the “representation” of Culinary Union bosses. The order came despite the fact that a majority of hospitality and foodservice employees voted to reject union officials’ effort to install themselves at the casino.
NLRB Region 28 Director Cornele Overstreet asked a federal court to issue an order unilaterally imposing unionization despite Teske and her coworkers’ objections. US District Judge Gloria Navarro issued the order in July 2021. A legal brief filed for Teske by Foundation staff attorneys argues that the basis for overturning the workers’ vote – Culinary Union bosses’ claim that they have “union cards” from workers indicating majority support – is unreliable and disregards the clear will of workers as expressed in the secret ballot election.
Palms Casino Employee, also Seeking to Oust Unpopular Union, Battles Dubious NLRB Ruling
Barrios and his colleagues are seeking freedom from the IUOE union at the same time as Thomas Stallings and his fellow maintenance workers at Palms Casino in Las Vegas are attempting to get a vote whether to remove IUOE and International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) officials from their workplace.
With Foundation legal aid Stallings filed last year an Emergency Request for Expedited Review with the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, DC, in response to NLRB Region 28 Director Overstreet’s blocking of his request for a vote based on union “blocking charges.”
Stallings’ request argues that Overstreet is leaving him and his coworkers trapped under an unpopular union despite the new NLRB rules regarding “blocking charges,” and despite the fact the unions’ accusations against the employer relate to other unions besides those involved in his case, and to other bargaining units having nothing to do with the 19-person maintenance unit involved in his case.
“Las Vegas union officials likely believe they can violate workers’ free choice rights without any consequences, as it seems ‘the union house always wins’ at NLRB Region 28,” observed National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Mr. Barrios, Ms. Teske, and Mr. Stallings are standing up for themselves and their coworkers by opposing unpopular union bosses. Foundation attorneys will fight to make sure their voices are heard even though the deck may seem to be stacked against independent-minded workers.”
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.