More than 500 workers petitioned for union “decertification election” seeking a vote as soon as allowed following imposition of unwanted union
Maine Medical Center nurses will soon vote in an election that could send Maine State Nurses Association (MSNA-NNU, an affiliate of National Nurses United) union officials packing from the hospital. This follows Nurse Davin Brooks’ submission of a petition containing signatures of more than 500 of his colleagues.
Brooks and his fellow nurses are receiving free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The petition comes as Foundation staff attorneys are increasingly assisting healthcare workers in obtaining votes to remove unwanted unions, including in Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Massachusetts.
The NLRB is the federal agency responsible for enforcing federal private-sector labor law, a duty which includes conducting votes to both certify and decertify unions. Foundation staff attorneys recommended reforms the NLRB adopted in 2020 that significantly eased processes by which workers can request a vote to remove an unwanted union. Those reforms included limiting union officials’ ability to manipulate often-unverified allegations of employer wrongdoing to stop an employee-requested union decertification vote.
Union Installed Through Dubious Mail-Ballot Process, Employees Soon Wanted Ouster
MSNA union officials were originally installed at Maine Medical Center in Portland in May 2021, after the NLRB conducted a mail-ballot union certification vote among the hospital employees. Mail-ballot NLRB elections, which before COVID were very rare and only held where in-person votes were not feasible, have lower turnout rates than standard in-person elections. Studies show mail-ballot elections benefit union organizers in part due to that lower turnout. Conducting such votes through the mail also has resulted in post office errors that disenfranchise workers, and ballot harvesting by union organizers that undermines the privacy of workers’ votes.
Since the union was installed last year, MSNA union officials and Maine Medical Center management have been unable to finalize a contract. Brooks filed the decertification petition signed by his coworkers in June, the soonest allowed by the NLRB’s “election bar” which prevents more than one such election within a year. The election is scheduled for August 17 and 18, and will be held in person at multiple Maine Medical Center locations.
“Maine Medical Center employees are more than reasonable in their desire to oust MSNA union officials, who came to power at the facility through a questionable mail-ballot vote and have failed to produce a contract in over a year,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “No healthcare worker should be subject to the monopoly control of a union that they don’t believe serves their interests. We are proud to aid Mr. Brooks and his coworkers in exercising their right to free themselves of union officials that clearly made promises to nurses on which the union could not actually deliver.”
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.