Mayo Clinic nurses’ vote to oust unwanted Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) union officials from their workplace has been certified by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in a decision that also rejected two union objections to the election. The nurses voted 213-181 in July to remove the MNA as their monopoly “representative.” Union officials attempted to not only overturn the result, but to prohibit the workers from even holding another decertificiation vote.
Nurse Brittany Burgess filed a petition in June with Region 18 of the NLRB for more than 200 of her coworkers requesting the election. She did so with free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.
Minnesota is not a Right to Work state, meaning Burgess and the nurses voting in the election at Mayo Clinic had been forced to pay fees to MNA union bosses they opposed just to keep their jobs. Now that the NLRB has certified the “decertification election” results, the nurses are free of both union officials’ forced-fee demands and the union’s control over their terms and conditions of employment.
NLRB Ruling Rejects Union Boss Objections to Election Entirely
NLRB Region 18’s decision and order certifying the vote rejected both arguments from MNA union officials that the vote should be overturned. Union officials claimed a sample ballot circulated by workers opposed to the union didn’t contain legally-required disclaimers about the neutrality of the NLRB. The officials also made vague allegations that other conduct somehow improperly swayed the employees’ choice.
The NLRB election certification order explains that a reviewed photo of the sample ballot “clearly contains the disclaimer language.” The order also declares that the union’s objection to other conduct is not only too “nonspecific” to be meet the NLRB’s standards, but further states that the conduct it alludes to would not rise to the level of invalidating an employee vote anyway.
Though MNA union officials’ attempt to upend the Mayo Clinic vote was particularly vacuous, Burgess and her coworkers were guarded from even more arbitrary union delays thanks to Foundation-advocated reforms to union decertification rules adopted by the NLRB in 2020. Before the reforms, union officials could file “blocking charges” to stop a vote to oust a union from even commencing. Such charges often contained allegations of employer conduct that were both unproven and unrelated to the employees’ desire to get rid of the union.
Unfortunately, the Biden NLRB announced in June it was initiating rulemaking to overturn those reforms and make it easier for union officials to block decertification votes, no matter how many rank-and-file workers request a vote.
Foundation Assisting Nurses at Other MN Medical Facilities to Exercise Right to Vote Out Unions
National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have recently assisted other workers in numerous successful decertification efforts. Just this month, Foundation-backed workers at Mayo Clinic’s location in St. James, MN, removed American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 65 from their hospital.
Foundation staff attorneys are also assisting nurses at four Cuyuna Regional Medical Center locations with obtaining a vote to remove Service Employees International Union (SEIU) bosses from their facilities. Because the NLRB has made the decertification process unnecessarily complicated, workers often need to turn to Foundation attorneys for free legal aid in navigating the process.
“These nurses worked hard to exercise their right to remove a union they didn’t feel represented their interests, and Foundation staff attorneys were happy to help them,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “MNA union officials’ arbitrary attempt to block the certification of the nurses’ will demonstrates the ridiculous charades union officials often pull just to keep siphoning money from workers who don’t want them anymore.”
“The situation also puts into stark relief the risk the Biden NLRB is putting independent-minded workers in by attempting to reverse the recent Election Protection reforms. Eliminating the reforms will make it easier for union bosses to trap workers in forced-dues union ranks, even when a majority of workers oppose the union’s so-called ‘representation,’” Mix added.