(The Center Square) – Rieth-Riley Construction Company employees on Monday filed an emergency appeal with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to overturn a regional director’s decision that canceled workers’ vote whether to remove the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 324 from their workplace.
Rieth-Riley employee Rayalan Kent and about 30% of Kent’s coworkers had requested in April and August to vote whether to drop the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 324 as its bargaining representative.
The election by mail started in October but, on Nov. 9, three-and-a-half hours before the Detroit NLRB Region began counting votes, the regional director dismissed Kent's and his coworkers’ petitions, the appeal says.
Unless the NRLB in Washington D.C. intervenes, the decertification election’s votes will be destroyed and never counted.
The NLRB Detroit regional director argues that unfair labor practice charges against Rieth-Riley from 2018 contaminated both petitions.
The appeal argues that the dismissal violates new NLRB reforms that largely eliminate “blocking charges” as a means for delaying a vote whether or not to keep a union.
The new NRLB reforms aim to stop union officials from using “blocking charges” as a method to avoid a company removing the union from its workplace.
The NLRB’s final rule requires that vote results be announced unless the charges allege the employer has improperly aided the decertification petition. Even then, the votes would be counted unless a complaint against the employer has been issued within 60 days.
The NLRB Detroit Regional director declined to follow new NRLB rules to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine whether a causal link exists between IUOE union claims and Rieth-Riley employees efforts to remove the union.
The appeal points out that “even under the old rules, the Region is misapplying the law by dismissing the petitions.”
The “unfair labor practice allegations do not relate to the election itself,” the appeal says. “Further, the Region did not conduct a hearing before it found a causal connection between the Employer’s alleged conduct and the decertification petitions.”
National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix argued the Detroit regional director’s action violated national NRLB rules.
“Rieth-Riley employees have already had to endure many months of union boss stonewalling just to exercise their right to vote out an unpopular union,” Mix said in a statement.
“NLRB Region 7’s current decision to stifle further the employees’ will makes the whole situation even more outrageous and rigged in favor of union power. The NLRB in Washington should immediately overturn this decision and order the Region to count the ballots as NLRB rules dictate.”