WASHINGTON, D.C. – After the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a proposed rule that would potentially remove some frivolous litigation in union elections, Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), issued the following statement:
“In just the first six months of this year, we have witnessed unprecedented assaults on workers’ rights in states across the country. Now, the NLRB is taking a positive step for workers who want to exercise their fundamental right to decide for themselves whether to form a union.
“Too many workers have seen their efforts to join together on the job defeated by costly litigation and delaying tactics by their employer. Many never get the chance to make their voices heard at the ballot box. This rule change would protect a right that is central to our democracy – the right to vote.
“When Americans want to make their voices heard —whether in state capitols or at work—they should be able to without fear of retaliation.
“Don’t be surprised when right wing politicians and corporate interest groups make outrageous claims about what this rule change would do. These are the same politicians who are attacking workers’ rights around the country and the same corporations that are reaping record profits. America’s economic and tax policies are making them rich and they want to keep them that way.
“It’s time to restore some measure of balance and fairness to the system, starting with making sure workers have the right to vote whether to form a union without unnecessary delays.”
This rule would have helped workers like Ann Anderson, a Registered Nurse from Naples, Florida who, along with 900 of her co-workers, filed for a union election in August 2007. Her employer hired a union-busting consultant that used every legal maneuver at its disposal to delay the election. During the delay, the employer was cited by the NLRB for breaking the law by intimidating and harassing pro-union workers. In the end, the employer managed to obstruct the process for nearly four years and in March of 2011, Ann and her co-workers gave up without ever having the chance to vote.
Ann said, “We followed the law. We made it clear that we wanted to have a union vote. But it turns out the decision wasn’t ours to make—the hospital was able to use expensive legal maneuvers to make sure our vote was significantly delayed while it undertook a hard-hitting campaign to convince nurses that we shouldn’t have a union.”
With 2.1 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and CEOs—benefit from today’s global economy.