Workers trapped in unwanted union by NLRB Word Games

Does midnight mark the very last moment of the day, or the very first moment of tomorrow?

For its part, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) said it’s ambiguous: ” . . . if a date/time is referenced as ‘midnight on Friday, October 20e‘, the intention can be either midnight at the start of the day or midnight at the end of the day.”

NIST scientists aren’t exactly tolerant of imprecise timing – they synchronize national clocks so that each second lasts as long as 9,193,631,770 vibrations of a cesium atom – but they are ambivalent about whether a day begins exactly on midnight or the moment after.

In ordinary, unscientific conversation, most people just assume that “midnight Friday” means Friday night.

But the bureaucrats of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are neither scientists nor ordinary people. They answer the “midnight” question by asking, “Which definition benefits the interest group I favor?” »

Among most NLRB insiders, it’s safe to say that it’s clear that union bosses are the favored group. And so it was that an NLRB official ruled that “Midnight, May 8” unambiguously meant, without a doubt, the minute after 11:59 p.m. on May 7.

Why was an NLRB official more sure than NIST nuclear engineers that he knew the precise meaning of midnight, even when its definition defied ordinary usage of the word?

It’s simple; had she ruled otherwise, 320 Detroit health care workers would have had the opportunity to fire union bosses from their hospitals.

The job of the NLRB is to enforce the rules set forth in federal labor laws and oversee the union termination process. Unfortunately, the NLRB has broad authority to set its own rules and precedents. That’s a problem in an agency that seems to be filled with supporters who have an ideological bent for forced unionism.

The NLRB’s “contract ban” rule only allows workers to file an election petition to suppress an undesirable union when the union’s contract expires between 30 and 60 days.

To complicate matters further, health care workers are subject to a different “contract ban” and can only request the removal of a union 90 to 120 days before the contract expires.

In the NLRB’s “midnight” case, workers at Detroit’s Sinai-Grace Hospital had a narrow window near the end of a three-year union contract to seek union dismissal.

The petitioner, Crystal Harper, had to collect the signatures of almost 100 of her colleagues, a difficult task for a full-time hospital worker.

Then the paperwork begins.

To submit the petition, Harper had to fill in 50 tiny boxes on the NLRB 502RD form. She then had to send Form 502RD to union officials and her employer, along with the “Position Statement” and “Description of Procedures” documents.

Then she had to electronically file a “certificate of service” proving that the documents had been sent, and send the original petition to the appropriate regional office of the NLRB.

Simple, right?

Does the NLRB not do you want to make it easier to remove a union?

Workers fill mountains of paperwork and file them in a tiny window, only for NLRB employees to use every available excuse not to schedule a decertification vote.

Harper rushed to collect signatures, believing that because the union’s contract expired “at midnight on the eighth (8th) day of May 2022,” she had until Feb. 8 to file her case. But his February 8 petition was denied after union lawyers claimed that “midnight” clearly meant the time after the end of February 7.

It certainly challenges the way I would use the term “midnight”, but even if it’s possible the meaning is different, the NLRB should have given the workers the benefit of the doubt given the ambiguity created by the poorly drafted contract.

The NLRB is supposed to ensure that workers can choose their representation in the workplace.

However, apparently in practice, he uses his authority to protect the powers of forced unionism of the union bosses.

While the right to vote against a union is explicitly enshrined in the National Labor Relations Act, the “ban on contracts” is not. It is an invention of a biased board that wants to promote unions.

If the Sinai-Grace Hospital workers’ petition for a recall election remains stalled, they will be forced to remain under the control of an undesirable union for at least three years. It’s a good outcome for union bosses keen to hold on to power, but rank-and-file workers – whose rights the NLRB is supposed to protect – deserve better.

Mark Mix is ​​chairman of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the National Right to Work Committee. To read more of his reports – Click here now.

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