President Joe Biden's labor arbiter threw out hundreds of votes from workers attempting to cut ties with a Delaware union.
The National Labor Relations Board overruled hundreds of Delaware poultry workers who had voted to reject union leadership. The agency said in a 3-1 ruling released Wednesday that a provision prohibiting workers from leaving a union for a set time period after a contract is signed allowed the board to ignore the workers' March 2020 vote. The decision reversed a regional NLRB director who had initially ruled in the workers' favor.
Oscar Cruz Sosa, the employee who led the charge to hold the election, ripped union leadership for disregarding the voices of workers. "The union has been harassing and intimidating us for a long time and it’s unbelievable that they’re going to get their way by having 800 ballots destroyed," Cruz Sosa told the Washington Free Beacon.
"We are very mad that the American labor law system let us down and is forcing us to pay dues and be in a union we don’t want," Cruz Sosa said. "While politicians scream about ‘counting every vote’ and making it easier to vote, they just ordered our 800 votes to be destroyed and never counted."
The decision marks a victory for the local chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, the nation's largest private sector union and a major backer of Democratic candidates. The union's PAC spent more than $1.2 million in 2020 electing Democratic candidates.
The case turned on a "contract bar," an NLRB policy that blocks workers from opting out of union representation for three years after a contract between union leaders and employers is signed. Representatives for the union argued that the contract bar should have blocked the election, an argument with which the NLRB, led by a chairwoman appointed by Biden, agreed. An NLRB regional director had sided with the workers because of a clause in the contract mandating that employees be part of the union.
"A majority of the Board reversed the Regional Director’s finding that the contract bar could not apply in this case because the contract contained a clearly unlawful union-security clause," the NLRB said in a press release announcing the decision. "A Board majority instead found that the union-security clause was capable of a lawful interpretation, which is all Board precedent requires for a contract bar to be effective. Member [John] Ring dissented from this portion of the Board’s holding."
The decision comes after the NLRB became engulfed in a political scandal over a series of unprecedented personnel moves made by Biden. As one of his first moves in office, the Democrat fired the NLRB's top prosecutor after the general counsel refused to resign. Glenn Taubman, a National Right to Work attorney who helped represent Cruz Sosa, said the Biden administration has repeatedly signaled that it "exists solely to please labor union officials."
"They do not give one whit about employees and employee rights. All they want is to force employees to pay dues to labor union officials, whether those employees want to or not," Taubman said. "The whole tone and tenor of this administration is, 'We're here for the union bosses and if it's good for them, we don't care who it harms or it's bad for.'"
The NLRB declined to comment further on the decision beyond the press release. The United Food and Commercial Workers union did not respond to a request for comment.