Alabama workers are being forced to take a fifth vote to kick out a local UAW chapter despite giving the union the boot in February.
A regional agent for the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees union elections and decertifications, found merit to UAW objections to the February vote and scheduled another vote in May. This will be the fifth vote the workers have had on the issue in the past two years, according to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which has assisted anti-union workers.
"It shouldn’t take five votes to get rid of a union that has clearly overstayed its welcome," Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, said in a statement. "The NLRB has stacked the deck against workers seeking to remove unwanted unions, allowing union officials to throw out results that don’t go their way and hold onto power."
UAW organizers had previously convinced the NLRB to toss losing votes with complaints of management interference. The UAW won the third election held in January 2015. However, that vote was nullified after it was revealed that 148 ballots were counted even though only 139 employees voted.
Local 1990 did not return request for comment.
The re-vote means that the UAW will remain the exclusive bargaining agent for at the NTN-Bower Corporation. As a right-to-work state, Alabama allows workers to opt out of union membership and prevents companies from forcing workers to join as a condition of employment. Workers will have to continue paying dues or agency fees until they vote in the fifth election.
NTN-Bower has 140 union eligible workers. The union has suffered a steep decline since the vote saga began: Only 62 workers were full-paying members in 2014, down from 76 in 2013, according to its most recent federal labor filings.
The decrease in membership has led to falling dues collection and forced union organizers to look for revenue elsewhere. After dues payments fell by nearly $10,000 to about $27,000 in 2014, the union was forced to generate nearly $50,000 by selling off assets and investments, according to the labor filings.
Mix said in a statement that the Alabama saga highlights the inequity in labor votes. While it is easy to establish a union, removing one requires workers to navigate complicated labor law and hurdle union stalling tactics.
"While the activist Obama NLRB makes it easier to organize workplaces by enacting new ‘ambush election’ rules to get unions certified, union lawyers are allowed to game the system by blocking or overturning workers’ votes against unwanted unions," Mix said.
The election is scheduled for May 19.