Workers Try to Boot Union for Fourth Time After ‘Rigged’ Election

Anti-union forces claim UAW ‘stuffed’ ballot box

UAW officials meet at the IBEW Local 175 in Chattanooga, Tenn. / AP

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Workers in Alabama are staging a fourth attempt to kick the United Auto Workers (UAW) out of their plant following claims that stuffed ballot boxes derailed their last vote.

Employees at the NTN-Bower Corporation, a ball bearings manufacturer, have unsuccessfully tried to boot the labor giant out of their factory for two years.

Workers voted to decertify the UAW in an earlier election, but an Obama-appointed National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) panel threw out the election.

Another election was held in January of this year. The UAW prevailed, but it was later revealed that 148 ballots were cast—eight more than the entire workforce. Employees convinced the NLRB to throw out those results with the help of the National Right to Work Foundation.

"This is a good example of a rigged election characterized by obvious ballot box stuffing and mishandling of ballots," Mark Mix, president of National Right to Work, said in a statement.

Local 1990 did not respond to the Washington Free Beacon‘s requests for comment.

"Even with right to work the workers have to accept the union's exclusive bargaining power over the unit," said Anthony Riedel, a spokesman for National Right to Work.

Workers at the factory have held three elections, including two NLRB votes, to determine whether or not to remain in the union since 2013. Alabama is a right-to-work state and does not allow forced unionization. NTN-Bower employs 140 workers at the factory who are union eligible, but only 76 pay union dues to Local 1990, according to 2013 federal labor filings.

UAW Local 1990, which represents the workers, collected about $38,000 in dues from its members in 2013. It spent $17,000 on staff, officers, and administrative costs. The majority of the money was turned over to the national UAW for per capita taxes.

The UAW has been trying to expand its influence in right to work states, including Alabama, to deal with hemorrhaging membership in its home state of Michigan.

The union has attempted to organize at a Mercedes Benz factory in Alabama over the past two years and workers at a Chattanooga, Tennessee Volkswagen factory rejected the UAW in Feb. 2014, despite the fact that company board members demanded a union presence at the factory. The UAW is now trying to form a "voluntary" union at the plant.

Mix said that the NLRB is forcing workers to jump through hoops created by the union to keep them paying union dues.

"This case underscores the difficulty workers often experience when trying to remove unwanted unions from their workplaces," he said.

Bill McMorris   Email Bill | Full Bio | RSS
Bill McMorris is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He joins the Beacon from the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, where he was managing editor of Old Dominion Watchdog. He was a 2010 Robert Novak Fellow with the Phillips Foundation, where he studied state pension shortfalls. His work has been featured on CNN, Fox News, The Economist, Colbert Report, and numerous print publications and radio stations. He lives in Alexandria, Va, with his wife and three daughters. His Twitter handle is @FBillMcMorris. His email address is mcmorris@freebeacon.com.

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