How do You Lose a Union Election after Winning It?

Employees at an industrial aluminum facility in New York started a union organizing drive. The Company countered with an anti-union campaign. The union lost the election by roughly 271 votes for representation to 285 votes to stay union-free. During the campaign period, the union filed numerous unfair labor practice charges alleging that the Company restored benefits to employees to dissuade them from unionizing, threatened employees with job loss and loss of benefits, disparaged the union, and demoted a lead union organizer. The NLRB issued a complaint on the unfair labor practice charges and sought a bargaining order because more than 50% of the bargaining unit signed authorization cards.

After a 17-day hearing, the NLRB Administrative Law Judge ruled that a bargaining order was appropriate because of the “Company commission of several hallmark violations along with numerous other violations, many of which directly affected the entire bargaining unit, and any of which directly involved upper-level management, strongly suggests that the lingering effect of these violations is unlikely to be eradicated by traditional remedies.” The election (that the Company won) was set aside, and the Company was ordered to start negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with the union.

Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at maustin@ralaw.com.

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