National Labor Relations Board Imposes Decertification Penalties

Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) showed they meant business when they ruled that nine workers who decertified their union in 2012 still had to pay it another year’s worth of membership dues because they sent in some of the paperwork too early. The NLRB ruling sent out a warning by the Federal government message was loud and clear:  if you are a worker who is trying to exit your union, dot every “i,” cross every “t” and double- and triple-check everything you do. Otherwise, it may cost you a lot.

The case involved nine employees at a Brooklyn condo complex.  These workers voted unanimously, in 2012, to get rid of United Workers of America Local 621 as their bargaining representative. The following week, the workers individually sent the union letters announcing that they “elected to terminate any and all such membership obligations” with it. However the NLRB did not officially recognize the decertification vote until 10 days after the union received the workers’ letters on the basis of that Local 621 claimed it never received proper termination letters. The union (Local 621) was able to persuade the workers’ employer to continue to deduct membership dues from their paychecks for another full year after they voted to get rid of it.

The workers filed a complaint, and an administrative NLRB judge ruled in their favor in July 2012, finding that the letters should not have been invalidated just for being a few days early. But the NLRB overturned that ruling late in April 2014 stating: “Contrary to the judge, we find that premature revocations of dues check-off authorizations do not become valid upon certification of deauthorization election results.”

The case spotlights the technicalities employees face every day. If you or a loved one believe you have been victim of unfair labor and/or employment practices you have the right to fight back! Contact a skilled employment law attorney for the representation you deserve and to ensure your legal rights are protected.

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