Foundation backs US Brick employees’ quest to decertify Teamsters local

Sources: National Right to Work Legal Defense and Education Foundation Inc., Springfield, Va.; CP staff

The National Right to Work Foundation is assisting employees at US Brick Holdings’ Mooresville, Ind. clay brick and mine operation in their pursuit of a National Labor Relations Board-administered vote to decertify Teamsters Local 135, Indianapolis, as collective bargaining representative for the site’s 33-member unit.  

The Foundation has filed a Request for Review centered on a NLRB Region 25 decision dismissing a December 2021 petition through which Kerry Atkins and coworkers sought a decertification vote. The new filing asks the five-member Board to overturn the early-February decision and eliminate a non-statutory NLRB doctrine called the “successor bar,” which blocks employees’ right to vote out an unwanted union when workplace management changes hands. Region 25 Director Patricia Nachand determined that US Brick’s recent acquisition of the Indiana plant triggered the so-called “successor bar,” rendering the Atkins petition invalid. The Mooresville operation was part of a production and distribution asset package that General Shale and Meridian Brick sold in November 2021 to settle a Department of Justice Antitrust Division complaint challenging their merger the prior month. 

Foundation staff attorneys note: a) The “successor bar” is a non-statutory policy invented by NLRB appointees that immunizes union officials from being voted out by employees for up to a year after management changes as a result of a sale, merger, or acquisition; b) Employees have a statutory right to hold decertification elections to remove union monopoly “representation” they oppose, but the “successor bar” is found nowhere in the text of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which the NLRB is charged with enforcing; and, c) The NLRA’s only “bar” to holding a decertification election is if a prior NLRB election was held within the previous year. A collective bargaining agreement covering the Mooresville unit expired in October 2021. 

“The NLRB-invented ‘successor bar’ is just one example of how the Board neglects its mandate to protect the rights of individual workers, including those opposed to forced union affiliation, just to protect union boss power,” observes National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “The ‘successor bar’ not only overrides the statutory right of workers to vote out unions they oppose, but does so at the very moment when workers are most likely to reevaluate their union status: the turnover of the old management that perhaps was the reason for unionization in the first place.”

“In this case the fundamental injustice of the ‘successor bar’ is compounded by the fact that one arm of the federal government—the Department of Justice—demanded the sale of this facility, which another federal agency—the NLRB—says should be grounds for blocking workers from ejecting a union they overwhelmingly oppose,” he continues. “Foundation attorneys will fight for Mr. Atkins and his coworkers until they can exercise their right to eject this unpopular union.”

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