WASHINGTON, July 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Appearing today before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in the second day of hearings in support of proposed new rules for speedy elections was Faith Clark of Dubois, Pa., who was terminated following an unsuccessful lengthy USW organizing campaign in 2008 at Rescar Inc., where 87 workers repaired rail freight cars.
Testifying she was a leader in the organizing campaign as a shipping clerk, the company claimed she was a supervisor that meant she was ineligible to vote in the NLRB election. "This forced the USW into a hearing to prove that I was not a supervisor lasting two full days and resulted in unnecessarily delaying the election date."
Supporting the proposed new rules, USW President Leo W. Gerard said they would help eliminate delaying tactics workers faced after they have filed a petition to vote on whether to form a union. "The current rules give employers all the options and discourage workers from having a fair and timely election."
He said, "The new rules set time limits on election procedures, reduce unnecessary litigation, and streamline procedures for fair elections to as few as 10 days -- the time between when a petition is filed to when workers can chose a union."
USW Organizing Director Mike Yoffee of Pittsburgh said Clark's narrative of employer delays in the election process that results in a lost election is typical. "We had more than majority support of signed cards at Rescar when the petition was filed, but repeated challenges of eligibility, multiple hearing requests and delay tactics wear down union support prior to the vote. The proposed rules are a step to remedy this unfairness to workers."
Clark told the NLRB that after they deemed her a supervisor, but then lost the matter after several hearings, she said the company next tried to add additional employees to the bargaining unit who did not belong, and then losing on those issues, proceeded to commit unfair labor practice charges that further delayed the election.
"All the delays allowed time for the company to bring in union buster consultants who held meetings with the employees, while Rescar supervisors passed out weekly handbills that threaten loss of our 401-K, medical and vacation benefits."
Rescar regularly took the position of their right to go to a hearing for any reason, then when the hearings were scheduled, sought postponements and presented dozens of exhibits to force additional hearings to hear the evidence, which the Board questioned relevance. Ultimately a decision was handed down by the Board that found no merit to any of the company issues. The delays eroded support for the USW and when the election was held months after the original petition was filed, the USW lost majority support.
Six months later, Clark was told her job was eliminated company-wide and she was terminated. The USW filed an unfair labor practice charge, and the company eventually settled prior to a hearing. Her state unemployment is now exhausted and she continues to search for a new job. A mother of two adult children with a grandson, she says, "My husband is a union pipefitter and we know the family benefits of a union."
A list of more than 60 speakers who testified at the NLRB hearings and a fact sheet on the proposed rules is at: www.nlrb.gov/.
Contact: Gary Hubbard, 202-778-4384, 202-256-8125; [email protected]
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)