The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that ballots in the Mountaire Farms Inc. union decertification voteshould be thrown out.
A Selbyville Mountaire worker, backed by a right-to-work organization, led the effort to get the United Food and Commercial Workers local out of the plant.
National Right to Work Foundation attorneys argued against the contract bar, a long-running precedent that allows a union to represent workers throughout the term of a negotiated contract.
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union lawyers argued that the contract bar invalidated the election.
An NLRB Regional Director initially ruled that the decertification vote should proceed based on an invalid dues clause in the union contract. However, the NLRB board ruled otherwise.
The union, which represents 1,000 workers at the plant, applauded the ruling.
UFCW International Vice President Mark Lauritsen released the following statement:
“Today’s NLRB ruling is a powerful victory for these Delaware poultry workers at Mountaire Farms who can now continue to count on the protections that come from being UFCW 27 union members.
“In Delaware and states across the country, meatpacking workers have put their health at risk every day to make sure our families have the food they need during the pandemic. UFCW is honored to represent these essential workers and will continue to hold companies like Mountaire Farms accountable to ensure that these plants are safe both for workers and the communities they serve.”
The National Right to Work Foundation had another view of the ruling.
“The board just steamrolled the statutory rights of almost 1,000 Delaware poultry workers who joined together to request a vote to remove a union they oppose, as well as millions of workers nationwide,” stated National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix.”The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) purports to be about the rights of employees, but as this decision shows more often than not, it is a protection racket for incumbent union officials. Complex bars like the contract bar that tether employees to unpopular incumbent unions for years have no place in America.”
“That this Board believes that is an acceptable outcome under the NLRA shows why it is time to fundamentally reform American labor law with the freedom of association, including the freedoms of workers who choose not to associate with a union, at its center,” Mix stated.