Elections, as we all know have consequences. Elections beginning in 2010 have led to a sweep of right to work legislation in many states. With these states considering and approving right to work legislation, the process of unionization/de-unionization is getting more attention than usual. This mid-term election may result in a few of these laws being 'flipped' back to non-right to work or may hasten further new 'right to work states.
It has been our experience that many employers and employees are unfamiliar with the important concepts and laws impacting this process, including decertification. This would not be of concern except for the fact that not knowing the law, and coincidentally, your rights and those of your employees, can have significant consequences. We have developed a short quiz to highlight some of the more often overlooked points:
TRUE OR FALSE
1. A decertification petition to oust an incumbent union can only be filed when there is no contract in place between the employer and the union.
2. A "right to work" law such as was recently passed in West Virginia and Missouri, makes it illegal for employers to agree to a contract to check-off union dues and send them to the union.
3. Counting Indiana and Wisconsin, there are only 11 states that have 'right to work' laws and all of the rest of these 'right to work' states are in the South.
4. "Right to work" laws make it possible for a union to be decertified at any time.
5. A 'right to work' law strips a company and its certified union from their right to enter into a binding "union shop" agreement.
6. Through filing and voting favorably on a de-authorization election petition, employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement can bring "right to work" to their own workplace, even in non-right to work states such as California and New York.
7. To obtain an election to determine whether a union should be certified, a union must collect authorization cards from at least 50 percent of employees in an appropriate unit.
8. An appropriate unit for an election on union representation can consist of just one employee.
9. An appropriate unit for an election on union representation can cover employees at many different locations the employer operates throughout the United States.
10. An appropriate unit for an election on union representation can cover employees at one location and not the other locations an employer operates in the same city even though the employees are doing exactly the same work.
11. Illinois is considering adopting a law which would provide for 'right to work' zones within the state.
12. A case is pending in the US Court of Appeals in Chicago which would decide whether counties or municipalities within a state could become 'right to work' areas when the rest of a state is not.
13. The United States Supreme Court decided a case which provides that all private sector employees enjoy a right to choice on whether to join a union or not.
14. The United States Supreme Court decided a case which provides that all public sector employees enjoy a right to choice on whether to join a union or not.
Watch next week's MMM for the answers! And the mid term elections for the impacts discussed above!