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NLRB punishes Oregon SEIU Local by banning successful organizing tactics

The National Labor Relations Board in a highly unusual move April 25, banned a Portland OR union from using card checks for union recognition for the next 6 months. Shauna Bello, a spokesperson from SEIU Local 49 and Dmitri Iglitzin, a Seattle labor attorney explain the implications of the NLRB action.
Service employees union Local 49 in Portland Oregon has been banned by the National Labor Relations Board from using card checks for organizing campaigns with building service workers for 6 months.

The order came as part of a settlement Local 49 agreed to in response to unfair labor practice charges stemming from an organizing campaign among 32 janitors working for Somers Building Maintenance which provides janitorial services to Siltronic Inc., a Portland silicon-wafer plant.

Ryan Canney, a Somers worker who was not in the Siltronic bargaining unit had filed a complaint with the NLRB that the union among other things, had used out-dated cards in seeking recognition for the Siltronic janitors.

Canney was backed by the National Right to Work Legal Defense and Education Foundation, an anti-union nonprofit group based in Virginia that has challenged the legality of card-check agreements across the nation.

Shauna Bello, campaign communications director for Local 49 said the NLRB election process is often abused by employers who use firings and threats of plant closings to persuade workers to vote against unions. In card check recognition, workers can join a union by signing a card rather than going through an election process which can take several months to complete.

Bello said SEIU had been targeted by the National Right to Work Foundation because of its success in using card check recognition.

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