On November 6, 2019, St. Louis paramedic Jarod Aubuchon appealed his case against Teamsters Local 610 union bosses to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel in Washington, DC. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation provided free legal aid. Aubuchon’s appeal comes after his case’s partial dismissal at the hands of NLRB Region 14 officials, who recently tossed out a similar union intimidation case that Foundation staff attorneys brought forward. The NLRB General Counsel eventually overturned that decision on appeal.
Aubuchon is not a member of the Teamsters. He posted flyers in common areas of his workplace to let his coworkers know about their right to withdraw from union membership and only pay the portion of union fees directly tied to bargaining under the CWA v. Beck Supreme Court decision. The Foundation won this decision in 1988. Due to the fact that Missouri does not have a Right to Work law, employees in the private sector can still be fired for refusing to pay some union fees.
Aubuchon’s charge highlighted how union agents took down his postings and pressured the employer, Medic One, to discipline him for informing his coworkers of heir Beck rights. Not too long after this incident, Aubuchon had a talk with management and was instructed to stop posting the rights notices. According to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), actions by union officials that make an employer discriminate against workers on such ground are strictly prohibited.
The NLRB General Counsel is set to review Aubuchon’s case against the Teamsters. Back in July, the General Counsel overturned Region 14 officials’ dismissal of a similar case that Foundation staff attorneys brought forward in defense of Kansas City-area hospital worker Kacy Warner.
Warner accused National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC) union officials of illegally tampering with a petition she was passing around for a vote on removing the union. The union was tearing down flyers she had posted in bathrooms and other common areas at her place of employment that informed her coworkers of the petition. Despite an order coming from the NLRB General Counsel’s office over three months ago which overturned Region 14’s dismissal and demanded that region officials take legal action against NNOC for additional rights violations, Region 14 has still not taken action on this case.
In addition, the full NLRB overturned the Regional Director earlier this month for wrongfully dismissing Illinois-based Pinnacle Foods worker Robert Gentry’s decertification petition. After United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union officials came to a settlement with Pinnacle Foods which was not related to Gentry’s petition, Region 14 tossed out Gentry’s petition at union bosses’ request. This dismissal was part of approving the settlement. In the wake of the Board’s reversal, Region 14 has scheduled the highly anticipated decertification vote set to take place on November 15.
“The NLRB is charged with enforcing workers’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act, yet there is a disturbing pattern of Region 14 failing to enforce the rights of rank-and-file workers when doing so advances the interests of union bosses,” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “It should not take an appeal to Washington, DC, for workers to have their rights fully protected against union boss abuses.”