(The Center Square) – A nurse at the Mayo Clinic in Austin, Minnesota, has submitted a petition to the National Labor Relations Board seeking a vote to remove United Steelworkers Local 11-005 union officials from power at their facility.
Erin Krulish filed the petition with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
Last December, Krulish and her employees voted 49-17 to revoke the union’s power to compel them to pay dues. Such an election, called a “deauthorization vote,” is the only way in non-right-to-work states to stop a union from seizing dues from workers as a condition of employment, outside of completely decertifying the union.
The NLRB enforces federal labor law, which includes administering elections to install and remove unions. Under NLRB rules, a union decertification petition must contain the signatures of at least 30% of the employees at a workplace to trigger a decertification election.
Krulish’s petition contains signatures from a majority of her coworkers.
If most workers vote against a union in a decertification vote, the union is removed from the workplace and loses its monopoly bargaining power. Such power permits union officials to dictate the contract provisions of all employees in a unit.
Minnesota is not a right-to-work state for private-sector workers, meaning Steelworkers union bosses can enter into contracts with Mayo Clinic management that force Krulish and her coworkers to pay union dues or fees just to keep their jobs.
In contrast, in right to work states like neighboring Wisconsin and Iowa, union membership and all union financial support are strictly voluntary.
Even after a deauthorization vote, union bosses still retain their monopoly bargaining powers, which can only be eliminated by decertifying a union. A “contract bar” NLRB policy limits Krulish and her coworkers from all worker attempts to vote the union out for up to three years while a union monopoly bargaining contract is enacted.
Last December, with one year still left on the union contract, Krulish said they plan to vote to decertify the union once the contract expires.
National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix said that workers shouldn’t be arbitrarily blocked from waiting on the vote.
“Nurses at Mayo Clinic Austin clearly don’t wish to associate with Steelworkers union officials, and twice now Ms. Krulish and her coworkers have mustered the majority showing necessary to revoke coercive powers from the union,” National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “While we’re proud to support her and her dedicated colleagues, the situation shows the kind of pro-union boss restraints that workers are under not just in non-Right to Work states, but across the country.”