NLRB says companies cannot forge insider deals with unions to deny workers their rights by making them pay dues

Jul 9, 2020

We’ve all heard about employers resisting unionization – which is understandable considering how unions often bully workers – but who ever heard of company managers colluding with a union against their own employees?

Yet that is exactly what happened when Embassy Suites in Seattle helped recruiters from UNITE HERE Local 8 union extract dues from unwilling employees.  Housekeeper Gladys Bryant found herself called to a private meeting room at the hotel, where she faced union officials.  They pressed her to sign a “card check” that would allow them to take money from her check each pay period.

“Card check” is a deceptive union tactic used to deny workers access to a secret ballot, allowing union officials to use strong-arm tactics to focus on reluctant hotel workers.  The tactic is used to get around the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus decision, which upheld the constitutional right of workers not to join a union and still keep their jobs.

Naturally she wondered how the union knew to target her, only to discover later that her employer, Embassy Suites, had given the union her name, address, job description, employment status and contact information.  The union literally knew where she lived.

Further, she learned the hotel meeting room and her time off the job to attend the meeting had been arranged by her employer.

Naturally, given today’s bizarre world of twisted language and politically correct word games, Embassy Suite managers called their intimidating pro-union policy a “neutrality agreement”.

Rather than submit, Gladys Bryant secured legal representation for free from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.  Foundation lawyers quickly informed the National Labor Relations Board about the violation of her rights.  On July 2nd, NLRB announced a decision to prosecute Embassy Suites for illegally helping the union violate worker rights.

In the private, sector unions often play an important role in representing and defending employees, when workers join voluntarily to protect their own interests.  But pressuring workers to pay a union just to please their employer doesn’t promote justice or equality for anyone.  Worker rights start with respect for workers themselves, not insider dealing between employers and unions to deny workers their legal rights.

As the managers at this Embassy Suites found, illegally colluding with the union does not produce labor peace, it only leads to prosecution by federal authorities.