NLRB to Prosecute Yotel Boston and UNITE HERE for Violating Workers’ Rights
Labor Board complaint says hotel officials illegally assisted union boss organizing drive used to impose union monopoly ‘representation’ on housekeepers
Boston, MA (December 1, 2020) – Yesterday the Acting Boston Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a complaint against the Yotel Hotel and the UNITE HERE Local 26 union after the hotel illegally assisted union officials with foisting the union on workers. Housekeepers Cindy J. Alarcon Vasquez, Lady Laura Javier, Yestca Perez Barrios, and Danela Guzman filed unfair labor practice charges with the Board in December of 2019 with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.
The charges, which resulted in today’s complaint, say the hotel illegally assisted the union’s coercive “card check” drive, during which employees were pressured by union operatives into signing union cards. These cards were later counted as “votes,” and were used to bypass a secret ballot election that would have determined whether the workers actually support union representation.
The NLRB has long held that an employer taints employees’ efforts to remove a union if it gives those employees support such as a list of bargaining unit employees or use of company resources. The worker’s attorneys here argue that Yotel Boston similarly tainted the union’s organizing campaign by providing assistance to UNITE HERE union organizers that amounted to more than permitted “ministerial aid.”
Such assistance, while it is presumed to taint the results of decertification votes, has often been overlooked by the Board when the assistance benefits union officials in their efforts to gain monopoly representation powers over rank-and-file workers.
By issuing the complaint, the NLRB is finally applying the standard equally no matter whether the assistance is used to impose or remove union monopoly representation. Further, the complaint finds that Yotel violated the law when they recognized UNITE HERE as the workers’ monopoly representative as a result of the illegal assistance.
And there are more instances with UNITE HERE such as this one
The case is not the first in which the NLRB has addressed this double standard. In July NLRB Region 19 issued a similar complaint in another case involving a hotel worker whose employer illegally assisted UNITE HERE Local 8 union officials in its card check drive at Embassy Suites in Seattle. There the NLRB also agreed that the employer had provided more than “ministerial aid,” and therefore UNITE HERE officials “did not represent an uncoerced majority of the unit.”
“The NLRB is finally addressing the double standard that for too long has favored union bosses in their coercive card check unionization drives,” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Union bosses pressure workers and get illegal assistance from employers to impose their so-called representation on workers, but they cry foul when that same assistance is given to workers attempting to remove unwanted forced representation.”
“With these complaints against UNITE-HERE union bosses the Board is correctly finding that what qualifies as more than ‘ministerial assistance and support,’ and thus violates the National Labor Relations Act, cannot depend on whether the employer is helping outside union organizers impose unionization on workers or is assisting workers in exercising their right to remove an unwanted union.”
If you have questions about whether union officials are violating your rights, contact the Foundation for free help.