New developments in case against Mountaire Farms poultry worker union
SELBYVILLE, Del. – The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed a new brief in an ongoing lawsuit involving workers and their union at Mountaire Farms. Director Mark Mix says that they’re asking the National Labor Relations Board to do away with their contract bar policy. “The contract bar policy is a precedent established by the national regulation board. In fact it’s non statutory. It was never part of the original national regulations act. It was a creation of board decisions over the course of the last 50 years,” said Mix.
The policy prevents workers from voting unions or union officials out of the workplace for up to three years after a contract is finalized. “The idea that union officials can run free for three years and basically do whatever they want and employees cannot remove them because of this precedent of the contract bar is something that we’re trying to correct,” said Mix.
Mix says that if the NLRB overturns the policy – it’ll help workers to have more of a say in a union’s power over them. “The probability that the NLRB looks at this contract bar and says the statue doesn’t provide for it means it’s possible that the board will rule that the contract bar is null and void – and that workers will have an opportunity after a year to try to de-certify unions going forward in the future,” said Mix.
The development is just the latest in a case where an employee gathered hundreds of signatures to remove the union at Mountaire, and was denied. “Literally we had hundreds of employees at that plant that signed a petition saying we don’t want the union here. Yet the union – because they have significant power under NLRB legal precedents and under law that was granted way back in 1935 – they have the ability to thwart the views of the workers that they claim to represent,” said Mix.
Mix says they are waiting for the NLRB to respond. The next step could involve testimony to the NLRB about why the contract bar policy shouldn’t be used as a deciding factor in cases like this one. “You decide you’d rather have the ability to talk to your employer and your supervisors directly without the union involved. Then the union steps in and tries to block the whole process. That doesn’t seem right. That doesn’t seem fair – and we hope that the workers here in this case will have their rights vindicated,” said Mix.