A National Labor Relations Board regional director’s ruling could, if upheld by the full board, up-end a longtime AFL-CIO ban on raids by one member union against another.
In a late-December decision, Sean Marshall, the agency’s acting regional director for the Baltimore-Washington area, said the board should completely disregard the raiding ban in the AFL-CIO Constitution’s Article XX.
The immediate effect was to set up a 3-way Jan. 9 representation election pitting the incumbent United Food and Commercial Workers Local 27 against the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 333, and no union, at WWL Vehicle Services, a Dundalk, Md., vehicle processing, logistics and marine services firm at the port of Baltimore.
The longer-range impact, if the full board agrees with Marshall, could be to up-end Article XX and throw AFL-CIO unions open to raids by their confederation colleagues. Article XX does not cover relations between AFL-CIO unions and unions in Change To Win.
But one top labor attorney, making clear he was speaking on background, said “the regional director can’t make law.” Currently, the board defers to arbitration of such disputes first, including arbitration under the federation’s constitution, added another veteran attorney, retired UFCW General Counsel Ed Wendel.
UFCW Local 27 and WWL are currently bargaining over a new contract to replace one that expired last year. Both urged Marshall to uphold past precedents. An AFL-CIO-named arbitrator’s ruling, ratified by the federation’s executive council in December, sided with them.
And in his most recent communication to members, posted on its homepage, Local 27 President Jason Chopenning told members at WWL the contract is still in effect while the two sides bargain a new one. WWL employs 150 union workers.
The ILA local responded federal labor law gives the board the final – and only – say over who should represent workers. It also said a NLRB “contract bar,” designed to bar raids, covers pacts lasting three years or fewer. The expired UFCW-WWL contract lasted four years.More ...