Union bosses backed down and departed workplace rather than face workers’ vote

Denis Hodzic, an In Home Sales Expert of AT&T Mobility Tennessee, and his co-workers have successfully pushed unwanted Communications Workers of America (CWA) union officials out of power.

The union ouster follows Hodzic’s submission of a “decertification petition” backed by his fellow employees, which asked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote to remove (or decertify) the union for AT&T Mobility In Home Sales Experts throughout Tennessee.

Hodzic received free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.

The NLRB is the federal agency responsible for enforcing federal labor law, which includes administering votes to certify and decertify unions. Hodzic, who collected signatures from a majority of his co-workers (more than enough to trigger a decertification vote under NLRB rules), filed his decertification petition in Dec. 2023 to challenge a so-called “card check” unionization scheme by CWA union bosses.

Last month, an NLRB Regional Director rejected union officials’ objections to the petition and ruled that a decertification election should go forward. However, before the vote could occur, CWA union officials filed paperwork disclaiming interest in continuing their control over the workers – likely to avoid an embarrassing rejection by employees at the ballot box.

Had Hodzic and his co-workers’ effort not succeeded, NLRB documents indicate that they would have been integrated into a nationwide bargaining unit comprised of thousands of employees, which would have made decertifying the union virtually impossible.

Because Tennessee is a Right to Work state, CWA union officials never had the power to force Hodzic and his colleagues to pay union dues or join the union as a condition of employment. However, even in Right to Work states, union officials can still force one-size-fits-all contracts on all employees in a work unit, even those who oppose the union.

A successful decertification election ends this monopoly bargaining power.

Image by jannoon028 on Freepik.

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