Labor Lawyers Successfully Handle Unusual RC Petition
Client Very Pleased with Good Outcome
Attorney Michael Abcarian from the Dallas office of Fisher Phillips and Martin Thompson of the firm’s Memphis office successfully handled an unusual Representation Case (RC) Petition that was filed on November 24, 2017 by the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), Houston, Texas. This case concerned an employee unit in Corpus Christi, Texas, where the client maintains a facility, and with whom Martin has worked for many years. The union’s attorney first sought to compel an Armour-Globe self-determination election, which allows a new group of employees to vote on the question of whether it wishes to join an established bargaining unit of the same union but at a different location. Here, the new group of employees was 200 miles away from the established unit in Houston. Because of this distance and for other reasons (including union hall provisions in the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that would not work in Corpus Christi), our attorneys argued that an Armour-Globe self-determination election was inappropriate. In the face of these circumstances, the union soon withdrew the Armour-Globe portion of its election demand.
Next, the union sought a bargaining unit description for the Corpus Christi employees that would impose the union’s Houston CBA on the new employee group (if the union were to be voted-in). Fisher Phillips attorneys objected to such a procedure as a matter of law because an existing CBA cannot be imposed on an Armour-Globe unit. After doing so, that request was abandoned by the union. Soon after, however, the union asked that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) determine employee voter eligibility by applying what is known as the “Daniel/Steiny” formula. Again, we objected on behalf of our client, because that method of determining voter eligibility is only appropriate for NLRB elections involving construction company employees, who may work some weeks/months and not others over an extended eligibility period. Notwithstanding that the union had represented in its RC Petition that our client was in the “construction” industry (so as to support a “Daniel/Steiny” voter eligibility request), following our objection, the union abandoned this request.
In addition to the above, the union also sought to have the election conducted away from our client’s premises at some unknown “neutral” location. Again, following our objection, that tactic failed. The union then tried to get the NLRB to permit the parties to sign a Stipulated Election Agreement (SEA) that left “open” for later determination the date, time and location of the election vote. Again, we objected and the union’s strategy again failed.
No matter the “end runs” sought by the union, the Fisher Phillips team had the answers, securing all arrangements for the SEA on terms that were both lawful and acceptable to our client. This included Michael’s authoring an appropriate description of the proposed voting unit’s inclusions and exclusions.
With the SEA signed, Michael worked closely with the client’s personnel to organize a campaign, issue several publications to employee voters, and hold some educational group meetings. Then just one week left before the election was to be conducted, Michael was notified by the NLRB that the IUPAT had decided to withdraw its RC Petition. The NLRB accordingly canceled the impending election.