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Employment Blog

Withdrawal of Recognition of Union – Automatic Complaint

Recent action by the National Labor Relations Board has challenged a long-standing labor precedent that may directly affect Wisconsin companies because of the implementation of the Wisconsin Right-to-Work Law. 

Because of the Right-to-Work Law, many companies with union representation of its employees are learning the employees no longer support the union and are withdrawing the right of the union to insist upon union dues taken from the employee paycheck.  In some instances, this action has shown that a majority of the employees no longer want to be represented by the union.  Unfortunately, recent action by the National Labor Relations Board has limited the right of an employer to withdraw its recognition of the union representing company employees. 

General Counsel Richard Griffin of the NLRB has ordered that the NLRB issue a complaint against the company every time a company decides to withdraw recognition from a union unless the union has been decertified by a secret ballot vote held by the NLRB.  As a result, any employer that decides to withdraw recognition of a union based upon information such as a majority of employees deciding not to have dues deducted will be subject to an unfair labor practice complaint by the NLRB even though the prior precedent of the NLRB allowed for withdrawal of recognition if the company had “objective evidence” the employees no longer wish to be represented by the union.  The withdrawal of dues deduction authorization by a majority of the employees would be that type of “objective evidence” that would allow for a company to withdraw its recognition of the union.

As a result of this directive from NLRB General Counsel, any company is at risk of a ULP complaint if they decide to take action to withdraw recognition of the union even though the employees have provided clear evidence that they do not wish to be represented by the union.  It is likely this change in policy of the NLRB will be litigated in the courts but for now, any company that voluntarily withdraws recognition of the union will be subject to litigation from the NLRB.