FILE - Labor union, strike, protest

(The Center Square) – A recent ruling by the National Labor Relations Board means employees at an Indiana concrete company are stuck with their current union bosses as their monopoly bargaining representative.

About 10 employees at Neises Construction in Crown Point, south of Gary, submitted a petition in March to decertify from the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters.

Every employee in the union had already exercised their right under Indiana’s Right to Work law to opt out of the union and paying dues, but the IKORCC under federal law still maintained the authority to negotiate contracts with the company on behalf of the employees.

The unanimous decertification petition was rejected by the National Labor Relations Board’s Region 13, a decision the full NLRB board upheld this week.

“It is simply outrageous that federal law lets union bosses force workers to accept unions’ so-called ‘representation’ against their will, even when workers unanimously oppose the union,” according to a statement from Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

The foundation has been providing free legal counsel to the workers during the dispute.

In light of the employees resigning their union membership, IKORCC bargainers have hampered the contract talks by filing what are known as “blocking charges,” which are unfair labor practice claims filed by union lawyers that must be settled before a vote can take place.

The foundation says the union is insisting the company negotiate “in good faith” and the NLRB order rejecting the petition requires Neises to negotiate with the union.

The company’s hands are tied, however, because under federal law it is illegal for an employer to engage in monopoly bargaining with a union that lacks the support of a simple majority of workers.

“Federal law purports to protect workers’ freedom of association and to ensure union representation is of their own choosing, but as this case demonstrates, the NLRB frequently protects union boss’ power to the detriment of workers’ freedom,” Mix said.