Southern California Painters Vote to Dump Union

Southern California Painters Vote to Dump Union

Last week, employees for a Southern California painting company rid themselves of their trade union, which they accused of serving them poorly by “losing work, health and vacation benefits.” 

According to OC Weekly, 59 employees at GPS Painting and Wellcovering in Santa Ana, California voted to leave the union in February via secret ballot when their union, Painters and Allied Trades District Council 36, forced them to miss work-related activities, such as apprenticeship training, to volunteer for Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) campaign by staffing phone banks. 

The union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board after GPS Painting and Wellcovering withdrew recognition of the union, alleging the company was behind the decertification effort. Union leaders even picketed the house of the Eliot Schneider, the owner of the company. Schneider’s house was picketed so repeatedly that his city council had to pass an ordinance requiring picketers to stay at least 200 feet away from private residences. 

After the National Labor Relations Board requested the union to be reinstated, GPS Painting and Wellcovering employees filed a motion and proved the company was not behind the decertification effort. After that, the employees were freed from the union.  

National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund gave the union workers free legal help, and Anthony Riedel, a spokesman for National Right to Work, said  the union “a strong-arm campaign” to “keep workers from voting against union representation.”

Mark Mix, president of National Right to Work’s Legal Defense Foundation, said “Council 36 union officials threatened to get workers fired, harassed and spied on workers on the job, picketed the company and attempted to get the company’s license revoked to prevent the painters from getting any work.

“By sticking together, this group of painters managed to free themselves from union affiliation despite the Obama Labor Board’s concerted effort to foist the union bosses’ ‘representation’ on them,” Mix said. “This case highlights the biases of federal labor law and the NLRB process which elevates union bosses to the status of kings and relegates workers to the status of pawns.”

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