Harrisburg, PA – Today, Citizens to Protect PA Jobs, a broad-based coalition of businesses and concerned Pennsylvanians, released the following statement in advance of a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hearing on Friday, April 2 concerning whether secretaries, clerks and administrators of local union District 1199C will be part of a collective bargaining unit. The hearing is being held because their employer, Henry Nicholas, refused to accept or recognize signed petition cards from the workers despite his support for the proposed Employee "Forced" Choice Act:
"April Fool’s Day seems like a perfect day to celebrate the outright comical and hypocritical actions of Henry Nicholas and the predicament that has befallen union bosses associated with District 1199C. While national labor heads like Andy Stern, Richard Trumka and Gerald McEntee seek to ram forced unionization down the throats of American workers, their own local bosses want nothing to do with a central aspect of the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act, namely the "card check" provision. If there ever was a lesson to be learned about just how foolish EFCA would be, this is certainly it. Big Labor supports legislation that would effectively eliminate the private ballot and empower government arbitrators to mandate contract terms on small businesses. Yet, local labor bosses who voice support for the harmful legislation reject its implementation for their own organizations. Henry Nicholas and other union bosses would be wise to forgo activity on their forced unionization agenda or risk making fools of themselves not just on April 1, but every day of the year."
A recent Philadelphia Inquirer article about the issue is available here and printed below.
AFSCME Workers To Vote On Union Representation
Jane M. Von Bergen & Thomas Fitzgerald
March 3, 2010
The Philadelphia Inquirer
In about a month, 20 secretaries, clerks, and administrators – all employees of one of the city’s most storied unions – will participate in a National Labor Relations Board election to decide whether they want to be represented by a union themselves.
Ironically, their employer, longtime labor leader Henry Nicholas, declined to recognize the bargaining unit when he was presented with signed petition cards from a majority of the workers.
Nicholas is a staunch supporter of a proposed federal law known as "card check," which would allow unions to organize workplaces without a separate election if a majority of workers sign cards requesting representation.
The Labor Relations Board has scheduled an April 2 election for the employees of District 1199C of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
Organizer John Hundzynski said "all the employees" in the office signed cards, declining to comment further. Hundzynski is a union organizer for District 1199C, usually trying to sign up nurses and other health-care workers. The Philadelphia union has 11,000 members, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Before Hundzynski asked Nicholas to recognize the union based on the signed cards, Hundzynski "had already asked for an election," said Nicholas, who heads District 1199C.
"I’m not going to campaign against him. I’m not going to give out handbills. I’m not going to hold meetings," Nicholas said. "If he wins, I’m ready to bargain expeditiously."
Nicholas said the two disagreed Friday over whether the union’s bookkeeper should be included in the proposed bargaining unit.
When Hundzynski lost that battle, Nicholas said, he countered by proposing the card-check provision and threatened to go public if Nicholas did not agree.
Hundzynski is not trying to affiliate District 1199C’s staff with a major national union. Instead, he sought the election on behalf of a newly created local – United Staff Union Local 1319 (the Locust Street address of District 1199C).
District 1199C is part of AFSCME’s National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, which Nicholas also heads. Nicholas said the staffs of some of the other national union locals were unionized.