Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Vindication: NLRB rules IATSE & Actors Equity Lost the Joust

vin·di·cate – verb (used with object), -cat·ed, -cat·ing.

  1. to clear, as from an accusation, imputation, suspicion, or the like: to vindicate someone's honor.
  2. to afford justification for; justify: Subsequent events vindicated his policy.
  3. to uphold or justify by argument or evidence: to vindicate a claim.
  4. to assert, maintain, or defend (a right, cause, etc.) against opposition.
  5. to claim for oneself or another.

We hate unfinished business. Unfinished business is a distraction that we seldom have time for. Well, this week some unfinished business is finally finished. A kingdom restored, a castle secure for the time being.

Since we were raised in, come from and are accustomed to encountering today's labor unions (which seem to be more prone than ever to lie, manipulate the truth, and replace reality with fantasy), to us, this saga is filled with more than its share of treachery, deceit, double agents and ignoble characters.

In the early fall of 2006, an NLRB election was held at a client that has knights and squires and swords and shields and kings and princesses and wizards and serfs and wenches and horses and other asundry things medieval. In the aftermath, wherein the Actors' Equity Association and IATSE (serving as joint petitioners) narrowly lost, the unions accused us of doing all sorts of sordid things to sway the votes of employees.

As we prefer to avoid fantasy and deal in the truth and facts, and having been involved in a few hundred election campaigns against bigger and more respected unions, it was interesting (to say the least) to hear the fantastical and preposterous things that the petitioners accused us of committing.

The unions filed a number of objections to the election and, in order to clear our names, reputation, as well as defend our client, we were required to testify at an NLRB hearing before a board agent who was nothing more than a dolt (at best).

[In fact, and as a side note, an attorney friend had said before the hearing that the board agent in question had "never met a union he didn't like." So we knew going in that objectivity was not on our side.]

Well, the hearing resulted in the board agent dismissing most of the objections, but sustaining one and, therefore, he ordered the election to be set aside.

What was the one thing the board agent stated that yours truly did? Allegedly, yours truly stated the company "would" drag out negotiations for more than a year and, therefore, created the impression that it would be futile for the employees to select the union as their bargaining agent.

Of course, it was bulls**t.

The meeting in question was a participatory exercise conducted, quite literally, thousands of times with workers to explain the language subjects that are part of a collective bargaining agreement. As part of the exercise, language articles such as union security clauses, dues check off, management rights and a host of other language articles are discussed and explained.

What's more, the discussion itself (involving a hypothetical employer, union an group of employees) culminates in an agreement before a year. This alone would seemingly negate the unions' assertions. However, not in the eyes of the union-friendly dolt of a board agent, as the illogic of the unions' claim was apparently way over his head.

[What was even more interesting is that the unions' witnesses could not even recall the definitions of the above-referenced topics that were explained to them a mere month and a half earlier--only that they were told the company "would drag out negotiations for more than a year."]

As stated above, the dolt ruled against us. So, the client's counsel rightly filed an exception (an appeal) to the dolt's decision to the NLRB in Washington, rather than give in to the subjectivity of a wrongly decided determination.

As was their right, the petitioners' counsel filed a brief to our client's exceptions.

Upon our reading the petitioners' Brief in Opposition the Employer's Exceptions... we were aghast at what we felt was a furtherance of pure fantasy, which prompted us to write a letter to the petitioners' counsel.

[Apparently, our letter struck a nerve, for we heard that the petitioners' counsel squealed like a pig.]

In the months that followed, it was often asked, when will there be resolution to this?

Patience, was our advice. The wheels of justice are sometime slow, we stated.

However, we too were beginning to wonder just how long it would take for the NLRB in Washington to issue its decision and rid us of this unfinished business.

Well, this past Tuesday, we received notification that the NLRB issued its decision, overruling the dolt of a board agent and finally certifying the election.

As reported in the Daily Labor Report, even dissenting NLRB member Dennis Walsh stated that yours truly "is an experienced antiunion consultant..."

[A back-handed compliment from a pro-union Board member?]

Walsh observed that "List said nothing to indicate that [the employer] would eschew the bargaining approach he laid out." [Emphasis added.]

That's what we've been saying for nearly a year!

Oh well. At last, we are vindicated. It is finished.

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