MERS Goodwill stalls Local 655 recognition with charges against the NLRB


Uses Giuliani-like argument: they couldn’t ‘see’ all votes being counted

In what can only be described as a bizarre turn of events, MERS Goodwill has filed an objection against the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for the manner in which the NLRB conducted an election where UFCW Local 655 won a second vote at the company’s Festus store.

Note this is not a protest against Local 655, but against the NLRB itself.

By a 59 percent margin, Goodwill employees voted on Jan. 11 to reject a decertification election supported by management after the employees voted in 2019 to join Local 655. The company stalled first contract talks for over a year in order to allow for the decertification election, which it lost in the Jan. 11 vote.

And now, in what can only be described as a Trumpesque effort where the ex-president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani lost efforts in over 50 courts to overturn the Biden election, Goodwill is trying the same tactic — not against Local 655, but the NLRB — on the basis that their lawyers couldn’t always “see” all of the ballot counting process. Sound familiar?

The suit alleges that the acting NLRB regional director improperly ordered a mail-in ballot vote instead of in-person voting, alleging that his reasoning to avoid pandemic issues of in-person large group gatherings was improper.

The vote counting was then done via video conference, and Goodwill charges that its officers could not visually see the ballots being opened and counted all the time and that four eligible employees did not get their ballots even though the NLRB mailed them twice after being notified by the employees of not getting their ballot.

In the filing, one employee said he did not vote because “his dog ate his ballot.”

“I’ve never heard of an implication being made that the NLRB itself would alter an election to favor one side or the other,” said Local 655 President David Cook. “This has to go down in the annuals of the outrageous. With Goodwill saying its reps didn’t ‘see’ all the counting is implying that the NLRB did it intentionally so they could alter votes. What utter nonsense!”

“This is little more than another stalling tactic to keep the employees from having the rights they deserve on the job,” added Local 655 Secretary-Treasurer Garry Torpea. “To imply that the impartial Labor Board would change ballots to impact an election outcome is as ludicrous as it gets.”

The hearing on Goodwill’s charges was scheduled for this past Tuesday, Feb. 2, after the Labor Tribune went to press on Feb. 1. No immediate decision is expected as the NLRB weighs all the issues in detail.

Noting that after the election was declared for Local 655, Goodwill management went to the four employees asking them why they didn’t vote.

“There’s no doubt that this was intimidation and they had to come up with some answer, although they were in their rights to not vote if they didn’t want to,” said Director of Organizing Billy Myers. “It’s clear the NLRB made an effort, several times, to get ballots to those reporting not receiving them.”





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