Decertification Effort Underway

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press democratSEIU failed to deliver for its members, now an effort is underway to get rid of the union.

Ross Liberty owns a successful exhaust systems manufacturing plant that employs about 65 people and belongs to a conservative employers organization. He has created a website and hired an attorney to draft new bylaws and assist disgruntled county employees in navigating the process of decertifying one union and replacing it with a new, less-expensive employee association. The process requires gathering the signatures of 30 percent of about 700 employees. If the petition drive is successful, a vote of the membership would be held.

Liberty obtained a list of the employees’ email addresses from the county and invited the workers to a meeting about the proposal where he handed out petitions. About 50 people attended the meeting…

[County employee Louise Phillips] is among those employees who are unhappy with SEIU’s performance. The union was able to make slight improvements in their contract with the county last year but has been unable to convince the county to restore the 10 percent wage cut they took several years ago, Phillips said.

“The bottom line is, it isn’t happening,” she said.

Phillips said she also doesn’t like being associated with a national union she believes uses strong-arm tactics.

Liberty said he’s not trying to eliminate employees’ bargaining privileges; he just wants them to have a choice of representation. He said he’s been approached by multiple employees complaining about the current union. Others had approached the attorney Liberty hired, Matt Finnegan, a former Teamster representative, he said.

Phillips believes Liberty truly wants to help the employees.

“He’s a good person,” not a union buster, she said.

Employees have reason to complain about their current representation, Liberty said. Union negotiators have created an adversarial relationship between employees and county officials that is beneficial to neither, he said.

“I think that’s the nature of unions. They need to keep their members in a constant state of fear and loathing. That’s how they get the employees to part with their dues,” Liberty said.