U.S. Chamber White Paper: NLRB Thwarts Decertification

Glenn Spencer Glenn Spencer
Senior Vice President, Employment Policy Division, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


December 08, 2023


The NLRB is tasked with ensuring that employees are able to freely exercise their rights under the NLRA to either join or refrain from joining a union. Under the Biden Administration, the current Board, however – controlled by a pro-labor majority – is increasingly focused on promoting unions and is diminishing or dismantling the tools workers may use to refrain from union representation. This includes workers who wish to no longer be represented by an existing union.

This report highlights the Board’s recent actions to thwart employees’ efforts to free themselves from union representation via decertification petitions. This has been enabled by the Board’s 2022 decision in Rieth-Riley Construction Co., Inc., where it bypassed the federal rulemaking process to create a new administrative rule.

As a result, Regional Directors are empowered to dismiss petitions, including employees’ decertification petitions, solely based on administrative investigations, which largely credit unproven union allegations designed to prevent decertification elections.

A prime example of Rieth-Riley’s detrimental impact to workers is exemplified in several cases related to Starbucks. After being disappointed by union representation, Starbucks workers throughout the country have filed decertification petitions to oust the Starbucks Workers United union. However, the Board is using Rieth-Riley to dismiss these petitions and, in doing so, endorsing Starbucks Workers United’s own unlawful tactics to delay collective bargaining. In dismissing these petitions, the Board is infringing upon Starbucks workers’ Section 7 rights to not be represented by a union, in direct contravention of the Act.

Read the full report

Timeline: Union Campaign to Organize Starbucks

U.S. Chamber White Paper: NLRB Thwarts Decertification

About the authors

Glenn Spencer

Glenn Spencer

Spencer oversees the Chamber’s work on immigration, retirement security, traditional labor relations, human trafficking, wage hour and worker safety issues, EEOC matters, and state labor and employment law.

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