PHOENIX (CN) – The National Labor Relations Board sued Arizona, claiming a constitutional amendment voters approved in November violates the National Labor Relations Act and the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution “because it prohibits alternative routes to union representation that are authorized and protected by the NLRA.”
Arizona voters approved the amendment on Nov. 2, 2010. Called the “Right to secret ballot; employee representation,” it states which states, “The right to vote by secret ballot for employee representation is fundamental and shall be guaranteed where local, state or federal law permits or requires elections, designations or authorizations for employee representation.”
The NLRB says the National Labor Relations Act allows but does not require secret ballot elections “for the designation, selection, or authorization of a collective bargaining representative where, for example, employees successfully petition their employer to voluntarily recognize their designated representative on the basis of reliable evidence of majority support … or where a construction union seeks recognition from a construction employer.”
The National Labor Relations Act states: “Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all such activities.”
Since Arizona’s constitutional amendment calls a secret ballot election “guaranteed” wherever federal law “permits or requires elections,” it “requires elections where federal law does not and thereby deprives private sector employees of their right to pursue the other options … to designate, select, or authorize representatives of their own choosing and to secure their employers’ voluntary recognition of such representatives,” the NLRB says.
It seeks declaratory judgment. The NLRB said on its website that it plans to file a lawsuit against South Dakota over a similar constitutional amendment.
The National Labor Relations Board is represented by its staff attorneys Eric Moskowitz and Abby Propis Simms.