What is involved in de-unionizing a workplace?

Having an organized union removed from a workplace is not an easy task, but it is possible as long as the employees take the correct legal steps. The first thing to note, however, is that employers cannot force a group of union workers to de-unionize, and that workers who do wish to de-unionize do not need to ask their employers. In fact, if an employer assists in any way with removing the union from the workplace, the union has grounds to fight the removal and will most likely win because the employer helped.  

Employees who wish to de-unionize a workplace should begin by contacting a representative of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and petitioning the representative to conduct an employee ballot. Those wishing to de-unionize must obtain at least a 30 percent employee vote in the petitioning in order for the labor board to hold a secret ballot. This practice is typically met with some resistance from the union, but if the petition holds, the workers will get their vote.  

Employees may also instruct (not ask) the employer to withdraw the business’ recognition of the contract between the union and the employer. This is done by petitioning the employer with a signed request stating that the majority (at least 51%, or 50% +1 person) of the employees no longer wish to be represented by the union that is in place.

In either case, the union will typically resist by citing unfair practices, and may make claims that the employer assisted the employees in the attempt to remove the union. If the union is able to prove this, the contract will stand and the union will not be removed.