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Shipyard Techs Win Long Battle for Justice

Thu. February 02, 2012

After a long fight for justice, 220 tenacious Radiological Control Monitors Techs (RCTs) at the Newport News, VA shipyard celebrated winning IAM representation after voting for the IAM back in 2009. After the vote, but before the ballots were counted, the National Labor Relations Board stopped the election to consider a request by the employer, Northrup Grumman, to include more workers in the voting unit. Because of underfunding and politically inspired delays to understaff the NLRB, the decision on the case took more than two years. The NLRB finally ruled the original voting unit was correct and proceeded to count the ballots and the workers won IAM representation.

“It’s a travesty that these employees had to wait so long time to have a say on the job concerning their working conditions, benefits and wages,” said Southern Territory Organizing Leader Tommy Mayfield. “It shows how underfunded the NLRB is and what can happen when there is not a full Board to make legal decisions.”

The election voting unit should have been a simple matter. RCT’s monitor for radiation and keep control of the areas around nuclear reactors on U.S. Navy ships. They do no other jobs and no one else does their job, so determining the “community of interest” for representation voting should have been a simple matter. But Northrup Grumman wanted to include another 2,700 Tech employees who did everything from Q/A to Drafters who didn’t even know who the RCT’s were. NLRB Board had to hold hearings to ensure that the correct unit was voting and the process took more than two years.

“I’m proud of the folks involved in our campaign, including Aaron Lawrence, John Poster, J.D. Adams and Mike Taylor,” said brother Mayfield. “They worked long and hard, and held strong as we waited for simply counting the votes they cast.”

“This shows how important the National Labor Relations Board is to uphold the rights of the workers,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “The NLRB does important work, and it’s vital that the NLRB is adequately funded and positions are filled to make sure delays don’t happen. We must beat back the unfair attacks upon this important agency. Justice delayed is justice denied.”

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