Union authorization cards
December 6, 2016 5:30 AM   Subscribe

I am a government employee in New York City. I signed a union authorization card but would like to revoke this card. Is this possible, and if so, how do I do so?

Please refrain from discussing the decision itself/joining a union. I don't wish to provide any more details than below for confidentiality's sake, but please be assured I have given it a lot of personal thought and consideration.

Relevant details: there is a union drive going on by the Transport Workers Union and the Organization of Staff Analysts in New York City at MaBSTOA (the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority, part of MTA), of which I am an employee.

I signed a card with the OSA and now wish to revoke it, if possible.

To be clear, I am aware that union representation only occurs after a union election. I would just like to know if it is possible to un-sign/revoke this card, and what steps to take if necessary. (In particular, should I inform my employer?)
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Go ask the union. Don't talk to your boss about it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:10 AM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

My knowledge of union organizing in New York is second hand (and first hand in Minnesota), but much of the process is federal, and my understanding is that the union authorization card is only stating your support of the election being held and is not a statement of how you will vote in said election*, nor that you will become a member of the union.

If you're invested in stopping the election (and not just interested in not joining the union, should it be certified), there are all sorts of anti-unionisation websites telling you to demand it back from the OSA. But some of them suggest they're not obliged to give the card back and, further, that the NLRB doesn't care that you asked for it back. Your boss/employer is 100% not interested and, if they're scrupulous about your right to unionise (as if), really ought to stop you from even telling them.

*However, the OSA will assume that because you signed a card, you're a likely 'yes' vote and will canvass you as a result. If they're organized (big if), they'll stop if you tell them you're voting no.
posted by hoyland at 6:25 AM on December 6, 2016

Mod note: A couple deleted. As OP specifies, "Please refrain from discussing the decision itself ... I would just like to know if it is possible to un-sign/revoke this card, and what steps to take if necessary," so let's stick to that, please. Thanks.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:42 AM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes, in general. You can revoke your decision; you need to talk to your union rep.

Some closed-shop jobs require that you join the union to be employed. It's more common than you'd think. There may also be a situation where you have to pay dues even if you decline representation; we can't answer this question for you because we don't know the details of your union agreement or position.
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:33 AM on December 6, 2016

You can contact either the union or the employer and give them a signed letter saying that you revoke your authorization card/signature. There should be an employee from the union assigned to organizing your workplace who can help you with this. Or, your employer can help you; you'll need to evaluate whether there's risk in identifying yourself as someone who had previously signed a union authorization card. They just need to know not to count your card when tallying whether they've reached 50%+1 signed cards triggering an election. Since it sounds like there are two unions competing for representation there should be an election and voluntary recognition by card check is unlikely (unless one union drops out).

Sidenote: I believe the organizing actions should be under the Taylor Law/PERB in NY and not the NLRA/NLRB because this is a public employer.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:01 AM on December 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

If your management is opposing the unionization effort and you talk to them about this, they are likely to try to recruit you into their anti-unionization efforts, which I imagine is not a position you want to find yourself in.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:18 AM on December 6, 2016

I work with you! 2 broadway represent.

Write the OSA and tell them you wish to revoke the card. They will most likely try to convince you not to. Tell them you're being promoted to manager very soon and will no longer be eligible for the union. That's how I got them to stop calling me.
posted by millipede at 8:30 AM on December 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

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