Back in 2010, the CNA’s, Restorative Aides, Activity Aides and Maintenance employees from Ashland Nursing and Rehabilitation Center took their first step towards a fair and equal workplace. The workers met with the Virginia State NAACP officials about their concerns surrounding discrimination in their workplace. After the meeting, the NAACP contacted UFCW Local 400 and the workers at the Center began organizing for union representation.  In November 2010, the majority of the unit voted “Union YES” for the UFCW Local 400 to represent them for the purposes of collective bargaining.

Instead of bargaining in good faith with the workers and Local 400, the Company filed legal objections to the election.  The Company’s objections focused on the NAACP’s endorsement of Union representation and the fact that workers raised concerns about discriminatory working conditions. The National Labor Relations Board rejected the Company’s objections and upheld the election.  The Company then appealed the Board’s decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

On Friday, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Ashland workers and upheld their Union YES! vote. Some highlights of the decision are:

1.    The workers at Ashland Nursing and Rehabilitation Center get the union they voted for and deserve;

2.    The Court held that the NAACP is Local 400’s ally, not Local 400’s agent or under Local 400’s control–a ruling that will ensure Local 400 will be able to continue work with its community allies in future organizing campaigns; and

3.    The Court ruled that it is acceptable and lawful for the Union and the NAACP to raise issues of discrimination during organizing campaigns. The Court held that these are  “legitimate concerns” of workers during an organizing campaign.

“We have come to the conclusion that these spurious complaints from the Company were to delay the bargaining process with us and the workers, and I believe the Court’s complete rejection of the Company’s arguments confirm that view,” said Mark Federici, Local 400 Secretary-Treasurer. “It’s time to bring the focus back to where it matters most, the hard working Ashland workers, who want and deserve justice on the job.”