First responders in Illinois trying to break free from unions

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Some paramedics and EMTs at the Galesburg Hospitals Ambulance Service in Galesburg, Illinois, are trying to assert their right to vote the Teamsters Local 627 out of power.

The group sent a petition to the National Labor Relations Board requesting a decertification vote, according to The Center Square.

“A lot of workers across the country are starting to exercise these decertification rights, and according to the National Labor Relations Board, last year unions only won about 20% of these elections,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, which is offering the group legal counsel free of charge.

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Chicago firefighters salute the ambulance arriving at the Medical Examiners office with the body of an off duty police officer shot and killed in Chicago on Saturday, March 23, 2019.

Chicago firefighters salute the ambulance arriving at the Medical Examiners office with the body of an off duty police officer shot and killed in Chicago on Saturday, March 23, 2019.
(Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service)

National Right to Work Foundation attorneys elsewhere in Illinois are also aiding Nick Salzmann and his fellow Village of Carpentersville part-time firefighters, who are attempting to decertify the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) affiliate in their workplace.

Salzmann and his coworkers are battling “blocking charges” that SEIU bosses filed against Village officials to delay the firefighters’ requested decertification election.

“Pretty standard operating procedure for the unions to try to block the election, and the longer they can block it, the longer they can collect forced dues,” said Mix. “If they can make the thing go on for two more years, they get two more years of dues revenue from these people.”

Chicago firefighters and police salute the ambulance carrying the body of Officer Samuel Jimenez outside of the Medical Examiners office at Leavitt and West Harrison streets in Chicago on Nov. 19, 2018.

Chicago firefighters and police salute the ambulance carrying the body of Officer Samuel Jimenez outside of the Medical Examiners office at Leavitt and West Harrison streets in Chicago on Nov. 19, 2018.
(Armando Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service)

Because Illinois is not a right-to-work state, private sector employees are allowed to choose whether to be members of a union.

“The paramedics and EMT’s, who provide lifesaving first aid to the citizens of Galesburg, should not have to be subjects of Teamsters union bosses whose so-called ‘representation’ they oppose,” Mix said.

Aerial shot of Chicago waterfront at sunrise

Aerial shot of Chicago waterfront at sunrise
(Howard Kingsnorth)

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Other workers who have voted to decertify Teamsters local unions in the past year include Rush University maintenance workers in Chicago, Frito-Lay salesmen in Del Rio, Texas, and Allied Central Coast truckers in Santa Maria, California.

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