Friday, 27 May 2016

Santa Rosa snippet

Before last year's AGM, National Express sent a report to shareholders attempting to rebut criticisms of the company made by two MPs in a report by the Trade Union Group of MPs. Notably this included a full-throated defence of the company's choice to refuse to accept the election result in Santa Rosa.

Here are a couple of extracts (my highlights):
  1. National Express has challenged the election process in Santa Rosa. The “technicality” referred to in the Trade Union Group’s report was the removal of the ballot box from the voting booth and it being taken outside to a car. We believe we have no other choice but to challenge the election process when we believe such a significant violation occurs... we believe such a fundamental breach of electoral practice cannot go un-challenged. 
Now compare that with what that US Court of Appeals said, some relevant extracts:
Petitioner’s second objection borders on frivolous... 
The Regional Director found that Petitioner [the company] did not allege that any unauthorized ballots were cast. Nor was there evidence that the Board Agent’s conduct in any way affected the election’s outcome. Petitioner does not dispute these findings...  
An objecting party is not entitled to a hearing merely by imagining fanciful acts of misconduct that find no support in the evidence. Rather, an objecting party must offer concrete evidence that is sufficient to give reasonable cause for concern and thus justify a hearing... In this case, Petitioner points to nothing in the record to support a claim that the Board Agent engaged in any conduct that might have tainted the election proceeding... 

So National Express told its shareholders that there had been a "significant violation" and "fundamental breach of electoral practice" in Santa Rosa. Yet the NLRB found and the Court of Appeals agreed that the company presented no evidence to show anything had happened to justify overturning the election. The company in turn did not challenge this (!) but argued that it should have been allowed a hearing anyway, because of what could have happened, even though it could not show anything did happen (because it didn't!).
And this farce has been defended by the board at the past two AGMs at least.

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