Fairfield, Calif. (February 22, 2005) - A local employee of Anheuser Busch has filed a fourth round of federal charges against a recalcitrant Teamsters union Local for again violating the terms of a settlement agreement by failing to provide an audited statement detailing how workers’ forced union dues are spent.
Catherine Anderson, a part-time employee at Anheuser Busch’s Fairfield facility, filed the unfair labor practice charges at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys. Teamsters union local 896 officials have repeatedly committed unfair labor practices and have reneged on settlement agreements.
Union officials recently provided workers with a financial “statement” consisting of pages 10-13 of a larger report on the union’s expenditures. These fragments are a “schedule” of expenses claiming an unsubstantiated 96.06% of union dues money was spent on “collective bargaining” costs. This “schedule” does not provide any financial disclosure to justify the affiliation fees with the Teamsters International union and two Teamsters International union councils. Teamsters officials also continue to claim that 100% of union staff salary and overhead costs are chargeable to nonmembers, even though the disclosure shows resources were spent on non-chargeable activities. Anderson’s complaint challenges both claims.
As a result of earlier federal charges filed by Anderson and a co-worker in July 2003, September 2004, and October 2004, Teamsters union local 896 officials settled the cases with a requirement that they properly inform workers of their right to refrain from financially supporting the union’s political and ideological causes. Teamsters officials had also agreed to cease illegal threats to have workers fired for refusal to pay excessive initiation fees and agreed to provide workers refraining from formal union membership “a precise and accurate statement” about the calculation of the forced union dues they could be legally compelled to pay.
“This Teamsters union hierarchy wants workers simply to shut up and pay up,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The repeated attempts by union officials to run roughshod over workers’ rights show the inevitable greed and corruption that flow from forced unionism.”
The actions of Teamsters union officials violated worker protections recognized in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Communications Workers v. Beck, a case argued and won by Foundation attorneys. Under the Beck ruling, workers may not be compelled to pay dues beyond the union’s proven collective bargaining costs, and they are entitled to an independent audit of union expenditures before any forced dues or fees are seized. Union officials also violated Penrod v. NLRB, which requires local union officials to provide financial disclosure for affiliated unions.