22 Feb 2002

SPECIAL BULLETIN FOR NONMEMBERS WHO PAY AGENCY FEES TO THE MACHINISTS (IAM) UNION

Posted in News Releases

If you are a nonmember paying agency fees to the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union, you may be entitled to demand a refund if you have paid “reinstatement fees” to the union.

The story is this: Anthony Lutz is a customer service agent employed by United Air Lines. He works under a union contract negotiated by the IAM union, but is not a member of the union and pays only reduced agency fees. For three months in the fall of 2001, Mr. Lutz took an unpaid medical leave of absence from United. After he returned from his leave of absence, an IAM union official twice threatened him with discharge unless he paid a “reinstatement fee” of more than $100 to the union. One demand letter from the union official specifically noted that if Mr. Lutz had been a full member of the IAM, he would not have had to pay this “reinstatement fee” as a condition of employment, because the union would have issued “unemployment stamps” to him. (That would have exempted him from paying this “reinstatement fee.”) But, since he was not a union member, Mr. Lutz was told that he could not participate in the “benefit” of unemployment stamps, and therefore had to “pay up” or be fired.

When Mr. Lutz informed the union officials that his lawyers at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation were preparing to file a federal court lawsuit against the IAM union, an official of IAM’s “Capital Air Lodge 1759” suddenly retracted her “reinstatement fee” demand. The retraction effectively conceded that Mr. Lutz legally could not be charged the fee.

Did this or something similar happen to you” If you have paid such “reinstatement fees” to the Machinists union under similar circumstances in the past, or are being threatened with having to pay such fees, please contact us so we can discuss with you your legal rights.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation
8001 Braddock Rd.
Springfield, VA 22160
1-800-336-3600
legal@nrtw.org

14 Feb 2002

Appellate Panel To Decide If State Can Pass Judgment on Professors’ Religious Views

Posted in News Releases

San Francisco, Calif. (February 14, 2002) – This morning the United States Ninth Circuit Court hears arguments in the challenge to a new state law that passes judgment on professors’ religious beliefs when they object to supporting a union.

The court will decide if the professors may challenge a California statute that forces all California State University (CSU) professors to pay union dues unless they are a member of a state- approved religion. State and union officials are given the power to pass judgment on the acceptability of the religious beliefs of CSU employees. In the complaint, the professors challenge the “religious objector” language because it violates their freedom of association protected by the First Amendment.

National Right to Work Foundation attorneys filed the class-action suit, Baird et al. v. CFA, in February 2000 against the California Faculty Association (CFA) union on behalf of 14,000 CSU professors who object to having more than $8.5 million in forced dues seized from their paychecks under a new compulsory unionism law. If the court rules in the professors’ favor, the case will be remanded to the federal court in Sacramento.

“It is outrageous that union officials and state bureaucrats get to play God and decide which religions are approved and which are not,” said Stefan Gleason Vice President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “If someone has a sincere religious objection to supporting a union thought to be immoral, his or her rights should be respected.”

Pushed through to its passage by union lobbyists, California’s faculty forced-dues law requires that the 14,000 non-union professors must either quit their jobs or pay about $600 annually each to a union whose agenda they do not support.

“We hope the court will respect the First Amendment rights of California’s educators and overturn this offensive law,” stated Gleason.

The professors argue also that the new forced-unionism law discriminates against non-union higher education employees and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The complaint also explains how the law violates the First Amendment rights of university employees, as established by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Foundation-won case of Lehnert v. Ferris Faculty Association, by explicitly authorizing union officials to seize compulsory dues for lobbying activities. In Lehnert, the Court ruled unequivocally that the “State constitutionally may not compel its employees to subsidize legislative lobbying.”

11 Feb 2002

National Right to Work Joins Appeal to Ban Discriminatory Union-Only Contracting

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 11, 2002) — The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the Bush administration’s appeal of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia’s decision to strike down a pro-worker Executive Order. The President issued Executive Order 13202 to ban union-only contracts, or project labor agreements (PLAs), on federally funded construction projects.

In their “Friend of the Court” brief, filed jointly (pursuant to court rules) with Associated Builders and Contractors and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Foundation attorneys argue that President Bush acted within his constitutional authority by issuing the Executive Order banning union-only contracts.

“It is wrong for the federal government to support a scheme that bilks taxpayers out of millions of dollars and deprives employees of their basic right to choose whether or not to affiliate with a union,” said Foundation Vice President Stefan Gleason.

A PLA is a scheme which requires that all contractors, whether they are unionized or not, subject themselves and their employees to unionization in order to work on government-funded construction projects. PLAs usually require contractors to grant union officials monopoly bargaining privileges over all workers; use exclusive union hiring halls; force workers to pay dues as a condition of employment; and pay above-market prices resulting from wasteful work rules and featherbedding.

More than 80 percent of American contractors and their employees have refrained from unionization.

“PLAs are nothing more than a shakedown — union officials use them to demand taxpayer handouts and government-granted special privileges in exchange for not ordering strikes or causing other disruptions,” said Gleason.

Oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will be held on May 10, 2002.

7 Feb 2002

Union Must Refund $120,000 in Illegally Seized Union Dues Spent for Political Activities

Posted in News Releases

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (February 7, 2002) — Richard Ohse and 60 other employees of the Carlon Corporation have won their long-running case against the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB) Local D465. Mr. Ohse, with the help of National Right to Work Foundation attorneys, filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to reclaim dues that had been illegally collected by the union and used to support political activities.

As a result of the NLRB’s ruling, IBB Local D465 officials will have paid out a total of $120,000 in full refunds of illegally seized dues, plus interest, to the 61 employees who were the beneficiaries of the complaint.

Mr. Ohse, and the other employees of the Carlon Corporation, have had to wait more than a decade for this ruling. The charge was first filed in 1991, but it took several years to force the Clinton NLRB to act on the matter.

“After all of these prosecutorial delays and the union’s stonewalling, these employees have finally been made whole,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “No matter how long union officials hold out, they cannot ultimately deny workers their fundamental rights.”

The case arose after IBB officials violated the workers’ rights established by the U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck, a case that Foundation attorneys argued and won, workers who are not protected by a Right to Work law may resign from formal union memberships and halt and reclaim the portion of forced union dues spent on politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining.

Since Oklahoma only passed a Right to Work law on September 25, 2001, these employees were not protected from forced unionism. National Right to Work Foundation attorneys are also representing employees defending Oklahoma’s new Right to Work law from union attack.

7 Feb 2002

Marsellus Casket Employees Beat Corrupt Union In Unfair Labor Practices Case

Posted in News Releases

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (February 7, 2002) — Responding to pressure brought by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) forced the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 200 into a settlement of unfair labor practice charges brought by employees of the Marsellus Casket Company.

The case was filed by foundation attorneys for three company employees, Mark L. Miller, Scott Bayer, and David Sprague. The union had refused their resignations and forced them to continue to pay full union dues, including dues used for political, ideological, or other non-representational purposes.

SEIU Local 200 must refund the three employees’ dues and fees that were used for non-representational purposes. The settlement also forces the union to post a notice alerting workers and employees of the Marsellus Casket Company of their right to refrain from formal union membership and the payment of full union dues.

“The union has finally been forced to pay a price for its illegal practice of fleecing employees for political cash,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation.

As part of the settlement, SEIU officials must also notify objecting workers what percentage of their dues is being used to fund non-representational activities, including political activities. Under law, an employee may resign from formal union membership, pay a reduced fee, and further challenge the veracity of the union’s figures.

The case arose after SEIU officials violated the workers’ rights established by the U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck, a case that Foundation attorneys argued and won, workers may halt and reclaim forced union dues spent on politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining.

30 Jan 2002

Judge Allows Employees’ Intervention in Right to Work Case Over AFL-CIO Objections

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Muskogee, Okla. (January 30, 2002) – Despite formal objections from the Oklahoma AFL-CIO, Judge Frank H. Seay has allowed three Oklahoma workers to join Governor Keating in defending Oklahoma’s new Right to Work constitutional amendment. Formally admitted yesterday as “defendant intervenors,” the workers are receiving free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

The employees argue that, if the unions prevail in voiding the statewide ban on forced unionism, they will suffer direct financial harm as well as damage to their interests of free speech and free association.

“Big Labor fought the intervention of our clients because they are afraid to let the workers of Oklahoma speak for themselves. This ruling affirms that union bosses cannot muzzle workers,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “These employees deserve the right to speak out against the corruption and abuse created by compulsory unionism.”

The Oklahoma AFL-CIO, six local unions, and a heavily unionized company filed the suit last November in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma to overturn the will of Oklahoma’s voters, who enacted State Question 695 on September 25, 2001. The Right to Work constitutional amendment bans the widespread union practice of forcing workers to join an unwanted union or pay union dues as a condition of employment. Oklahoma is the newest of America’s 22 Right to Work states.

As “defendant intervenors,” the employees’ `can file briefs and Foundation attorneys can make arguments in court defending the employees’ financial and liberty interests at stake in the preservation of the Right to Work amendment. Meanwhile, Governor Keating’s primary legal responsibility is to protect the interest of the public at large in a law passed by electoral referendum.

The three employees are Kent Duvall of United Parcel Service, Michelle McKenzie of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, and Stephen Weese of Oklahoma Fixture Company.

Motions for summary judgment will be filed by the parties on or before January 31, 2002.

29 Jan 2002

Federal Investigators Ordered to Re-Open Barry Williams’ Case Against Actors Union

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 29, 2002) — Persuaded by National Right to Work attorneys, the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ordered its investigators to reconsider their dismissal of unfair labor practice charges filed by actor Barry Williams against the Actors Equity Association (AEA) union.

The former “Brady Bunch” star faces confiscatory union fines for exercising his right to work on a non-Equity production.

NLRB General Counsel Arthur Rosenfeld remanded the case back to the New York Regional Office because it dismissed Williams’ June 2001 charges without conducting an adequate investigation. Inexplicably, the New York NLRB investigators had refused to interview key witnesses and collect key evidence. Foundation attorneys argue that the $30,000 fine levied against Williams for exercising his right to work in a production that did not force employees to work under union contract is excessive and without justification, since Williams was not a voluntary member of the union.

“Because Barry Williams refused to bow to union demands, Actors Equity officials have targeted him with a smear campaign designed to damage his career,” said National Right to Work Foundation Vice President Stefan Gleason.

Equity officials had organized nationwide pickets of “The Sound of Music” in which union militants chanted, held up signs, and handed out fliers personally attacking Williams. In their latest attempt to publicly embarrass Williams, union officials are offering to slightly reduce the amount of their exorbitant fine if Williams apologizes for working in a non-Equity production of “The Sound of Music.” Williams says he should not have to issue an apology for exercising his rights.

“It is the union’s officers who should issue an apology — to Barry Williams for this vicious harassment,” charged Gleason.

Foundation attorneys are demanding that the NLRB’s New York Regional Director conduct a thorough investigation and issue a complaint to establish that Equity is attempting to fine someone who is not a voluntary union member, and that the fine levied against Williams was levied for post resignation conduct.

28 Jan 2002

Big Labor Formally Opposes Workers’ Legal Defense of Oklahoma’s Right to Work Law

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Muskogee, Okla. (January 28, 2002) – The Oklahoma AFL-CIO is attempting to prevent three Oklahoma workers from joining Governor Keating in defending Oklahoma’s new Right to Work constitutional amendment. The workers are receiving free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

The employees argue that, if the unions prevail in voiding the statewide ban on forced unionism, they will suffer direct financial harm as well as damage to their interests of free speech and free association.

“Big Labor opposes the intervention of our clients because they are afraid to let the workers of Oklahoma speak for themselves. They know that if given a chance most laborers will reject the shackles of forced unionism,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “These employees deserve the right to be free from the corruption and abuse created by compulsory unionism.”

The Oklahoma AFL-CIO, six local unions, and a heavily unionized company filed the suit last November in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma to overturn the will of Oklahoma voters in enacting State Question 695 on September 25, 2001. The Right to Work constitutional amendment bans the widespread union practice of forcing workers to join an unwanted union or pay any union dues as a condition of employment. Oklahoma is the newest of America’s 22 Right to Work states.

The employees had filed with the court as “defendant intervenors.” That would ensure that they can file briefs and make arguments in court defending their direct financial and liberty interests at stake in the preservation of the Right to Work amendment. Meanwhile, Governor Keating’s primary legal responsibility is to protect the interest of the public at large in a law passed by electoral referendum.

The three employees are Kent Duvall, an employee of United Parcel Service, Michelle McKenzie, an employee of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, and Stephen Weese, an employee of Oklahoma Fixture Company.

Motions for summary judgment will be filed by the parties on or before January 31, 2002.

22 Jan 2002

Unprecedented Union-Only Project Labor Agreement Hit With Lawsuit

Posted in News Releases

Des Moines, Iowa (January 22, 2002) — National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation announced its intention to file an Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) brief in support of Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) suit to stop the Polk County Board of Supervisors’ from imposing a union-only project labor agreement (PLA) on the construction of the Iowa Events Center.

“The first of its kind in Iowa, this PLA will be the model for similar agreements throughout Iowa unless it is overturned,” said National Right to Work Foundation Vice President Stefan Gleason. “Iowa’s sacred Right to Work is under attack by Big Labor. It is vital that this new compulsory unionism power grab is stopped in its tracks.”

A PLA is a collective bargaining agreement that contractors must become a party to as a condition of performing work on a government-funded construction project. They invariably require contractors to grant union officials monopoly bargaining privileges over their workers, use exclusive union hiring halls, and operate according to wasteful union work rules. A PLA’s undeniable function is to foist compulsory union representation onto the backs of employees of non-union contractors who choose the freedom to work without union involvement.

The National Right to Work Foundation attorneys intend to file their brief at the first appropriate time. In addition, they will offer research that shows how PLAs discriminate against workers, violate the spirit of Iowa’s Right to Work Law, and lines the pockets of Iowa’s union officials at the expense of taxpayers.

“Iowans are outraged that the Polk County Board of Supervisors is allowing union officials to use government contracts to harm workers who choose not to associate with unions,” said Gleason. “Work should be awarded on the basis of who is willing to do the best job at a reasonable price, not on whether they are willing to subject themselves to forced unionization.”

For more information on the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, please click here or contact us at 1-800-336-3600.

22 Jan 2002

Oklahoma Workers Join Court Battle to Defend Right to Work Law

Posted in News Releases

Muskogee, Okla. (January 22, 2002) – Enjoying free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, workers from three different Oklahoma companies have filed formally in federal court to join Governor Frank Keating in defending Oklahoma’s new Right to Work constitutional amendment against multi-union attack.

The employees argue that if the unions prevail in voiding the statewide ban on forced unionism they will suffer direct financial harm as well as damage to their interests of free speech and free association.

The Oklahoma AFL-CIO, six local unions, and a heavily unionized company filed the suit last November in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma to overturn the will of Oklahoma voters in enacting State Question 695 on September 25, 2001. The Right to Work constitutional amendment bans the widespread union practice of forcing workers to join an unwanted union or pay any union dues as a condition of employment. Oklahoma is the newest of America’s 22 Right to Work states.

“Despite the personal risks they face in publicly opposing the state’s most powerful union officials, these employees feel so strongly that they have decided to stand beside Governor Keating in federal court to face down this multi-union lawsuit,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “The Right to Work law is not just about economic growth and creation of high-paying jobs, it’s about protecting individual rights and reducing union corruption and abuse.”

The employees are filing with the court as “defendant intervenors” which will ensure that they can file briefs and make arguments in court to defend their direct financial and liberty interests at stake in the preservation of the Right to Work amendment. Meanwhile, Governor Keating’s primary legal responsibility is to protect the interest of the public at large in a law passed by electoral referendum.

The three employees are Kent Duvall, an employee of United Parcel Service, Michelle McKenzie, an employee of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, and Stephen Weese, an employee of Oklahoma Fixture Company.

Motions for summary judgment will be filed by the parties on or before January 31, 2002.