13 Mar 2017

Foundation-Backed Worker Joins Battle to Defend West Virginia Right to Work Law

Posted by in Newsletter Articles

Check out this article from the January/February 2017 newsletter. To read the full newsletter and to sign up for your free copy, please click here.

Greenbrier employee files Motion to Intervene to oppose forced unionism

Since its establishment in 1968, one of the most critical missions of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has been defending state Right to Work laws from the never ending Big Labor legal attacks. Inevitably, soon after a new Right to Work law is passed union officials sue with the intent of overturning, or at least delaying the worker freedom protections offered by Right to Work.

West Virginia, which passed the nation’s 26th Right to Work law in early 2016, is no exception. Even before the law took full effect, union lawyers for the AFL-CIO and a coalition of other unions initiated a challenge to the law in state court.

In early December, Foundation staff attorneys moved to intervene in the case on behalf of Reginald Gibbs, asking the circuit court that Gibbs be made a party to the case so he can defend his rights under the Right to Work law. In his motion, Gibbs adopts the arguments made in two amicus briefs filed by the National Right to Work Foundation, arguing why the court should reject Big Labor’s attempt to overturn or delay the law.

Reginald Gibbs is a slot machine technician at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. As an employee of the Greenbrier, Gibbs is currently under a monopoly bargaining contract with a union forced dues clause, requiring him to pay dues or fees to the union or be fired.

The motion to intervene argues that if the law is overturned or blocked by a judicial order, Gibbs would continue to be forced to continue to pay dues and fees, despite his objections. Although the State of West Virginia is already defending the law in the case, the motion notes that Gibbs has special interests in defending his Right to Work as an employee affected by the law, which is distinct from the interests of the state whose duty is to defend the constitutionality of the law.

“Like clockwork, instead of accepting the decades of precedent upholding Right to Work protections, union officials are once again spending forced dues to attack worker freedom of choice in court,” said Ray LaJeunesse, Vice President and Legal Director for the Foundation. “We’re proud to offer assistance to Mr. Gibbs in defending the legal protections he stands to gain from West Virginia’s popular new Right to Work law.”

Gibbs further argues in his motion that as a worker currently employed under a compulsory unionism agreement, he will suffer direct harm if the law is overturned. The court will be considering the motion with the next hearing scheduled for early 2017.

West Virginia is not the only state where Foundation staff attorneys have responded to union boss legal attacks on Right to Work. Foundation staff attorneys have also filed briefs in similar cases in Federal Court in Idaho and Wisconsin, as well as in a Wisconsin State Court.

With the possibility of new Right to Work laws in Kentucky, Missouri and New Hampshire in 2017, the Foundation stands ready in 2017 to defend worker freedom in those states from the inevitable attacks by Big Labor operatives.

6 Mar 2017

Foundation Expands Outreach to Charter School Teachers

Posted by in Newsletter Articles

Check out this article from the January/February 2017 newsletter. To read the full newsletter and to sign up for your free copy, please click here.

Charter school employees increasingly are targets for forced unionization

Springfield, VA– The National Right to Work Foundation is stepping up its efforts to inform charter school teachers and other employees of the legal rights they have to refrain from compulsory unionism. As part of the effort, Foundation staff attorneys attended charter school conferences in Ohio and Louisiana in December.

Sending Foundation attorneys to these charter school conferences is part of a growing initiative of the Foundation’s legal information program to ensure charter school employees are fully aware of their rights and are able to make an informed decision in regards to unionization. In 2016 Foundation staff attorneys attended half a dozen conferences across the country to promote the Foundation’s legal aid program for charter school employees.

Union bosses have historically been steadfastly opposed to the existence of charter schools because they see them as a threat to their monopoly over students and teachers. However, as charter schools continue to expand across the country and grow in popularity, teacher union organizers have been increasingly targeting charter school employees as new sources of forced dues to fill their depleting coffers.

Foundation Aids Charter Teachers in Removing Unwanted Union

Foundation staff attorneys recently assisted charter school employees in New York State in arranging a decertification election to decertify a union the employees did not want. Even after a majority voted to decertify the union, union bosses appealed to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in a desperate attempt to keep the employees in their forced dues grasp. Foundation staff attorneys stood by the employees every step of the way and successfully convinced the NLRB to deny the appeal.

“Teachers and students alike are flocking to charter schools in part because they are largely free of the teacher union monopoly that puts union boss power ahead of what is best for teachers, students and their communities,” National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix commented. “Sending Foundation staff attorneys to these conferences in addition to assisting individual employees is a crucial part of our charter school initiative to ensure charter school employees are able to make informed decisions about union representation in an atmosphere free from union boss threats, harassment, coercion, or misrepresentation.”

3 Mar 2017

Postal Union Bosses Forced to Return $1.1 Million Stolen from Rank-and-File

Posted by in Newsletter Articles

Check out this article from the January/February 2017 newsletter. To read the full newsletter and to sign up for your free copy, please click here.

Union officials outrageously claimed legal right to take additional $7.5 million

Washington, D.C. – In the culmination of a two year long fight, US Postal Service workers receiving free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation have won their battle with the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), forcing the union officials to disgorge over one million dollars taken by the union from money intended for the workers.

Workers File Federal Charges to Challenge Union Boss Money Grab

In December 2014, over seven thousand USPS workers were awarded a lump payment of back wages as part of an arbitration award. To the workers this was a windfall victory, but to the officials at the APWU, this was an opportunity to pad union coffers. Steven Raymer, an APWU national director involved with the arbitration, colluded with the Postal service to divert over one million dollars from the total award of 8.64 million dollars into the coffers of the APWU.

In April 2016, two postal workers, Louis Mazurek and Scott Fontaine became aware of the award and filed separate NLRB charges against the APWU in NLRB Region 5.

In an affidavit filed with the NLRB during the proceedings, union official Raymer went to some length to attempt to justify his decision to divert that sum from the money intended for the very workers he claimed to “represent.”

Raymer even admitted that he had considered taking more of the funds away from the workers. “I had thought briefly about keeping the entire amount…I think I would have been justified in keeping it all…” His testimony showed that his concern was not for the workers the APWU claimed to represent, and that had he thought he could get away with it, he would have diverted more money away from the workers.

“This battle just emphasizes the disconnect between the workers, and union brass,” said Mark Mix, President of the Foundation. “Sadly, the only reason that these workers saw any money at all was fear of getting caught, not genuine concern and care for the workers.”

As the case proceeded Fontaine and Mazurek approached the Foundation because they were concerned with what would happen to their case in the NLRB. Foundation staff attorneys assisted them in the hearings that were scheduled between the NLRB and union lawyers. A full hearing before an administrative law judge was scheduled for early November.

APWU Officials Forced to Disgorge $1.1 Million in NLRB Settlement

Less than 24 hours before the hearing, the NLRB came to the rescue of the union officials and issued a settlement in the case sparing union officials’ another round of embarrassing testimony about their sellout of the rank-and-file.

Under the terms of the settlement, the APWU must disgorge the full 1.1 million dollars that it stole from the workers. 70% is ordered to be paid out immediately to workers with each of the approximately 7,200 employees eligible to receive a pro rata share of $770,804.58.

The remaining 30% of the stolen money, $330,326.70, will be placed in a separate escrow account under the direct supervision of the NLRB Regional director for the next three years. Any funds remaining at the end of this three year period will be divided evenly among the workers who received payments as part of the settlement.

“This is an unprecedented victory for union employees. Never before has a union been caught so dramatically taking this large a sum, and then being forced to return the money to its rightful owners,” said Mix. “The workers are fortunate that they were able to take advantage of the free legal aid offered by the Foundation, else they might not have seen any of this money ever again.”

27 Feb 2017

Homecare Providers Coast to Coast Challenge Force Unionism Schemes

Check out this article from the January/February 2017 newsletter. To read the full newsletter and to sign up for your free copy, please click here.

Numerous Foundation cases seek to enforce and build on landmark Harris Supreme Court victory

Washington, DC – In 2014, Foundation staff attorneys argued the case Harris v. Quinn before the US Supreme Court, which chose to strike down the SEIU’s illegal forced dues scheme in Illinois. The opinion of the court stated that individuals who receive state subsidies based on their clientele cannot be forced to pay compulsory union fees.

While the Supreme Court’s decision was clear, unsurprisingly union officials have not willing complied with the precedent. This has impacted the rights of homecare and childcare providers in dozens of states. In order to force unions to comply with the law, a number of cases are being litigated by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys on behalf of providers across the nation, including in Oregon, Washington, New York and Illinois.

Pacific Northwest Providers Challenge Union Schemes

Coordinating with the Freedom Foundation, Foundation staff attorneys recently filed suit in the federal courts of Oregon and Washington for homecare providers who are being forced to pay dues to the SEIU in defiance of the Harris decision.

In these cases, the respective SEIU local officials have refused to honor resignations from the union and have continued illegally deducting full union dues and fees from nonmember workers. The workers have named the union officials as defendants, as well as the states of Oregon and Washington due to government’s seizure of money on the union’s behalf from homecare providers, many of whom are family members voluntarily taking care of sick or disabled relations.

Among other rights violations, union bosses have deliberately obfuscated the resignation process in an effort to coerce more dues money out of homecare workers. Workers seeking to leave the union are being told that they can only resign during an arbitrary two week period that union officials seek to keep from the workers as a means of trapping them into paying dues for another year.

In both cases, the providers and their Foundation staff attorneys seek to reaffirm that providers have the right to cut off dues payment to the union at any time.

New York Childcare Ask Supreme Court to Review ‘Forced Representation’

After the Harris ruling struck down the Illinois scheme, Foundation attorneys have been applying that precedent to many similar cases. One of these cases is working its way through the courts on the opposite side of the country in New York. In 2007, disgraced former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer signed an executive order that named the Civil Service Employees Association Union as the monopoly bargaining power for thousands of childcare providers outside New York City.

Mary Jarvis, a NY home-based childcare provider, with the assistance of Foundation attorneys is challenging this illegal scheme in NY courts. Jarvis and her fellow plaintiffs are currently seeking a writ of certiorari, petition filed in early December 2016, to bring Jarvis v. CSEA before the US Supreme Court, arguing that forced unionism violates their first amendment rights of association.

Also in December, Foundation attorneys argued a similar case (Hill v. SEIU) before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Illinois. The lower court ruled that the state had the right to assign a monopoly bargaining representative to this class of worker, without any input or vote by these providers. Foundation staff attorneys argue that this arbitrary assignment of a “bargaining representative” to handle interactions between the government and the workers is unconstitutional. Under the First Amendment, citizens have the right to petition the government directly for the redress of grievances, and Foundation staff attorneys argue those protections are violated when the government imposes an unwanted representative to speak to the government on their behalf.

“Citizens have the power to select their political representation in government, not the other way around,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “These schemes, which forced home-based childcare providers, even grandmothers taking care of their grandchildren, into paying forced dues to union bosses are a slap in the face of the fundamental American principles we hold dear.”

8 Feb 2017

Postal Union Bosses Forced to Return $1.1 Million Stolen from Rank-and-File

Posted by in Blog, Newsletter Articles

Union officials outrageously claimed legal right to take additional $7.5 million


This story was published in the January/February issue of Foundation Action. To read this issue or other previous issues please click here. To sign up for your free copy of the newsletter via mail please see the form at the bottom of the page.

Washington, D.C. – In the culmination of a two year long fight, US Postal Service workers receiving free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation have won their battle with the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), forcing the union officials to disgorge over one million dollars taken by the union from money intended for the workers.

In December 2014, over seven thousand USPS workers were awarded a lump payment of back wages as part of an arbitration award. To the workers this was a windfall victory, but to the officials at the APWU, this was an opportunity to pad union coffers. Steven Raymer, an APWU national director involved with the arbitration, colluded with the Postal service to divert over one million dollars from the total award of 8.64 million dollars into the coffers of the APWU.

In April 2016, two postal workers, Louis Mazurek and Scott Fontaine became aware of the award and filed separate NLRB charges against the APWU in NLRB Region 5.

In an affidavit filed with the NLRB during the proceedings, union official Raymer went to some length to attempt to justify his decision to divert that sum from the money intended for the very workers he claimed to “represent.”

Raymer even admitted that he had considered taking more of the funds away from the workers. “I had thought briefly about keeping the entire amount…I think I would have been justified in keeping it all…” His testimony showed that his concern was not for the workers the APWU claimed to represent, and that had he thought he could get away with it, he would have diverted more money away from the workers.

“This battle just emphasizes the disconnect between the workers, and union brass,” said Mark Mix, President of the Foundation. “Sadly, the only reason that these workers saw any money at all was fear of getting caught, not genuine concern and care for the workers.”

As the case proceeded Fontaine and Mazurek approached the Foundation because they were concerned with what would happen to their case in the NLRB. Foundation staff attorneys assisted them in the hearings that were scheduled between the NLRB and union lawyers. A full hearing before an administrative law judge was scheduled for early November.

Less than 24 hours before the hearing, the NLRB came to the rescue of the union officials and issued a settlement in the case sparing union officials’ another round of embarrassing testimony about their sellout of the rank-and-file.

Under the terms of the settlement, the APWU must disgorge the full 1.1 million dollars that it stole from the workers. 70% is ordered to be paid out immediately to workers with each of the approximately 7,200 employees eligible to receive a pro rata share of $770,804.58.

The remaining 30% of the stolen money, $330,326.70, will be placed in a separate escrow account under the direct supervision of the NLRB Regional director for the next three years. Any funds remaining at the end of this three year period will be divided evenly among the workers who received payments as part of the settlement.

“This is an unprecedented victory for union employees. Never before has a union been caught so dramatically taking this large a sum, and then being forced to return the money to its rightful owners,” said Mix. “The workers are fortunate that they were able to take advantage of the free legal aid offered by the Foundation, else they might not have seen any of this money ever again.”

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