Labor Day 2016: National Right to Work Foundation Spreads Message of Employee Freedom

Over the Labor Day weekend, National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix spread the message of worker freedom with radio interviews, and newspaper columns from coast to coast.

In a Daily Caller piece, Mix made the case that “Voluntary not coercive unionism respects American values”:

Americans regularly join and form clubs, civic associations, and church groups, to say nothing of the countless other organizations that rely on little more than the enthusiasm and support of their members. In fact Alexis de Tocqueville, the famous chronicler of early 19th century American life, observed that such associations are ingrained in our national character.

“Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions constantly form associations,” he wrote. “They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies, in which all take part, but associations of a thousand other kinds, religious, moral, serious, futile, general or restricted, enormous or diminutive.”

Much has changed since de Tocqueville’s time, but our shared enthusiasm for voluntary association has not. In fact, as technology has developed we’ve discovered new outlets for our passions and interests, with the Internet making it easier than ever to meet and share ideas, projects, and inspiration with like-minded people.”

In states with Right to Work laws, Mix provided many reasons for workers to celebrate. From The Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Congratulations and Happy Labor Day! As a resident of Virginia, you are one of the millions of Americans living in one of 26 right-to-work states. You might not know it from their opponents’ rhetorical posturing, but right-to-work laws are simple and to the point. A right-to-work law — like Virginia has had since 1947 — simply ensures that no employee can be forced to join or pay dues to a union, leaving the decision of union membership and financial support where it belongs, with each individual working person.

Simply on the basis of protecting each worker’s freedom of association, right-to-work should be embraced, but the advantages don’t stop there. Enshrining workplace freedom also brings significant economic benefits to the 26 states that have passed right-to-work laws.

In states without Right to Work laws, Mix made the case for them with economic and moral arguments. :

You’re not alone if this sounds absurd. In the last national Gallup poll that asked, nearly 80 percent of your fellow Americans agreed: No worker should be forced to pay union fees as a condition of employment. This overwhelming support for Right to Work included significant majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independent voters.

Big Labor union bosses in your state enjoy a special privilege allowing them to expand their ranks through compulsion. Union bosses can impose a monopoly bargaining contract that includes a forced-dues clause that requires every employee (even the ones who did not vote for the union) to pay tribute to the union officials, just for the privilege of having a job.

Mix provided an exclusive piece to The New York Post which also appeared on Real Clear Politics that argued for celebrating workers on Labor Day not union bosses:

Instead of devoting themselves to providing the type of representation that workers would voluntarily pay for, Big Labor’s multibillion-dollar political machine in Washington, DC, and state capitals pushes for more government-granted power to force themselves on unwilling workers.

Big Labor’s position seems to be: Why should union officials bother with the hard work of representing employees if they’re sitting on a forced-dues revenue stream guaranteed by the government?

Mix was interviewed by The Pittsburgh Tribune , about the Foundation’s work:

Q: Do you think confusion exists among the general public as to what the foundation is attempting to accomplish?

A: Sure. Organized labor spends hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars a year to distort what this mission is all about. If you read the statutes that are on the books in all of the 26 right-to-work states, they do not stop one person from joining a union. They do not stop one person from paying union dues. They do not stop one person from participating in every single union activity that they want to participate in. Nothing in the statutes prohibits those things (but) they countenance the idea that someone can be fired for not joining a private organization and paying dues to it.

You can read the full interview here. The Chattanooga Times Free Press interviewed Mix about UAW attempts to unionize the Volkswagen plant in the area and the issue of compulsory unionism.

In addition, the National Right to Work Foundation's Labor Day statement was distributed to thousands of outlets all across the country, and Foundation spokesmen appeared on radio shows from coast to coast.

2016 Labor Day Statement by Foundation President Mark Mix

Watch Foundation President Mark Mix's Labor Day statement below:

Read the statement here.

Air Force Veteran Takes Legal Action After a Campaign of Harassment by Union Operatives Forces Her Out of Job

Lillian Nixon, an Air Force veteran residing in Iowa, is bringing suit against her former employer, Fisher Controls International LLC after a long campaign of harassment and abuses by union agents forced her out of her job as a Final Inspector at the Marshalltown Fisher plant. Her petition was filed in Iowa District Court with free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

In February 2015, Lillian Nixon exercised her rights under Iowa’s Right to Work law and federal law to resign from United Auto Workers Local 893 which is the monopoly bargaining agent at that location. Instead of respecting her decision, union thugs responded with a campaign to retaliate against Nixon and intimidate any other workers who might have been considering exercising their rights. The petition filed with the court, which seeks damages due to the negligence of Fisher and its representatives, details an ugly campaign targeting Nixon.

Over 15 months Nixon was subjected to regular criminal harassment and intimidation by both fellow employees as well as unidentified individuals with access to Fisher property. These incidents varied from trashing her work area to the placement of defaming literature on company bulletin boards, to repeatedly defacing property with stickers using the slur “Scab”. In one incident Nixon was the victim of physical battery and at another time her car was vandalized when her tire was slashed.

Read more here.

Country Music Star Hits Union with Federal Charges

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Jason Fitz, of The Band Perry, has filed federal unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 247 union for illegally threatening he must pay fees to the union.

Fitz, who is the band manager and plays various instruments including the fiddle and keyboard, participated in studio sessions on April 12 and 13 at The House of Blues Studio in Nashville. Fitz has exercised his right to refrain from union membership, but the record label sent his paycheck to the union. Secretary-Treasurer of the Union, Vince Santoro, then sent Fitz a threatening email stating that his checks for work performed at The House of Blues would be withheld until he paid a “service fee” to the union.

This is blatantly illegal because Tennessee has had Right to Work protections for workers in place since 1947 ensuring that no worker can be required to join or pay dues or “fees” to a labor organization as a condition of employment. Charging a non-member a so-called “service fee” violates Section 8 (b) (1) (A) of the National Labor Relations Act as well as the Tennessee Right to Work law.

Hempstead Charter School Teachers Overcome Union Obstructionism to Force Vote to Remove Union from their School

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, 27 Evergreen Charter School employees have won the right to conduct a decertification election to decide the fate of the Evergreen Charter Staff Association-NYSUT union. The Regional Director for Region 29 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has scheduled the union decertification election for June 16, 2016.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, private-sector employees in unionized workplaces have the right to petition for a decertification election to remove a union. After 22 Evergreen employees signed and submitted an election petition to the NLRB in April, union officials attempted to head off the vote by claiming that Evergreen Charter School is a public employer, and thus outside the NLRB’s jurisdiction.

Union lawyers argued that the New York State Public Employment Relations Board has jurisdiction over Evergreen employees, an interpretation that was ultimately rejected by the NLRB, which determined that the Evergreen Charter School is a private employer. Had the union’s arguments prevailed, the school’s employees would have been forced to pursue a much more onerous and complex process to remove the unwanted union.

Wisconsin Union Officials Must Stop Illegally Seizing Union Fees, but Workers Still Waiting for Refunds

Recently, International Association of Machinists Lodge No. 1771 (IAM) union officials and Northern Engraving Corporation officials jointly distributed a letter to all Northern Engraving employees notifying workers that their attempts to resign union membership and stop union dues deductions from their paychecks would no longer be blocked or ignored. The letter, which came in response to NLRB charges filed by Northern Engraving employees, also stated that all wrongfully seized union dues would be refunded.

However, some workers still have not received refunds. On Monday, another worker, with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation-provided staff attorneys, filed new charges against the company and union officials.

Earlier this year Foundation-provided staff attorneys assisted multiple Northern Engraving Corporation employees in filing federal unfair labor practice charges against their employer and the IAM union local. According to the charges, union and company officials violated federal law by ignoring the workers’ attempts to resign from the union and stop paying union dues. Under Wisconsin’s recently-enacted Right to Work law, no employee can be forced to join or pay dues to a union to keep a job.

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