Brenda Lee Orr, a Honloulu hotel employee, has just filed another round of federal unfair labor practice charges against the UNITE HERE Local 5 union with the help of Foundation staff attorneys. According to an audited breakdown of UNITE HERE's finances, Orr was forced to pay for political lobbying and a union strike fund despite the fact that she is not a union member.
Because Hawaii lacks a Right to Work law, Orr and other nonunion employees can be forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment. However, nonunion workers cannot be compelled to pay for union politics or other activities unrelated to workplace bargaining.
Regular readers may recall that UNITE HERE Local 5 is already facing charges from several other Honlulu hotel workers. This isn't the first time the union has tangled with Orr, either. In 2009, UNITE HERE officials agreed to refund a substantial chunk of Orr's union dues after they were caught using her money for political activism.
Despite years of litigation, UNITE HERE bosses still haven't learned their lesson. That's why Hawaiian workers need a Right to Work law, which would ensure that no employee is forced to join or pay dues to a union just to get or keep a job.