Nonunion Corrections Officers File Suit against Governor, Teamsters Union over Illegal Forced Dues
Lawsuit challenges forced union dues for Washington State public employees and union failure to provide disclosures mandated by U.S. Supreme Court
Tacoma, WA (June 15, 2015) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys and the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation, one retired and four current Washington State correctional officers have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Governor Jay Inslee, two high-ranking state Department of Corrections officials, and the Teamsters Local 117 union. The lawsuit challenges Teamster policies that discourage nonunion correctional officers from opting out of paying full union dues.
Gabriel Forest, Arthur Henderson, Joshua Lenss, and William McLaughlin are currently employed as correctional officers at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center. A fifth plaintiff, Michael Wageblast, retired from the State Department of Corrections in February 2015. All five plaintiffs have exercised their right to resign from the union. However, Teamsters Local 117 officials are empowered by state statute to collect dues and negotiate wages and working conditions for all employees within the plaintiffs’ bargaining unit, including nonmembers.
Teamsters Local 117 officials violated nonunion correctional officers’ rights by failing to provide them with adequate information about the union’s expenditures and sufficient opportunity to opt out of paying full union dues. Under the National Right to Work Foundation-won Hudson Supreme Court precedent, nonunion civil servants are entitled to information about union expenditures and a chance to refrain from paying union dues for anything unrelated to workplace bargaining, such as political activism.
School Bus Driver Wins Precedent: Michigan Public Employees Can Stop Paying Union Dues at Any Time
MERC votes that Teamster union officials violated Right to Work law by requiring workers to wait for a “window period” to stop paying dues
Howell, MI (June 10, 2015) – Yesterday, the Michigan Employee Relations Commission (MERC) unanimously decided to strike down a Teamster Local 214 policy that required Pauline Beutler and other employees to wait for a union-designated “window period” to stop paying union dues. Beutler, a school bus driver with the Livingston Education Service Agency, challenged the Teamsters’ policy with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.
Beutler filed charges with the MERC against the Teamsters in October 2013 after she attempted to leave the union and stop paying union dues. Instead of complying with Beutler's request, union officials told her that she would have to wait until July 2014 before she could revoke her dues deduction authorization and stop paying union dues. A dues deduction authorization is a document union officials use to collect dues or fees directly from workers' paychecks.
Beutler argued that Michigan's Right to Work law, which went into effect in March 2013, invalidates the union's window period requirement. Under the new law, employees have the right to resign their formal union membership and stop financially supporting a union at any time.
Carpenters Union Officials Hit with Charges for Illegal Retaliation Against Workers Who Resigned Membership
NLRB will investigate charges that union bullied workers who resigned from the union and took a nonunion job rather than remain out of work in the union
Boone, IA (June 8, 2015) – Unfair labor practice charges have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board against the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and its Local 308 union. The charges were filed by workers, with free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, who faced retaliation from union officials after they resigned their union membership.
The workers are carpenters and resigned their membership in Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Local 308 on June 23, 2014. They then found employment with Lehman & Associates Concrete, Inc. in Boone, Iowa.
On August 1, 2014, the union filed internal discipline charges against the workers for finding work at Lehman and Associates, which is a union free workplace, despite the fact that workers who exercise their right to resign formal union membership can no longer be subjected to internal union discipline procedures.
Federal Judge Certifies Class-Action Lawsuit Challenging Forced Fees for California Civil Servants
Lawsuit builds on Knox Supreme Court decision, seeks to require unions to obtain employees’ affirmative consent before collecting any money for political activities
Sacramento, CA (May 27, 2015) – The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California has just granted class-action status to a lawsuit filed by California civil servants against SEIU Local 1000. The lawsuit challenges the union’s collection policy, which requires nonmembers to affirmatively object to paying for union politics, and asks that the SEIU be required to get employees’ permission before spending their money on political activism. The plaintiffs are receiving free legal assistance from a National Right to Work Foundation staff attorney, who has been certified as the attorney for a class estimated to consist of at least 34,000 workers.
The lawsuit builds on Knox v. SEIU Local 1000, a Right to Work Foundation-won United States Supreme Court decision from 2012. In Knox, the High Court held, for the first time, that a union should not have collected dues for a political spending campaign without nonmembers’ affirmative consent.
In California and 24 other states that lack Right to Work laws, nonunion employees can be forced to pay union dues or fees to keep a job. However, employees have the right to opt out of paying for activities unrelated to workplace bargaining, such as union political activism.
Michigan Bus Drivers File Complaint to Enforce Their Rights Under Michigan’s Right to Work Law
AFSCME union officials and school district entered into illegal agreement threatening the jobs of drivers who don’t pay union dues or fees
Oakland County, MI (May 22, 2015) –Ten Michigan workers filed a complaint in Oakland County Circuit Court alleging their rights, under the Michigan Right to Work law, were violated when they were forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment, and when they were threatened with termination of employment.
The workers, Ronald Weider, Robin Atkins, Claudine Barnes, Arthur Brannan, Brad Bell, Belinda Colley, Cheryl Gorham, Danyell Polk, Sonya Tiggs, and Lisa Vanderzyppe are all school bus drivers for the Avondale School District, and are represented by attorneys at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
The bus drivers are seeking injunctive relief, return of dues paid to the union, and other relief from American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 202 (AFSCME) union officials who have the power to exclusively represent all workers in the bargaining unit, even nonmember employees.
Obama Labor Board rubberstamps years of suspected widespread abuse
Washington, DC (April 22, 2015) – Seven Phoenix-area Fry's Food Stores employees have appealed their federal case filed after United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 99 union and company officials refused to honor their legal right to refrain from union dues payments.
With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Shirley Jones of Mesa; Karen Medley and Elaine Brown of Apache Junction; Kimberly Stewart and Saloomeh Hardy of Queen Creek; and Tommy and Janette Fuentes of Florence – acting for other similarly situated employees – filed federal unfair labor practice charges in December 2009 that spurred the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to investigate and issue a statewide complaint against UFCW Local 99 union officials.