IAM 

Union officials threaten workers for informing coworkers about settlement

As previously reported on the Freedom@Work blog, four Maryland IKEA workers, with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, won a class-wide settlement with their employer and the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union.

The settlement allowed the four workers and all of their coworkers to retroactively resign from the union and receive refunds for any union dues spent on political activism since September 1, 2012. The settlement came after the workers filed unfair labor practice charges in January and February of this year, because union officials failed to inform them and their coworkers of their rights to refrain from union membership and payment of full union dues. Many workers were threatened with termination by union officials for refusing to join the IAM or pay full dues.

Now, one of the workers has filed a new charge against the union because the union hierarchy has been harassing and threatening the workers for passing out fliers on their own time to their coworkers informing them of their rights under the settlement. Perhaps this should come to no surprise, as union officials often purposely keep workers in the dark about their rights in order to force them to pay more union dues and fees.

For example, in the IKEA workers' case, when one worker asked about his right to refrain from financially supporting the IAM’s political activities, he was told by union officials that he had no such rights. And what little material union officials provided to IKEA employees about their rights was deliberately obscured, even to the point that union officials printed information on employees' right to refrain from full dues-paying membership on the back of a pink piece of paper in tan ink, making it virtually invisible to read.

Unfortunately, this type of abuse will continue in Maryland until it passes a Right to Work law. Making union membership and dues payments completely voluntary makes it less difficult for rank-and-file workers to hold union officials accountable.

Seven More Caterpillar Workers File Charges Against Machinist Union

In an ongoing Foundation case, seven additional Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) workers have filed federal charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against a Chicago-area Machinist union for violating their rights and levying retaliatory strike fines against them.

The seven workers join 41 other workers who have filed similar charges to date with free legal assistance from Foundation attorneys. The charges come after International Association of Machinists (IAM) District Lodge 851 union bosses ordered over 800 Joliet, Illinois Caterpillar workers on strike. Over a hundred workers continued to work despite the IAM union boss-instigated strike.

Under federal law, workers who are not voluntary union members are exempt from the union hierarchy's constitution and bylaws and thus cannot be disciplined for continuing to work during a union boss-ordered strike. However, IAM Local 851 union bosses recently levied fines totaling over a million dollars against the workers for continuing to work during the strike.

Two workers' charges were settled in December, and the remaining 46 workers whose cases have not been resolved all allege that they were never truly voluntary union members. Multiple workers allege that union militants also threatened them with violence, and one alleges that union militants physically assaulted his wife and child.

For more information about this and other Right to Work Foundation cases, please stay tuned to the Foundation's Freedom@Work blog.


Update 5/10/13: With free legal assistance from the Foundation, two more workers filed charges on May 10. This brings the total charges to date to 50, 48 of which are pending with the NLRB.

FOUNDATION ACTION: Union Officials Hit with Lawsuit for Violating Utah's Right to Work Law

NOTE: This article is from the March-April issue of Foundation Action, our bi-monthly newsletter. You can sign up to receive a print edition of the newsletter here.


Union Officials Hit with Lawsuit for Violating Utah's Right to Work Law

Workers sue company and union for illegally seizing nearly twelve thousand dollars in union dues

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - In Utah, four railroad car repairmen have filed a lawsuit contending that their employer and a local union violated their rights under Utah’s popular Right to Work law and illegally coerced them into paying thousands of dollars in union dues.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, the four workers – Bryan Rees, James Rogers, Richard Simone, and Jason Wilson – sued Progress Rail, a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., and the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen/International Association of Machinists (IAM) Local 6601 union in the Third Judicial District Court in Salt Lake County.

Union boss contract violates Utah’s Right to Work law

Utah’s popular Right to Work law, enacted in 1955, gives workers the unconditional right to refrain from union membership and dues payments.  Despite the Right to Work law, IAM Local 6601 union brass negotiated a contract with Progress Rail in May 2006 that contained an illegal forced dues clause that requires all covered employees, including nonmembers, to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. 

All four workers allege in the suit that when they started working at Progress Rail at various dates between December 2005 and August 2011, union officials informed them that union membership and full dues payments were a condition of their employment. 

And as a result, union officials confiscated up to $12,000 in illegal union dues payments from the workers’ paychecks until October 2012, about two months after the workers found out about their rights under Utah’s Right to Work law.

The four workers are asking the court to bar the company and the union from enforcing the illegal forced dues clause in the contract and to order a refund of the illegally-seized union dues.

Case highlights national importance of Right to Work laws

“For years, IAM Local 6601 union bosses kept workers in the dark about their rights and took thousands of dollars of their hard-earned money in violation of Utah’s popular Right to Work law,” Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation, told the Salt Lake Tribune. “The union’s careless disregard for these workers’ rights underscores the need for more states to pass Right to Work protections for their workers.”

Twenty-four states currently have Right to Work protections for employees. According to public polling, nearly 80 percent of Americans - and 80 percent of union members - support the Right to Work principle of voluntary unionism.

Moreover, Right to Work states consistently enjoy better economic performance than their forced unionism neighbors. Over the past decade, data collected by the Bureau of Economic Analysis reveal that Right to Work states   outperform forced unionism states in terms of private sector job creation.

Not only are more jobs created in Right to Work states, but employees’ paychecks also go farther. A recent study from University of Colorado economist Barry Poulson found that households in Right to Work states have nearly $4,300 more in purchasing power than families in forced unionism states. 

“Not only do Right to Work laws boost economic growth and create jobs, they also strike at the very heart of Big Labor’s government-granted power to compel workers to pay dues just to get or keep a job,” said Mix.  “And the lawsuit in Utah goes to show just how important Right to Work protections are for workers who want nothing to do with forced-dues hungry union officials.”

 

Machinist Union Hierarchy Faces 15 Additional Federal Charges in Wake of Last Summer's Caterpillar Strike

News Release

Machinist Union Hierarchy Faces 15 Additional Federal Charges in Wake of Last Summer's Caterpillar Strike

Union officials demand at least hundreds of thousands of dollars in strike fines from workers

Chicago, IL (April 17, 2013) – With free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, 15 additional Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) workers have filed federal charges against a local Machinist union for violating their rights and levying retaliatory strike fines against them in the wake of last summer's union boss-instigated strike against Caterpillar.

The 15 workers join 24 other workers who filed similar charges late last month and two who filed charges late last year with free legal assistance from Foundation attorneys.

Click here to read the full release.

Caterpillar Workers Win Federal Settlement from Machinist Union Hierarchy for Strike Discipline Violations

News Release

Caterpillar Workers Win Federal Settlement from Machinist Union Hierarchy for Strike Discipline Violations

Union officials demand hundreds thousands of dollars in strike fines from workers

Chicago, IL (January 17, 2013) – Two Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) workers have won a federal settlement from a local Machinist union after union brass illegally charged them full union dues and attempted to punish them for working during a highly-publicized strike against the company even though the workers were not union members.

The settlement stems from a federal unfair labor practice charge Daniel Eggleston and Steven Olsen filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Chicago with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys against the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union and its local District Lodge 851 affiliate.

Eggleston and Olsen have refrained from union membership in the IAM union for years and are thus exempted from the union hierarchy's constitution and bylaws. On May 1, Machinists Local 851 union bosses ordered all of the over 800 Rockdale Caterpillar workers on strike. Eggleston and Olsen, along with over a hundred other workers, continued to work despite IAM union boss demands.

Click here to read the full release.

Caterpillar Workers File Federal Charges Against Machinist Union in Wake of Summer Strike

News Release

Caterpillar Workers File Federal Charges Against Machinist Union in Wake of Summer Strike

Union officials attempt to retaliate against nonmember workers

Chicago, IL (November 6, 2012) – In the wake of last summer's Machinist union boss-instigated strike against Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT), two Caterpillar workers have filed a federal charge against the Machinist union and its local affiliate for violating their rights.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Daniel Eggleston and Steven Olson filed their charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Chicago. Foundation attorneys anticipate more charges will be filed for other Caterpillar workers at the facility.

Eggleston and Olson have refrained from union membership in the International Association of Machinist (IAM) union and its local District Lodge 851 affiliate for years and are thus exempt from the union hierarchy's constitution and bylaws. However, because Illinois does not have Right to Work protections making union affiliation completely voluntary, they are still forced to pay part of union dues to keep their jobs.

Under federal law, workers who refrain from union membership cannot be disciplined for continuing to work during a union boss-ordered strike.

Click here to read the full release.

South Carolina Boeing Employees Appeal Federal Machinist Union Discrimination Case

News Release

South Carolina Boeing Employees Appeal Federal Machinist Union Discrimination Case

Union bosses abused process to force Boeing to locate production in union facility in non-Right to Work Washington State

Washington, DC (August 21, 2012) – Two Charleston, South Carolina, Boeing company (NYSE: BA) employees filed a federal appeal in their high-profile case against the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union.

The employees filed the appeal with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, D.C., with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

The NLRB regional office in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, dismissed the workers' federal charges in late July.

The workers were denied participation in the hearing that concluded the case even though they were granted intervenor status by the NLRB in Washington, D.C. The workers then filed a federal charge against the IAM and its Local 751 union alleging that union officials had abused the NLRB's adjudicative process by bullying Boeing into contract concessions and guaranteeing production of the company's 737 Max and future airplane production in Washington State, which does not have a Right to Work law.

Click here to read the full release.

Mechanic Challenges Obama Recess Appointments in Federal Court

News Release

Mechanic Challenges Obama Recess Appointments in Federal Court

Right to Work Foundation attorneys argue purported recess appointments are invalid because Senate was not in actual recess

Columbus, OH (August 17, 2012) – A Columbus-area Center City International Trucks mechanic is challenging in federal court President Barack Obama's recent purported recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Kyle Chilton filed his legal challenge with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on Friday.

Chilton's case stems from a battle over a petition he and his coworkers signed asking for a vote to remove the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union from his workplace. A three-member panel of the NLRB dismissed Chilton's petition. The decision means that Chilton and his coworkers cannot submit another petition for at least three years. Two of Obama's three purported recess appointments to the Board participated on the panel.

Click here to read the full release.

Union Bosses Forced to Settle Federal Charges After Illegally Levying Retaliatory $7,300 Strike Fine Against Worker

News Release

Union Bosses Forced to Settle Federal Charges After Illegally Levying Retaliatory $7,300 Strike Fine Against Worker

Worker fined for exercising his right to refrain from formal union membership

Kansas City, MO (July 3, 2012) – A Honeywell nuclear assembly worker has won a settlement from a local union for retaliating against him for exercising his right to refrain from union membership and continue to work during a union boss-instigated strike.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Daniel Gudde filed a federal charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Overland Park, Kansas after union officials levied a $7,361.36 fine against him.

Gudde began working at Honeywell in late September, believing he had to join the International Association of Machinist (IAM) Local Lodge 778 union. In early October, IAM Local 778 union officials instigated a strike. Gudde and three of his coworkers were unsure if they had to go on strike as union members or if they had to fulfill a required 30-day probationary period of employment.

Union officials told Gudde and his colleagues to continue to work to complete the 30-day probationary period.

Click here to read the full release.

Union Bosses Levy Retaliatory Strike Fine Against Worker After Telling Him to Continue Working During Strike

News Release

Union Bosses Levy Retaliatory Strike Fine Against Worker After Telling Him to Continue Working During Strike

Worker fined over $7,300 for exercising his right to refrain from formal union membership

Kansas City, MO (May 9, 2012) – A Honeywell nuclear assembly worker has filed a federal charge against a local union for retaliating against him with a $7,361.36 fine for exercising his right to refrain from union membership and continue to do his job during a union boss-instigated strike.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys, Daniel Gudde filed the charge with the National Labor Relations Board regional office in Overland Park, Kansas on Friday.

Gudde began working at Honeywell in late September believing he had to join the International Association of Machinist (IAM) Local Lodge 778 union. In early October, IAM Local 778 union officials instigated a strike. Gudde and three of his coworkers were unsure if they had to go on strike as union members or if they had to fulfill a required 30 day probationary period of employment.

Union officials told Gudde and his colleagues to continue to work to complete the 30 day probationary period.

Read the entire release here.


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