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Know Your Rights: Michigan's Right to Work Law

In December 2012, Michigan became the nation's 24th state to pass Right to Work protections for its workers. On March 28, 2013, Michigan's private sector and public sector Right to Work laws went into effect and Michigan workers finally have Right to Work protections.

If you are a private sector worker in Michigan and you want to know more about your rights under Michigan's new Right to Work law, click here.  If you are a public sector worker, click here.

Recent media reports suggest that union bosses are attempting to skirt Michigan's Right to Work law any way they can.  The Wall Street Journal even reported that a Michigan teacher union boss sent out a memo stating union officials should consider suing union members who exercise their Right to Work and refrain from union membership and dues payments.

Fortunately, the National Right to Work Foundation has of a special task force committed to defending Michigan workers who seek to exercise their rights under the state's newly-enacted Right to Work law.  If you, or someone you know, needs legal assistance, please contact the National Right to Work Foundation by calling toll free 1-800-336-3600 or by clicking here.

West Virginia Utility Worker Wins $10,000 Settlements from Penn Line Service, Local Laborer Union

News Release

West Virginia Utility Worker Wins $10,000 Settlements from Penn Line Service, Local Laborer Union

Worker discharged from job for not contributing to "voluntary" union PAC

Beckley, WV (May 31, 2013) – A former Penn Service Line, Inc. truck driver/laborer has won a substantial federal settlement from a Pennsylvania-based construction company and a West Virginia union after the company and union violated his rights and illegally seized union dues from his paychecks for the union's political action committee (PAC).

Jeff Richmond of Meadow Bridge, WV, received free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

In July 2012, when Penn Line Service hired Richmond, company management told him that the job was a "union job." Between July and October, the company confiscated, and the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 453 accepted, full union dues from Richmond's paychecks even though he had not joined the union or consented to union dues payments.

In October 2012, company management gave Richmond and his coworkers a union membership and dues deductions authorization form. The form included a section for the employees to authorize "voluntary" contributions to three LIUNA-affiliated political action committees. Richmond signed up for union membership because he thought it was required for him to keep his job. Richmond did not, however, authorize the "voluntary" PAC contributions. Shortly thereafter, Richmond was discharged from his job for refusing to sign up for the union PAC contributions.

Click here to read the full release.

Nurse Union Faces Federal Suit for Selling out Workers

News Release

Nurse Union Faces Federal Suit for Selling out Workers

Union organizers’ intimidation sways outcome of unionization election

Massillon, OH (May 14, 2013) – Four local nurses have filed a federal lawsuit against the National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC) union for violating its duty of fair representation by striking a backroom deal with company management in exchange for its assistance with unionizing its nurses.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Affinity Medical Center nurses Cinda Keener, Susan Kelley, Ryan Chizmadia, and Katherine Manfull filed the lawsuit with the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Ohio Eastern Division in Akron.

NNOC union organizers and Community Health Systems (CHS) management entered into a "neutrality agreement" designed to help the union organizers impose monopoly bargaining on all the nurses at Affinity and at least two other CHS hospitals. In the agreement, union organizers were given preferential access to the facility and conducted a "quicksnap" unionization election.

Click here to read the full release.

Union, Company Face Federal Prosecution after Construction Worker Digs Up Illegal PAC Scheme

News Release

Union, Company Face Federal Prosecution after Construction Worker Digs Up Illegal PAC Scheme

Worker discharged from job for not contributing to "voluntary" union PAC

Beckley, WV (April 22, 2013) – A Pennsylvania construction company and a local union are facing a federal prosecution for violating the rights of a former truck driver/laborer and illegally seizing union dues from workers' paychecks for the union's political action committee (PAC).

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Jeff Richmond of Meadow Bridge, WV, filed federal unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Penn Line Service, Inc. and the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 453.

In July 2012, when Penn Line Service hired Richmond, company management informed him that the job was a "union job." Between July and October, the company confiscated, and the LIUNA hierarchy accepted, full union dues from Richmond's paychecks even though he had not joined the union nor given prior authorization for the company to take full union dues from his paychecks.

Click here to read the full release.

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.

Hostess Delivery Driver Wins $47,000 in Federal Case Challenging Teamster Union Boss Discrimination

News Release

Hostess Delivery Driver Wins $47,000 in Federal Case Challenging Teamster Union Boss Discrimination

Teamster union bosses sought to punish worker for refraining from union membership

Tulsa, OK (April 4, 2013) – An Interstate Bakeries Wonder Bread/Hostess delivery driver has won over $47,000 in back pay and reimbursement from a local Teamster union and the company in a union discrimination case that the union twice appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Oklahoma worker Kirk Rammage received free assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation during his seven year legal battle challenging a local Teamster union's discriminatory policy.

Click here to read the full release.

New Michigan Right to Work Laws Take Effect Today

News Release

New Michigan Right to Work Laws Take Effect Today

National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation offers free legal aid to workers seeking to exercise their rights under Michigan's Right to Work protections

Springfield, VA (March 28, 2013) – In response to Michigan's Right to Work laws taking effect today, Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation, issued the following statement:

"No worker should ever be forced to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of their employment. That is why Michigan's new Right to Work laws are great advances for worker freedom. Today, workers in Michigan finally have Right to Work protections.

Click here to read the full release.

Worker Files Federal Charges against NBC Sports, CWA for Forcing Him to Join Union, Pay Full Dues

News Release

Worker Files Federal Charges against NBC Sports, CWA for Forcing Him to Join Union, Pay Full Dues

Case shows why West Virginia's workers need Right to Work protections

New York, NY (March 11, 2013) – With the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, an NBC Sports technician has filed federal charges against his employer and the NABET-CWA Local 11 union for forcing him to join the union and pay full dues.

Over the past six months, Steve Wahlenmayer has worked as a daily hire for NBC Sports, which is party to a bargaining agreement with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union. Because New York lacks a Right to Work law, regular employees can be forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment after 30 consecutive days of employment. This means temporary or daily hires cannot be required to pay union dues if they don't reach the 30-day threshold.

Despite the fact that Wahlenmayer has never worked for NBC for 30 consecutive days, CWA officials and NBC Sports demanded he join the union and sign a dues check-off card authorizing the CWA to deduct automatically dues from his paycheck and to pay a $9,000 initiation fee. Other temporary hires at NBC Sports have faced similar demands.

Click here to read the full release.

DC Appeals Court Orders NLRB to Respond to Foundation Petition

Earlier this month, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit asking the court to order the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to suspend further action in a case that expanded union bosses' powers to charge nonmember workers for union political lobbying.

The petition was filed after the Board held that a union hierarchy could force nurses in Rhode Island to pay for union bosses' political lobbying, including lobbying in the state of Vermont.

Foundation attorneys filed the petition after the court ruled in January that President Barack Obama's controversial purported "recess appointments" to the Board are unconstitutional. The court held President Obama could not constitutionality make those appointments without U.S. Senate confirmation because the Senate was not in recess.

Today, the court ordered the NLRB to respond to the Foundation's petition within 30 days, and then allows Foundation attorneys to respond within 15 days after the NLRB responds.

The demand for briefing on the petition suggests the court's willingness to grant the writ of prohibition that would order the NLRB to cease and desist action on the Geary case. Stay tuned.

Rhode Island School of Design Technician Wins Settlement from Local Teacher Union

News Release

Rhode Island School of Design Technician Wins Settlement from Local Teacher Union

Union officials refused to follow Supreme Court precedents

Providence, RI (February 4, 2013) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, a Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) technician has won an informal settlement from a local union for violating his rights.

The settlement stems from a federal unfair labor practice charge Robert Vennerbeck of Providence filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Boston against the RISD Technical Association union – an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA) union.

Vennerbeck resigned formal union membership and revoked his union dues deduction authorization – a form used to take union dues from workers' paychecks. The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that workers have the right to refrain from full-dues-paying union membership. Because Rhode Island does not have Right to Work protections making union affiliation completely voluntary, workers who refrain from formal union membership may still be forced to pay part of union dues to keep their jobs. However, nonmember workers cannot be required to pay union dues spent for union political activities and member-only events.

Vennerbeck charged that union officials refused to follow federal disclosure requirements outlined under Supreme Court precedent despite Vennerbeck's repeated requests.

Click here to read the full release.


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