Illegal Forced Dues and Money for Politics 

News Release

Workers Hit Unions with Federal Charges for Retaliation for Working During Verizon Strike

Union officials try to punish Verizon employees who decided to work during union boss-initiated work stoppage

Trenton, NJ & New York, NY (September 19, 2016) – Four Verizon employees have filed federal unfair labor practice charges against the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Communications Workers of America (CWA) unions for violating federal labor law after the employees exercised their right to resign their union memberships during the high profile union boss-ordered strike in April. In three of the cases, union officials illegally demanded that the workers appear before union tribunals, so they could fine or otherwise retaliate against the workers for rejecting union boss demands that they abandon their jobs.

In April, IBEW and CWA union officials announced a coordinated work stoppage and ordered workers up and down the East Coast from Massachusetts to Virginia to abandon their jobs. The strike included IBEW Local 827 and CWA Locals 1111 and 1105, which are the subjects of the four NLRB charges.

Soon after CWA and IBEW union officials ordered the strike, three workers, Joseph Todaro, Gregory Sable, and Jackson Thoby chose to resign from their respective locals and return to work. Under federal law a worker cannot be compelled to participate in a union-boss ordered strike. However under a 1972 NLRB ruling, in order to protect themselves from internal union discipline they must resign their formal union membership before to returning to work, as each of these workers did.

Despite their resignations, these workers were notified by officials of the CWA and IBEW that they were being tried by the unions for violating internal union rules, presumably with the intent to fine them for refusing to heed union boss demands and instead working to support their families. In some similar cases, union bosses have attempted to levy fines as high as $30,000 against workers who exercised their right to continue working during strikes.

A fourth worker, James VanValkenburgh, resigned his union membership and requested that CWA Local 1111 provide him with a Beck notice of his right as a nonmember to pay only the part of dues used for bargaining purposes and allow him to stop paying full dues from the date of his resignation. Local 1111 has so far ignored his resignation and continues to deduct full union dues from his wages.

“Here we see yet another example of union officials trying to punish workers who have exercised their rights to continue working to support their families,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Workers should not be threatened with vigilante vengeance in a union instigated kangaroo court for exercising their right to refrain from full union membership.”

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Newaygo County Worker Hits Teamsters Union with Unfair Labor Practice Charge for Violating Right to Work Law

Union officials blatantly ignore employee’s revocation requests and continue to collect dues in violation of the law

White Cloud, MI (September 8, 2016) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a Newaygo County employee has filed unfair labor practice charges with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) against Teamsters Local Union 214. According to the charges filed by Gordon Alger, union officials continued to collect dues from his paycheck after he had formally notified the union of his decision to opt out of further payments.

Under Michigan’s recently-enacted public sector Right to Work law, no employee can be required to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Forced-dues requirements from union monopoly bargaining contracts prior to passage of the law were grandfathered in, but once those contracts expire, nonunion employees can no longer be required to pay union dues or fees to keep their jobs.

In December 2015, the contract between the Newaygo County Commission on Aging and Teamsters Local 214 expired. Consequently, all employees could thereafter exercise their rights under Michigan’s Right to Work law. Soon after the contract expired, Alger notified the union that he was revoking his dues deduction authorization.

Instead of following the law, union officials responded to Alger’s letter by claiming that the dues checkoff authorization he had signed in 2001, when dues were mandatory, meant that, despite the Right to Work law, he could not stop payments to the union until an annual window period in September. Furthermore, union officials illegally claimed that Alger had to send his revocation letter by certified mail, which imposes extra cost on the sender.

“Once again, union bosses in the Great Lakes State are forcing workers whom they claim to ‘represent’ to jump through numerous legal hoops just to exercise their legal rights under the law,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “This case is particularly egregious because of the multiple lies and falsifications union bosses provided Gordon Alger just so they could collect more forced fees from him for an additional few months.”

Foundation staff attorneys are currently providing free legal assistance to Michigan employees in over 30 cases. Since Michigan passed Right to Work protections for workers in 2012, the Foundation has received numerous legal aid requests from Michigan employees seeking to protect their rights, because union officials have aggressively resisted the laws’ provisions that make union membership and the payment of union dues strictly voluntary.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Worker Advocate Helps Secure Refund for Illegally Seized Dues for Michigan Employees

UAW officials finally follow law after federal charges are filed

Grand Rapids, MI (August 19, 2016) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, two Grand Rapids Blue Cross & Blue Shield employees have received refunds for illegally seized dues from United Automobile Workers (UAW) Local 2145 union officials. The refund comes in response to federal unfair labor practice charges that were filed by Rayonne Brown and Jennifer Smith against UAW and their employer. According to Brown and Smith, union officials had continued to collect money from their paychecks after they had formally notified the union of their decision to opt out of further dues payments.

In December 2015, the contract between Blue Cross & Blue Shield and UAW Local 2145 expired. The contract included a provision that required all employees to pay union fees as a condition of employment. Once the contract expired, however, Brown and Smith notified the union and their employer that they were revoking their dues authorization and opting out of paying union dues.

Under Michigan’s recently-enacted Right to Work law, no employee can be required to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Forced-dues contracts between unions and employers that were agreed to before the law was passed continue in force, but once those contracts expire, nonunion employees in the bargaining unit can no longer be required to pay union dues to keep their jobs.

Despite these legal protections, Blue Cross & Blue Shield deducted union dues from Brown and Smith’s January and March paychecks, which were then given to UAW officials. Brown and Smith’s charges, which asked for the return of all illegally-seized union dues with interest, were withdrawn as a result of the refund.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, commented, “Unfortunately, the legal hoops that Rayonne Brown and Jennifer Smith have had to jump through just to get union bosses to recognize their rights are all too common in states with recently passed Right to Work laws. The law has to be enforced if employees are to benefit from these new legal protections. With this being an election year, union bosses are desperate to get their hands on as many forced dues as possible”.

“Any Michigan employees seeking to assert their newly-enshrined rights should contact the National Right to Work Foundation immediately for free legal aid,” Mix added.

The charges were among the over 30 legal cases that have been filed so far by Foundation staff attorneys to enforce Michigan’s Right to Work law, which ensures that union membership and the payment of union dues are strictly voluntary. Michigan became the 24th state to pass a Right to Work law in 2012. Wisconsin and West Virginia have subsequently passed Right to Work laws in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

National Right to Work Foundation Files Brief Defending Wisconsin Right to Work Law

Union boss suit pushes dubious legal theory that would end Right to Work protections for workers nationwide

Madison, WI (July 19, 2016) – National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have filed an amicus curiae brief in International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139 & 420 (IUOE) v. Schimel, a federal lawsuit that challenges Wisconsin’s Right to Work law. The brief is on behalf of five workers, all of whom work in a unionized workplace and support Right to Work and would be forced to pay union fees or be fired, if Wisconsin’s Right to Work law were struck down.

The brief supports the state’s opposition to the unions’ preliminary injunction request and the state’s motion for judgment on the pleadings which would dismiss the lawsuit. The brief was filed in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

The brief notes that Right to Work laws have withstood intense legal scrutiny for over 60 years, having never been struck down by a federal court or a state appellate court. Responding to union lawyers’ dubious claim that Right to Work laws unconstitutionally force union officials to “represent” nonunion employees without compensation, the brief notes that the National Labor Relations Act compensates unions by granting them immense workplace power to impose a one-size-fits-all union contract on all employees – union and nonunion alike – in a union-controlled bargaining unit.

The brief also points out that the union lawyers’ argument has already been rejected by a Federal Court of Appeals and the Indiana Supreme Court.
“IUOE bosses are asking a United States District Court to reject over 60 years of legal precedent,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Wisconsin’s Right to Work law should not be overturned on the basis of an outrageous and rejected legal theory advanced by union lawyers, who are attempting to create a constitutional ‘right’ for union bosses to extort money from workers forced to accept unions’ so-called representation.”

Foundation staff attorneys are also involved in dozens of cases defending and enforcing newly-enacted Right to Work laws in Indiana, Michigan, and West Virginia.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Country Music Star Hits Union with Federal Charges

Union Bosses charge The Band Perry member an illegal “Service Fee” in violation of Tennessee’s longstanding Right to Work law

Nashville, TN (July 18, 2016) – 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.

National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix commented, “Even in longstanding Right to Work states like Tennessee, union bosses all too often engage in schemes and ploys to undermine or outright violate employees’ Right to Work protections. This case underscores the importance of our legal program in enforcing Right to Work laws.”

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Ohio Worker Hits Union Bosses with Federal Charges for Illegal Union Dues Seizures

IBEW officials ignore worker’s attempts to cut off forced dues for politics

Dayton, Ohio (July 7, 2016) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a local worker has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 82 union.


According to charges filed by Troy Bowling, union officials violated federal law by ignoring his attempt to resign from the union and pay less than full dues. Furthermore, union officials have also violated federal law by refusing to give Bowling, an employee of Cox Media Group of Ohio, the required independently-audited financial breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures.


Under federal case law, private-sector workers have the unconditional right to refrain from formal union membership. However, because Ohio has yet to pass into law Right to Work protections for workers, nonmember workers can be forced to pay a portion of union dues as a condition of employment. Employees who refrain from membership do not have to pay the portion of union dues that goes towards union boss politics and lobbying.


Additionally, union officials must also provide workers with an independently-audited financial breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures. This procedural safeguard helps inform workers of how their forced union dues are being spent.


"IBEW union bosses are so blinded by their hunger for more forced dues powers, they are violating the basic rights of the very workers they claim to represent," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores why Ohio workers need Right to Work protections to make union affiliation and dues payments strictly voluntary."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

NRTW Responds to District Court Ruling Blocking Harris v. Quinn Homecare Providers from Reclaiming Illegally-Seized Union Dues

SEIU filings show $32 million was seized from 80,000 providers in scheme ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014

Chicago, IL (June 7, 2016) The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois has just denied a motion for class certification in a lawsuit filed by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys for three Illinois homecare providers.

The lawsuit is a continuation of Harris v. Quinn, a Foundation Supreme Court victory in 2014 that held that the collection of forced union dues from home-based caregivers violated their First Amendment rights. After the Supreme Court’s June 2014 ruling the case, now designated Riffey v. SEIU, was remanded to the District Court to settle the remaining issues, including the question of whether the SIEU would be forced to return over $30 million dollars in dues confiscated from nonmembers as part of its unconstitutional scheme.

The latest decision can be appealed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the homecare providers’ Foundation-provided attorneys are now considering when to file an appeal.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, issued the following statement on the ruling:

“The United States Supreme Court ruled that the SEIU had illegally confiscated union dues from thousands of Illinois homecare providers, but this ruling denies those same caregivers the opportunity to reclaim money that never should have gone to the SEIU in the first place. If this order stands it will allow the SEIU to have violated the First Amendment rights of over 80,000 homecare providers with impunity.

“If SEIU bosses are not required to return the money they seized in violation of homecare providers’ constitutional rights, it will only encourage similar behavior from union officials eager to trample the First Amendment to enrich themselves over the objections of tens of thousands of homecare providers.”

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

National Right to Work Foundation Files Brief to Defend Idaho Right to Work Law from Union Lawsuit

Union boss suit pushes theory that could jeopardize all 26 state Right to Work laws and create “right” to collect forced union dues from unwilling workers

Boise, ID (May 26, 2016) – The National Right to Work Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides free legal assistance to union-abused employees nationwide, will file an amicus curiae brief in International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 370 v Wasden, a federal lawsuit that challenges Idaho’s Right to Work law. The brief in support of the state’s motion to dismiss will be filed in United States District Court for the District of Idaho.

The brief notes that Right to Work laws have withstood intense legal scrutiny for over 60 years, having never been struck down by a federal court or a state appellate court. Responding to IUOE union lawyers’ dubious claim that Right to Work laws unconstitutionally force union officials to “represent” nonunion employees without compensation, the brief notes that the National Labor Relations Act grants unions immense workplace power by allowing them to impose a one-size-fits-all union contract on all employees – union and nonunion alike – in a union-controlled bargaining unit.

“IUOE bosses are asking a United States District Court to reject over 60 years of legal precedent,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Idaho’s longstanding and popular Right to Work law should not be overturned on the basis of an outrageous legal theory advanced by union lawyers, who are attempting to create a constitutional ‘right’ for union bosses to extort money from workers forced to accept unions’ so-called representation.”

Foundation staff attorneys have also defended newly-enacted Right to Work laws in Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin from various union legal challenges, most recently in a brief submitted to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Worker Advocate Files Brief Defending Wisconsin’s Right to Work Law

Dane County Circuit Court judge’s wrongheaded ruling creates legal uncertainty, but National Right to Work attorneys remain confident that law will be ultimately upheld

Springfield, VA (May 18, 2016) – Responding to a recent Dane County Circuit Court judge’s decision against Wisconsin’s Right to Work law, National Right to Work Foundation and Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) attorneys have filed an amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) brief in support of the State’s motion to stay pending before the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. The motion calls on the court not to allow the lower court’s erroneous ruling against the Right to Work law to take effect while the decision is being appealed.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, released the following statement on the filing:

“Wisconsin employees should not be forced to pay union dues to get or keep a job. That vital principle was enshrined in Wisconsin’s Right to Work law, a measure that is legally supported by decades of court decisions affirming a state’s right to protect its citizens from compulsory unionism. One outrageous ruling from Dane County doesn’t change those facts.

“National Right to Work Foundation and WILL attorneys have just filed a brief urging the Wisconsin Court of Appeals to grant the state’s motion to stay, which would put the Dane County Circuit Court ruling on hold while the matter is on appeal. In the meantime, the National Right to Work Foundation is renewing its offer of free legal assistance to any Wisconsin employees who wish to refrain from paying dues to unions they don’t belong to or support.”

Wisconsin employees seeking free legal aid can contact the National Right to Work Foundation via phone at 1-800-336-3600 or online at www.nrtw.org.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Nonunion Bus Driver Wins Settlement Safeguarding Her Right to Refrain from Paying Full Union Dues

Settlement requires union to refund illegally-confiscated dues

Ofallon, IL (May 4, 2016) – With free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a local bus driver has obtained a settlement from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788 that ensures she will no longer be forced to pay full union dues to keep her job. Under the terms of the settlement, Jennifer Handyside will also receive a refund of union fees wrongfully deducted from her paychecks in 2015 and 2016.

Handyside resigned from the union and opted to reduce her dues payments in March 2015. Despite her resignation and objection, Local 788 continued to charge Handyside fees that included amounts not lawfully chargeable to objecting nonmembers and even resumed collecting full dues in December 2015.

Because Illinois lacks a Right to Work law, nonunion employees like Handyside can be required to pay part of union dues as a condition of employment. However, nonunion workers cannot be required to pay for anything unrelated to workplace bargaining, such as union politics.

Foundation attorneys filed Handyside’s charges against Local 788 in January 2016. Handyside has now obtained a settlement that requires Local 788 to refund the wrongfully-confiscated union fees. Under the terms of the agreement, union officials are also required to post a public notice at the local bus drivers’ office informing all employees of their right to refrain from union membership and the payment of full union dues.

“Although we are happy to report that Jennifer Handyside is receiving a refund from Local 788 union officials, it shouldn’t take legal action to force union bosses to respect the rights of the very workers they claim to represent,” said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Nonunion employees shouldn’t be required to pay any dues at all to a union they don’t belong to or support, which is why Illinois employees need Right to Work protections. Union dues should be strictly voluntary, and not paid simply because union officials would have a worker fired if they refused.”

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

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