Illegal Forced Dues and Money for Politics 

News Release

Teenage Grocery Clerk Wins Federal Case Against Grocery Union Officials Who Violated His Rights

Union officials illegally threatened to have him fired for not joining and paying full dues

San Diego, CA (February 24, 2015) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a teenage part-time Ralphs Grocery clerk has won a federal ruling against a local grocery union for violating his workplace rights.

The teenager filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 135 union after union officials provided him in July 2013, with a membership packet that illegally stated that new hires must join the union and pay full union dues as a condition of their employment.

The teenager eventually learned about his right to refrain from full dues paying union membership and made multiple inquiries about resigning his union membership and paying reduced dues with UFCW Local 135 officials. His multiple requests were denied, stonewalled, or ignored.

In August 2013, union officials again demanded the teenager join the union and pay full dues and initiation fees or get fired. Union officials also sent a letter demanding that he appear at the union hall if he wished to refrain from union membership. They also demanded his social security number in order to exercise his right not to join the union.

Because California does not have Right to Work protections making union affiliation completely voluntary, nonmember workers can be forced to pay part of union dues to keep their jobs. However, workers who refrain from union membership can refrain from paying dues used for union politics and members-only events.

A NLRB administrative law judge ruled that UFCW Local 135 union brass violated the teenager's rights by failing to follow federal disclosure requirements that allow workers to know what amounts they can be forced to pay as a condition of their employment, and explain the union's financial calculations.
The judge also ordered the union hierarchy to rescind its policy requiring new hires to appear in person at the union’s office in order to exercise their rights.

"It took 17 months for this worker to get a ruling holding UFCW union officials accountable for blatantly violating federal law to keep their forced dues gravy train going," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores the need for California to pass a Right to Work law making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary."

Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for employees. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the principle of voluntary unionism.

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

Federal Settlement Awards Johnson Controls Worker Six Months of Illegally-Seized Union Confiscations

Case underscores needs for Right to Work protections

Sycamore, IL (February 6, 2015) – A local Johnson Controls, Inc. worker has won a federal settlement from the United Auto Workers (UAW) union hierarchy and the company for violating his right to refrain from paying union dues and fees used for union officials' politics.

The settlement comes in the wake of federal charges Johnson Controls employee Thomas Hayden filed with legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

Hayden, who has exercised his right under federal labor law to refrain from formal union membership, must accept the exclusive representation of UAW, and its Local 1268, union officials. Because Illinois does not have Right to Work protections for workers, nonmember workers like Hayden can be forced to pay a part of union dues and fees.

However, under the Foundation's U.S. Supreme Court victory in Communications Workers v. Beck, employees can refrain from paying for politics and many other union activities.

Even though Hayden received letters from UAW Local 1268 union officials in 2013 and 2014 stating that they would recognize his right to refrain from paying for dues used for union politicking and other nonbargaining activities, Johnson Controls continued to deduct, and Local 1268 union officials continued to accept, full union dues from his paychecks for about a year.

Hayden then filed federal unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Peoria challenging the illicit dues deductions.

Per the settlement's terms, Johnson Controls and Local 1268 union officials will refund Hayden $133 for six months of illegally-seized union dues, plus interest. The union hierarchy must also post a notice in the workplace informing other workers of their right to refrain from dues-paying union membership.

"It took federal charges to force this company and UAW union officials to finally cease their illegal forced-dues confiscations," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case demonstrates that Illinois desperately needs a Right to Work law, which would make union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary."

Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for private-sector workers. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the Right to Work principle of voluntary unionism.

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

SEIU Faces Federal Prosecution for Violating Local Security Guards' Rights

Case underscores need for Right to Work protections for California's workers

San Francisco, CA (February 6, 2015) – The San Francisco-based Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 24/7 is facing a federal prosecution for violating local security guards' rights.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Universal Protection Service security guard Daniel Ozabuki filed an unfair labor practice charge for himself and seven other guards against the union alleging a litany of rights abuses.

The guards are all employed by Universal Protection Service, which has been party to a monopoly bargaining agreement with Local 24/7 since the company took over for the previous security contractor, Guard Maintenance Services Corporation. Guard Maintenance Services also had a monopoly bargaining agreement with the union.

Because California lacks a Right to Work law making union membership and dues payments strictly voluntary, workers can be forced to pay union dues and fees as a condition of employment. However, under Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court precedent, workers who refrain from union membership can also refrain from paying for union politics and members-only events.

Ozabuki and at least four other security guards have refrained from union membership for several years. In February 2012, some of the then-Guard Maintenance Services workers reached a settlement with SEIU officials regarding an earlier round of charges. The settlement required that union officials allow nonmember workers to opt out of paying for union activities unrelated to workplace bargaining.

However, since SEIU officials entered into a contract with Universal Protection, union officials have again forced the workers into full dues payments despite the workers' repeated attempts to refrain.

Three additional workers have detailed how SEIU officials kept them in the dark about their right to refrain from formal union membership and full dues payments.

The NLRB now has found merit to the workers' charges and issued a complaint against the SEIU officials.

"SEIU bosses are resorting to deception to force workers into full dues paying union ranks," said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "The best solution to break the SEIU bosses' pattern of rights abuses is for California to enact a Right to Work law making union membership and dues payment 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

UPS Seasonal Worker Receives $0 Paycheck After Company Illegally Seizes Dues for Teamster Union

Worker files federal charge to challenge illegal union dues payment

Stockton, CA (February 4, 2015) – A former seasonal United Parcel Service (UPS) employee has filed a federal charge against the company after it illegally confiscated Teamster union dues from his salary, leaving him with a paycheck of $0.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Santiago Olmos filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Shortly after Olmos was hired as a seasonal employee for the Christmas delivery rush, he attended UPS training on December 8, 2014. At the meeting, a UPS manager told all of the employees in attendance that they were required to join the Teamster Local 439 union and pay union dues.

Under federal labor law, workers have the right to refrain from formal union membership and full union dues payments. Because California does not have Right to Work protections for workers, nonmember workers can be forced to pay a part of union dues and fees or be fired from their job.

However, under federal labor law, a worker may only be compelled to pay union dues or fees after 30 days of actual employment, a so-called "grace period." Moreover, union dues and fees may only be deducted from wages after a worker has filled out a union dues deduction authorization – a form union officials use to authorize employers to automatically withhold union dues from employee paychecks.

Olmos only worked for UPS from December 8 to December 24, did not join the union, and did not sign a dues deduction authorization. UPS nonetheless deducted full union dues from his wages. As a result, Olmos' first paycheck was for $0.

"UPS forced this worker to work effectively for free just before the Christmas holiday," said Mark Mix, president of National Right to Work. "This case demonstrates that California desperately needs a Right to Work law, which would make union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary."

"Only then will California's workers truly get to work to be paid and not have to pay in order to work," added Mix.

Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for employees. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the Right to Work principle of voluntary unionism.

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

Kroger Workers Win Hundreds in Federal Settlement After Grocery Union Bosses Ignore Right to Work Protections

UFCW bosses stonewalled Fort Wayne grocery workers' attempts to cut off forced dues confiscations

Fort Wayne, IN (February 2, 2015) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, two Fort Wayne Kroger workers have won a settlement after filing federal charges against a local union for ignoring their right to refrain from paying union dues.

In September 2014, Eleanor Haynes and Barbara Peter filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union Local 700.

Haynes and Peter resigned from the union and revoked their dues deduction authorizations – a document used by union officials to automatically collect dues from workers' paychecks – effective with the expiration of the union's contract with their employer. Under federal labor law, workers can unconditionally revoke their dues deduction authorizations when a contract between the union and their employer terminates. Under Indiana's popular Right to Work law, no worker can be required to join or pay any money to a union.

Despite the workers' efforts to exercise their rights, UFCW Local 700 union officials continued to confiscate union dues payments from their paychecks.

Per the terms of the settlement, Kroger and Local 700 union officials will refund Haynes $197.21 and union officials will refund Peter $169.73 in illegally-seized union dues, plus interest. The union hierarchy must also post a notice in the workplace informing other workers of their right to refrain from dues-paying union membership.

"These two Kroger workers followed all necessary procedures to exercise their legally-protected right to resign their union membership and cut off union dues to no avail," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Local 700 union officials relented and acknowledged these workers' rights only after the workers filed federal charges."

"This case underscores just how important Indiana's Right to Work law is for workers who want nothing to do with scofflaw union bosses," added Mix.

Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for private-sector workers. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the Right to Work principle of voluntary unionism.

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

Navy Helicopter Simulator Technician Files Federal Charge Against Local Union for Illegal Dues Demands

Case underscores needs for Right to Work protections

San Diego, CA (January 6, 2015) – A local Navy helicopter simulator maintenance technician, who works for a private contractor for the U.S. Navy, has filed a federal charge against a union and its local and regional affiliates for violating his rights.

With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, Cubic Worldwide Technical Services employee Abraham Perez filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

In July 2014, Perez filled out an International Association of Machinist (IAM) union dues deduction authorization – a form union officials use to automatically withhold union dues from employee paychecks – but declined to check the union membership box. In August 2014, Perez sent a letter resigning his union membership in the IAM union; its regional affiliate, District Lodge 725; and its local affiliate, Local Lodge 1125. His letter also objected to paying full dues.

Under federal labor law, workers have the right to refrain from formal union membership. However, because California does not have Right to Work protections for workers, nonmember workers can be forced to pay a part of union dues and fees.

As a result of the Foundation's U.S. Supreme Court victory in Communications Workers v. Beck, employees can refrain from paying for politics and many other union activities.

Despite Perez's union resignation, the IAM union hierarchy assessed full union dues against him. The IAM finally responded to Perez's letter in October but indicated that he had to wait another month before he could refrain from full union dues payments.

In the meantime, the IAM's regional affiliate, IAM District Lodge 725, sent him three confusing and misleading letters over two months demanding that he pay full union dues or face termination from his job. Moreover, Lodge 725 union officials charged Perez a "reinstatement fee" penalty for "administrative costs" that were only incurred because the union failed to process his dues deduction authorization.

"IAM union bosses are requiring workers to jump through hoops just to exercise their statutory right to refrain from paying full union dues," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case demonstrates that California desperately needs a Right to Work law, which would make union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary."

Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for employees. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the Right to Work principle of voluntary unionism.

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

MGM Casino, Local Union Face Federal Charges for Playing Fast and Loose with Worker's Rights

Case underscores importance of Right to Work protections for Michigan workers

Detroit, MI (January 6, 2015) – An area MGM Grand Detroit casino employee has filed federal charges against a local security guard union and the casino for blocking her from exercising her rights guaranteed under Michigan's Right to Work law.

With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, Johnnie Cullens of Detroit filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

On November 18, Cullens, an MGM Grand Detroit employee since 2001, delivered a letter to her employer and the Security, Police, and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA) Local 1111 union notifying them that she was resigning her union membership and revoking her union dues deduction authorization – a document used by union officials to collect dues from workers' paychecks. She also sent the letters by certified mail to the union on November 21.

Because the contract between the SPFPA Local 1111 union and MGM Grand Detroit has expired, Michigan's 2012 Right to Work law now applies to Cullens and her coworkers. Under Michigan's private-sector Right to Work law, no worker can be required to join or pay money to a union. Under federal labor law, employees can revoke their dues deduction authorizations once a contract ends.

Even though the company acknowledged Cullens' union membership resignation, MGM Grand Detroit has begun to confiscate a so-called "security fee" from her paychecks, apparently at SPFPA Local 1111 union officials' behest. Cullens' charge against the union alleges that the union has accepted the unlawfully deducted fee.

Since Michigan passed Right to Work protections for workers in 2012, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have assisted numerous public and private sector workers in exercising their rights under the state laws.

"Forced-dues hungry union officials are stonewalling workers' attempts to exercise their statutory rights under Michigan's Right to Work laws," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This latest case underscores once again how making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary empowers workers whose rights are violated by forced unionism."

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

International Paper Company and Steelworker Union Face Federal Charges for Violating Local Mill Worker's Rights

Union stonewalls worker's attempt to exercise rights to refrain from union membership and dues payments

Prattville, AL (January 6, 2015) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, an International Paper Company instrument electrician has filed federal charges against a local union and the company for violating his rights.

Clanton resident James Smith filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the United Steelworkers of America (USW) Local 1458 union and International Paper Co. for ignoring his right to refrain from paying union dues. Under Alabama's popular Right to Work law, no worker can be required to join or pay fees to a union as a condition of employment.

When Smith was hired in September 2004, he signed a Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers (PACE) International Union dues deduction authorization – a document union officials use to automatically collect dues from workers' paychecks. Later, PACE merged with the USW.

In October 2014, Smith delivered a letter to the USW union and its Local 1458 affiliate resigning his union membership and revoking his PACE union dues deduction authorization. In response, a Local 1458 union official told Smith that a USW dues deduction authorization, which Smith never signed, required that he wait until November 2 to resign his union membership and submit a revocation.

Smith sent another letter confirming his resignation and revocation on November 3. He was then told that the union would not get around to stopping dues deductions until it was "feasible."

Despite Smith's repeated requests to resign his union membership and stop dues payments, International Paper continues to confiscate full union dues from his paychecks at USW union officials' behest.

"USW union bosses are stonewalling this worker's attempts to exercise his rights under Alabama's Right to Work law to refrain from union membership and dues payments," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Schemes like this show that the ultimate goal of union officials is more forced dues collected from workers, even when rank-and-file employees want nothing to do with a union."

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

SEIU Officials, Santa Clara County Face Class-Action Lawsuit for Violating Employees' Rights

Relying on landmark Knox Supreme Court decision, county employees seek to end automatic dues deduction for union politics

San Jose, CA (December 3, 2014) – Two Santa Clara Valley Medical Center employees have filed a federal class-action lawsuit against a local union and the county that seeks to expand public employees' right to refrain from paying union dues used for union politics.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation-provided staff attorneys, San Jose-area county employees Jeffrey Lum and Andrew Li filed the lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California's San Jose Division.

Lum and Li are not formal union members in the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 521. Because California does not have a Right to Work law, workers can be required to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. However, nonmember workers have the right to refrain from paying for union boss politics and many other activities not related to bargaining with their employer.

Although Lum and Li are not union members, SEIU and county officials continue to deduct an amount equal to full union dues from their paychecks as if they were. Up to 14 months after taking full dues and fees from their paychecks, SEIU officials refund the illegally-seized portion of union dues, without interest. In the meantime, SEIU officials can illegally use the money on politics.

For example, SEIU Local 521 officials did not refund to Lum and Li the portion of dues illegally seized from their paychecks during 2013 until March 2014. The workers argue that this amounts to an unconstitutional interest-free loan to bankroll union boss politics.

This lawsuit also challenges existing lower federal court case law that requires nonmember public employees to pay an amount equal to full union dues -- including the part used for union politics – unless they affirmatively object. Workers who object also must renew their objections annually.

In its 2012 Foundation-won Knox v. SEIU ruling, in a case that originated in California, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an affirmative objection requirement for special assessments. The Court there indicated that it was ready to reassess whether union bosses' forced dues powers, which it called "something of an anomaly," include the power to use in any circumstances "an opt-out system for the collection of fees levied to cover nonchargeable expenses." Responding to that suggestion, the employees seek to expand Knox to apply to all instances when public employees refrain from union membership.

"Union bosses have government-granted power to compel workers to fund their political activities unless workers object -- a power granted to no other private organization in our country," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "The First Amendment right for workers who refrain from union membership to automatically not pay union dues for politics is long overdue."

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

New York Childcare Providers File Federal Lawsuit Challenging Forced Unionization Scheme

Childcare providers fight dictate to push childcare business owners into forced dues union ranks

Syracuse, NY (December 2, 2014) – A group of New York home-based childcare providers have filed a federal lawsuit challenging a 2007 executive order that greased the skids for the forced unionization of the state's home-based childcare providers. The providers seek a refund of illegally-seized union dues.

Mary Jarvis and nine other providers filed the suit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

Jarvis and the other providers challenge AFSCME-affiliated Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) union officials' monopoly political representation over thousands of providers in the state outside New York City who operate home-based childcare businesses.

The forced unionization scheme started under a 2007 executive order signed by disgraced former Governor Eliot Spitzer. The scheme was later codified in October 2010.

Home-based childcare and personal care providers, with Foundation attorneys' assistance, have challenged similar forced-unionization-by-government-fiat schemes in several states across the country, including Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Michigan. On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in Harris v. Quinn striking down the Illinois scheme, ruling that individuals who receive state subsidies based on their clientele cannot be forced to pay compulsory union fees. The next day, the Court cleared the path for 50,000 home childcare providers in Michigan to receive a refund of union dues illegally taken during Michigan's now-defunct unionization scheme.

Under the New York scheme, CSEA Local 100A union officials are empowered to confiscate forced dues and fees from over 7,200 childcare providers across the state for this forced "exclusive representation." The providers in this case also seek a refund of dues illegally seized by CSEA union officials over the past two years.

Foundation attorneys argue that such schemes violate the providers' First Amendment right to choose with whom they associate to petition the government. The government does not have the constitutional authority to force citizens to accept government's handpicked political representative to lobby itself.

"Citizens have the power to select their political representation in government, not the other way around," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This scheme, which forces small business owners, and even grandma taking care of her grandchildren, into union political association is a slap in the face of fundamental American principles we hold dear."

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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