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.
The monopoly bargaining agreement contains a “union security” clause requiring the forced payment of union dues as a condition of employment. However, Michigan’s Right to Work law prohibits such clauses. The collective bargaining agreement between the union and Avondale was entered into and went into effect after March 28, 2013, the effective date of Michigan’s Right to Work law.
The complaint details how some of the workers resigned their membership in the union and were coerced into rejoining after they were misled and told they would lose their jobs if they did not join or pay fees. Michigan’s and the 24 other states' Right to Work laws give protection and free choice to workers who do not wish to join or pay dues to a union.
Foundation staff attorneys have extensive experience defending state Right to Work laws in federal and state courts, including Michigan’s Right to Work Law, which just last year was upheld in a legal challenge brought in federal court. Currently Foundation staff attorneys are helping workers in more than 20 legal actions to enforce Michigan worker’s right to exercise their Right to Work protections.
“This AFSCME ploy is a direct assault on worker freedom, and blatantly violates Michigan’s Right to Work Law,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “To be truly effective, Right to Work Laws must be defended in court and enforced. No worker should ever be forced to pay union dues or fees to keep his or her job, which is why we applaud these workers for standing up and fighting for their legal rights under Michigan’s Right to Work Law.”