Illegal Forced Dues and Money for Politics 

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.
News Release

National Right to Work Foundation Responds to Dane County Circuit Court’s Ruling against Wisconsin’s Right to Work Law

Questionable local court ruling threatens popular Right to Work law that protects Wisconsin employees from mandatory union dues

Dane County, WI (April 8, 2016) – Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, issued the following statement regarding the Dane County Circuit Court’s ruling against Wisconsin’s recently-enacted Right to Work law:

“Right to Work laws have been passed by 26 states and have been repeatedly upheld in state and federal court. However, that didn’t stop a lone Dane County Circuit Court judge from ruling against Wisconsin’s Right to Work law on extremely questionable grounds. According to the Court’s dubious reasoning, the State of Wisconsin cannot protect employees from union bosses who threaten to have them fired for refusing to pay dues or fees to a union they don’t support.

“This isn’t the first time a Dane County Circuit Court judge has overreached. Another judge previously struck down Governor Scott Walker’s Act 10 public-sector union reforms, a decision that was decisively reversed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

“Contrary to the union’s misrepresentations which the judge disingenuously accepted, it is union bosses who choose to exercise monopoly control over all workers, including those who oppose the union and who feel they would be better off without union officials’ imposed ‘representation.’ Without Right to Work protections, the injustice that workers face by having an unwanted union imposed on them against their will is compounded by the injustice of being forced to pay a portion of their hard-earned paychecks to union officials they oppose.

“Fortunately for Wisconsin workers, this Dane County judge’s ruling is not the final word on the matter. An appeal of this decision is certain, and we are confident that Wisconsin’s Right to Work law will ultimately be upheld by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.”

Staff attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation along with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty represented pro-Right to Work Wisconsin employees in the case by filing an amicus brief. In addition veteran Foundation staff attorney Milton Chappell participated in the oral argument for the employees seeking to defend the Right to Work law. Foundation staff attorneys are also representing Wisconsin employees in enforcing the law. Both the U.S. Court of Appeals and the Indiana Supreme Court recently rejected the same arguments made by the unions in this case.

Wisconsin employees seeking assistance in exercising their rights under Wisconsin’s Right to Work protections can contact the Foundation for free legal aid by calling 1-800-336-3600 or by going to 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

Wisconsin Employees Hit Union Officials with Charges for Blocking their Attempts to Leave Union, Stop Paying Dues

IAM officials ignored employees’ resignation requests when they tried to exercise their rights under Wisconsin’s Right to Work law

Sparta, WI (March 24, 2016) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, two Northern Engraving Corporation employees have filed federal unfair labor practice charges against their employer and the International Association of Machinists Lodge No. 1771 (IAM) union. According to charges filed by Sharon Kirchner and Julie Anderson, union and company officials violated federal law by ignoring their attempts to resign from the union and stop paying union dues.

Under Wisconsin’s recently-enacted Right to Work law, no employee can be forced to join or pay dues to a union to keep a job. Although Kirchner and Anderson previously belonged to the IAM, they both sent letters to their employer and the union within the past six months announcing their decision to resign and stop paying dues.

Not only did union officials fail to respond to Kirchner and Anderson’s resignation letters, they also ignored similar requests from other Northern Engraving employees. To this date, Northern Engraving continues to deduct – and IAM officials continue to collect – full union dues from Kirchner and Anderson’s paychecks.

The employees’ charges will now be investigated by Region 18 of the National Labor Relations Board, a federal agency responsible for administering private sector labor law.

“The passage of Wisconsin’s Right to Work law was a significant victory for employee rights,” said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “However, Wisconsin workers will only benefit if their rights to refrain from union membership and the payment of union dues are vigorously enforced. That’s why we stepped in to take this case.”

“Any other Wisconsin employee who faces obstructionist tactics when attempting to exercise his or her right to leave a union and stop paying union dues should contact the National Right to Work Foundation immediately for free legal assistance,” added Semmens.

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

NIH Parking Attendants File Charges against Union for Forcing Them to Join, Pay Union Dues

Union and parking contractor collaborated to foist unwanted union “representation” on employees

Bethesda, MD (March 8, 2016) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, 14 National Institute of Health (NIH) parking attendants have filed federal unfair labor practice charges against a federal contractor and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 27 union for violating their workplace rights. According to the charges, union and company officials coerced employees at the Bethesda NIH facility into acceding to unionization and then demanded they all pay full union dues to keep their jobs.

In October 2015, Penn Parking replaced Colonial Parking as the parking contractor at the Bethesda NIH campus. Penn officials then told the employees, many of whom had worked for NIH for years, that they could only keep their jobs if they signed union membership and dues deduction cards. Although these were signed under duress, union officials used the cards to begin collecting full dues from these employees.

Not only did UFCW officials bypass the proper legal procedures that determine whether a group of employees unionize, they also violated federal labor law by telling the employees that they must become dues-paying union members to keep their jobs. Union officials and employers are legally prohibited from requiring anyone to formally join a union as a condition of employment.

The NIH later determined that Penn Parking was wrongly given the contract, and the company is now in the process of being replaced by another contractor. However, union officials insist that they continue to “represent” the parking attendants, despite the fact that these employees were coerced into joining the union in the first place.

The charges will now be investigated by the National Labor Relations Board, a federal agency that administers private sector labor law.

“These employees were forced to join and pay dues to a union they had no interest in supporting,” said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “That’s outrageous, which is why Foundation staff attorneys intervened to defend their workplace rights.”

“Aside from highlighting the union’s coercive organizing tactics, this episode also demonstrates the need for a Maryland Right to Work law, which would protect employees from being forced to pay any union dues at all to keep a job,” added Semmens.

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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