Illegal Forced Dues and Money for Politics 

News Release

Arizona Fry's Employees Take Federal Challenge to Illegal Union Dues Scheme to DC Appeals Court

Obama Labor Board rubberstamps years of suspected widespread abuse

Washington, DC (April 22, 2015) – Seven Phoenix-area Fry's Food Stores employees have appealed their federal case filed after United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 99 union and company officials refused to honor their legal right to refrain from union dues payments.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Shirley Jones of Mesa; Karen Medley and Elaine Brown of Apache Junction; Kimberly Stewart and Saloomeh Hardy of Queen Creek; and Tommy and Janette Fuentes of Florence – acting for other similarly situated employees – filed federal unfair labor practice charges in December 2009 that spurred the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to investigate and issue a statewide complaint against UFCW Local 99 union officials.

In the midst of a well-publicized UFCW Local 99 union-threatened strike in November 2009, the employees resigned their UFCW union membership and revoked their dues deduction authorizations – a document used by union officials to automatically withhold dues from employee paychecks – while the UFCW union did not have a contract at their workplaces. Despite the employees' best efforts to halt the dues seizures, Fry's continued to illegally deduct dues from the employee's paychecks for the UFCW union hierarchy.

Under Arizona's popular Right to Work law, no worker can be required to join or pay any money to a union, and under federal labor law, if there is no longer a bargaining agreement in effect between a union and an employer, employees can revoke their dues deduction authorizations at any time.

After a four month long investigation, the Phoenix NLRB regional director initiated a prosecution against UFCW Local 99 union officials for enforcing illegal dues deduction authorizations that do not allow employees to revoke them during contract hiatus periods, contrary to federal law. However, an NLRB administrative law judge rubberstamped the scheme. The NLRB in Washington, D.C. now has upheld the ruling on appeal a second time. The NLRB previously rubberstamped the ruling in a decision later invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in Noel Canning that the Board lacked a valid quorum after President Obama's unconstitutional 2012 NLRB "recess appointments."

The seven Fry's employees are again appealing the NRLB's ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

"The Obama NLRB has rubberstamped UFCW Local 99 bosses' years of suspected abuse and violation of thousands of workers’ rights across the state of Arizona," said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "We applaud these workers' pursuit for justice on behalf of thousands of workers who may have been illegally forced into paying union dues in violation of Arizona's Right to Work law."

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

Local Sheet Metal Factory Workers File Federal Charges against Machinist Union and Company

Case underscores need for Wisconsin's new Right to Work law

Allenton, WI (April 22, 2015) – Three Maysteel, LLC sheet metal fabrication factory workers have filed federal charges against a local Machinist union and the company for violating their rights.

With the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Daniel Sarauer of Campbellsport, Dan Zastrow of Mayville, and Daryl Bartsch of Oakfield filed the charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Milwaukee.

International Association of Machinists (IAM) Local Lodge 2053 union officials currently enjoy monopoly bargaining control over the Maysteel workers' workplace. Previously, the three workers resigned their union membership and exercised their right upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Foundation-won Communications Workers v. Beck case to refrain from paying for union political activities and member-only events. Even though they are not union members, they have still been forced to accept the union hierarchy's so-called representation and pay union fees as a condition of employment.

Under Wisconsin's Right to Work law making union dues payments completely voluntary, contracts entered into after the law went into effect must respect workers’ right to refrain from the payment of any union dues.

The three workers have since made multiple requests of the IAM union and the company for copies of their union dues deduction authorizations – a document union officials use to take dues or fees from workers' paychecks. IAM Local 2053 union officials have refused to provide the workers with copies of their dues deduction authorizations. Meanwhile, company officials have maintained that they do not have any copies of the forms.

"To keep their forced-dues gravy train going as long as possible, Machinist union officials are stonewalling these workers' requests to learn when they will be able to refrain from paying union dues or fees under Wisconsin's new Right to Work law," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Schemes like this underscore the importance Wisconsin's new Right to Work law has for workers who want to exercise their right to refrain from union affiliation once the law applies to their workplaces."

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

Fort Leonard Wood Food Service Employees Win Refunds in Federal Settlement over Illegal Union Dues Seizures

Company and union officials obstructed workers from exercising rights to refrain from union membership and dues payments

Fort Leonard Wood, MO (April 14, 2015) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, two Fort Leonard Wood food service workers have won a federal settlement from a local union for violating their and several of their coworkers' rights.

In November 2014, Kimsha Rosensteel, an 11-year employee with the Overland Park, Kansas-based food services provider EDP Enterprises, Inc., and coworker Stephanie Fenton filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) Local R14-139 union. Rosensteel later filed a charge against the company.

Because Missouri does not have Right to Work protections for workers, workers can be required to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. However, under Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court precedent, nonmember workers can refrain from paying for union boss politics and many other activities unrelated to bargaining and contract administration.

Rosensteel, a former NAGE Local R14-139 union president, and Fenton filed the federal charges after NAGE union officials stonewalled several workers' requests to refrain from formal, dues-paying union membership and refused to follow federal disclosure requirements designed to better inform workers of their rights.

Company management entered into a settlement with Rosensteel after the NLRB initiated a prosecution in November 2014 against the company and the union based on her charge.

Under the terms of the settlement with NAGE Local R14-139 union officials, the union hierarchy will refund 14 EDP employees dues illegally seized from their paychecks, totaling $1,580.70.

"It is sad that workers have to resort to federal legal action in order to exercise their rights," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores the need for Missouri to pass Right to Work protections for its workers."

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

Teamster Union Faces Federal Charge for Violating Machinery Manufacturing Company Worker’s Rights

Teamster union officials retaliate against workers who exercise rights under Texas' popular Right to Work law

Longview, TX (April 14, 2015) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a Crosby Group/Lebus Manufacturing Company worker has filed a federal charge against a local Teamsters union for violating her rights.

White Oak resident Sammie Monroe filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Teamsters Local 568 for threatening her for exercising her right to refrain from paying union dues. Under Texas' popular Right to Work law, no worker can be required to join or pay fees to a union as a condition of employment.

Even though Monroe resigned her formal union membership and now refrains from paying dues, she must still accept Teamster Local 568 union officials’ so-called "representation." Because Teamster union officials have claimed monopoly bargaining privilege to speak for and control all workers, including nonmembers like Monroe, they must fairly represent all the workers in the bargaining unit.

However, Teamster Local 568 union officials have threatened Monroe and other workers in the workplace who refrain (or are considering to refrain) from union membership, stating that they will refuse to represent the workers if they have a grievance against the company unless they pay the union hierarchy a fee.

"Teamster union bosses are retaliating against workers who are exercising their legally-protected right to resign from dues-paying union membership under Texas' popular Right to Work law," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Much to Teamsters union bosses' chagrin, if they insist on having monopoly bargaining powers over workers, then they cannot punish those workers for exercising their Right to Work."

The charge will be investigated by the NLRB regional office in Houston.

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

Part-time Fry's Pharmacy Tech Hits Grocery Union Officials with Federal Charge for Violating His Rights

Union bosses continue to stonewall college student's attempts to exercise rights under Arizona's popular Right to Work law

Phoenix, AZ (April 14, 2015) – A Fry's Food and Drugstore pharmacy technician and Arizona State University (ASU) student has filed a federal charge against the United Food and Commercial Worker (UFCW) Local 99 union for stonewalling his attempts to exercise his rights to refrain from union membership and dues payments under Arizona's popular Right to Work law.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Phoenix resident Travis Prall filed the unfair labor practice charge last Wednesday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Under Arizona's Right to Work law, no worker can be required to join or pay fees to a union as a condition of employment.

Prall, an ASU biology student, began working for Fry's in December 2013. In January 2015, Prall, seeking to resign his union membership and revoke his union dues deduction form, made several calls to the union hierarchy to find the exact dates during which he could resign his union membership. He never received a response.

On February 3, Prall sent a letter to the union resigning his union membership. The next day, the union rejected his membership resignation because his letter did not contain a written signature. Prall immediately sent a second, signed letter in response. On February 24, UFCW Local 99 union officials sent a letter accepting Prall's union membership resignation but denied his dues deduction authorization revocation because it did not fall in the union's 15-day "window period." However, UFCW union officials have still refused to inform Prall what the 15-day "window period" is.

"UFCW union bosses are stonewalling this student, who is working part-time to help pay his way through college, about how he can exercise his legally-protected right to resign from dues-paying union membership," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This blatant abuse of power by UFCW bosses must stop immediately."

The charge will be investigated by the NLRB regional office in Phoenix.

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

State Troopers File Federal Lawsuit against Connecticut State Police Union

Union bosses violate Connecticut state police troopers' rights by failing to comply with U.S. Supreme Court protections for nonmember employees

Hartford, CT (March 30, 2015) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, four Connecticut state troopers have filed a federal lawsuit against the Connecticut State Police Union (CSPU) and the state for violating their rights and refusing to follow federal disclosure requirements.

State trooper Marc Lamberty resigned from formal union membership in the CSPU and invoked his right to refrain from paying full union dues in June 2011. Troopers Joseph Mercer, Carson Konow, and Collin Konow did so in November 2014.

The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that workers have the unconditional right to refrain from union membership at any time. Even though the state troopers are not CSPU members, they must still accept union officials' monopoly bargaining "representation," and because Connecticut does not have a Right to Work law, union officials can compel the troopers into paying union fees as a condition of employment.

The Supreme Court ruled in the Foundation's Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson case that union officials must provide nonmember public employees with an independently-audited breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures and the opportunity to object and challenge the amount of forced union fees before an impartial decision maker. These minimal safeguards are designed to ensure that workers have an opportunity to refrain from paying for union political activities and member-only events.

Despite these limited protections, the state continues to deduct, and union officials continue to receive, full union dues from the officers' paychecks as if they are union members. Further, despite the officers' requests that union officials acknowledge their rights and provide them with the financial breakdown of union expenditures, union officials refuse to comply with Hudson's requirements.

The troopers seek refunds of the amount of forced union dues payments illegally taken from their paychecks and to enjoin future collection of any dues or fees until union officials follow the law.

"Once again, union officials are keeping rank-and-file state troopers in the dark to keep their forced-dues gravy train going," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "To prevent these types of forced unionism abuses in the future, Connecticut needs to pass a Right to Work law making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary for all of its workers."

Twenty-five 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

Family Child Care Providers' Class-Action Lawsuit Spurs SEIU Officials to Back Down from Forced Dues Demands

Home-based child care providers challenge forced unionization law; seek refund of illegally-seized union dues

Olympia, WA (March 27, 2015) – The day after a group of family child care providers filed a federal class-action lawsuit challenging a 2006 law that authorizes the forcible unionization of Washington State's 12,000 home-based child care providers, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 925 officials sent a letter to providers in the state dropping their forced dues demands.

The development comes immediately in the wake of a federal lawsuit filed by Cindy Mentele and three other providers from around the state with free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys in conjunction with the Freedom Foundation. The lawsuit, which names Governor Jay Inslee in addition to SEIU Local 925, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

The child care providers' lawsuit challenges the forced-unionism scheme on the grounds that it violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of free political expression and association. National Right to Work Foundation attorneys argue that such schemes violate providers' First Amendment right to choose with whom they associate to petition the government because the government does not have the constitutional authority to force citizens to accept its handpicked political representative to lobby itself.

The child care providers also seek repayment of union fees illegally taken from them by the Governor, and given to SEIU Local 925, over the past three years.

Home-based child care and personal care providers, with Right to Work Foundation attorneys' assistance, have challenged similar forced-unionization-by-government-fiat schemes in several states across the country, including Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and New York. On June 30, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in Harris v. Quinn, argued by Right to Work Foundation attorneys, 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 Court did not rule on whether providers can be forced to accept the union's so-called representation under a monopoly bargaining scheme.

"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. "Although a positive first step, this letter doesn't begin to address the gross violations this forced unionism scheme inflicts on Washington State’s child care providers' First Amendment rights of free expression and association."

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

Act 10 Lawsuit Judgment Strikes Down Forced Dues Contracts between Kenosha School District and Unions

Bargaining agreements between unions and the school district violated Wisconsin's public-sector labor reform statute

Kenosha, WI (March 27, 2015) – In a lawsuit filed by current and former Kenosha public school teachers, a state court has struck down monopoly bargaining agreements between the Kenosha Unified School District and School Board and three local unions as illegal under Wisconsin's 2011 public-sector unionism reforms commonly referred to as Act 10.

Current Kenosha school teacher Carrie Ann Glembocki and former Kenosha school teacher Kristi LaCroix filed the lawsuit in November 2013, with free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. The lawsuit challenged bargaining agreements between the District and officials from the Kenosha Education Association union, the SEIU Local 168 union, and the AFSCME Local 2383 union. Those agreements required teachers and other District staff to pay union dues or fees to keep their jobs.

Under Wisconsin's 2011 Act 10 labor reforms, most public-sector employees cannot be forced to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of employment or accept unwanted union representation for matters other than base wages. In November 2013, however, the Kenosha School Board approved bargaining agreements with unions covering numerous subjects Act 10 prohibits, including a provision that allowed union officials to collect dues from all District employees, including nonmembers.

The lawsuit prompted the District and the local school board to enter into a settlement with the teachers in June 2014 declaring their collective bargaining agreements with the unions null and void. The settlement also required the District and school board to refrain from forcing teachers and other staff to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

The lawsuit continued against the three unions because they were not parties to the settlement.

"This ruling holds that Kenosha public school employees cannot be forced to pay union dues or fees to get or keep a job in violation of Act 10," said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This judgment affirms once again that union officials are not above the law."

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

State Employees Move to Defend Rauner's Federal Challenge to Government Union Bosses' Forced Dues Powers

Legal action argues forced union dues and fees for government employees violates the First Amendment protections of free speech and freedom of association

Washington, DC (March 23, 2015) – Three Illinois state employees have moved to intervene in support of Governor Bruce Rauner's federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of union officials' power to force nonmember state employees to pay union fees as a condition of employment.

The three state employees, Mark Janus, Marie Quigley, and Brian Trygg, filed the motion to intervene in the lawsuit today with legal assistance from staff attorneys with the National Right to Work Foundation and the Illinois Policy Institute's Liberty Justice Center.

Governor Rauner issued an executive order in February that instructs all state agencies to put in escrow, pending the outcome of the federal lawsuit filed the same day, all forced union-fee deductions from nonmember state employees' wages required by Illinois' public-sector labor relations statute.

The Governor's lawsuit asks that a judgment be entered declaring unconstitutional the provisions of state collective bargaining agreements that require nonmember state employees to pay union fees, a judgment that would effectively grant those workers Right to Work protections.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court suggested in its Foundation-won Knox v. SEIU ruling that it was ready to reassess whether union bosses' forced dues powers, which it called "something of an anomaly" in American jurisprudence, violate civil servants' First Amendment rights. Then last year, in the Foundation-won Harris v. Quinn case that originated in Illinois, the Court struck down compulsory union fees for homecare providers who indirectly receive state subsidies based on their clientele. In Harris, a majority of the Court characterized public-sector union officials' forced dues powers as "questionable on several grounds."

Governor Rauner's lawsuit seeks to apply the Court's reasoning in these cases to free Illinois state employees from compulsory union fees.

"Governor Rauner's actions may give Illinois public employees the Right to Work protections they so desperately need and deserve," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "We applaud these civil servants for stepping up in support of their First Amendment right to not subsidize union officials' agenda in order to work for their own government."

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

NJ Public Safety Deputy Attorney General Files Federal Suit against IBEW Union

IBEW union officials fail to follow federal disclosure guidelines while requiring deputy AG to pay mandatory union fees

Trenton, NJ (March 20, 2015) – A New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety Deputy Attorney General has filed a federal lawsuit against a local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) affiliate for violating his rights and refusing to follow federal disclosure requirements.

James Bennett filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

Even though Bennett is not a member of the IBEW Local 33 union, he must still accept union officials' monopoly bargaining "representation." Further, IBEW Local 33 union officials force him and other nonmembers at his workplace to pay the equivalent of 85 percent of full union dues, the maximum amount allowed under state law, as a condition of employment.

The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that workers have the unconditional right to refrain from union membership at any time. However, because New Jersey does not have a Right to Work law, union officials can compel nonmember workers into paying union dues and fees as a condition of employment.

The Supreme Court ruled in the Foundation's Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson case that union officials must provide nonmember public workers with an independently-audited breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures and the opportunity to object and challenge the amount of forced union fees before an impartial decision maker. This minimal safeguard is designed to ensure that workers have an opportunity to refrain from paying for union political activities and member-only events.

Bennett's suit alleges that although Local 33 union officials purportedly charge him the maximum amount of forced union fees allowed under state law, they have failed to follow the federal disclosure requirements outlined by the U.S. Supreme Court in Hudson.

Bennett is asking the court to stop the illegal union deductions from his paychecks and order a refund of all illegally-seized union dues and fees, plus interest.

"To keep their forced-dues gravy train going, IBEW union officials are keeping public servants in the dark about their rights," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores why New Jersey needs to follow the example most recently set by Wisconsin and pass a Right to Work law making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary."

Twenty-five 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.

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