Union Corruption, Violence and Intimidation 

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.
News Release

Worker Advocate Offers Legal Aid to Wisconsin Workers Seeking to Exercise Rights under New Right to Work Law

Foundation has long history of assisting workers seeking to refrain from union membership and dues payments

Washington, DC (March 10, 2015) – The National Right to Work Foundation is offering free legal aid to Wisconsin private-sector workers seeking to exercise their right under Wisconsin's newly-enacted Right to Work law to refrain from union membership and union dues payments.

On Monday, Governor Scott Walker signed the nation's newest Right to Work law, effective Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Under the law, workers will no longer be required to pay union dues as a condition of employment once the current union monopoly bargaining agreement in their workplace expires.

The National Right to Work Foundation has a long history of assisting employees seeking to exercise their Right to Work rights, most recently under Right to Work provisions enacted in Indiana and Michigan. Foundation attorneys also provided free legal representation to Wisconsin public-sector employees who sought to refrain from paying union dues or fees under Walker's 2011 public-sector union reforms, commonly referred to as "Act 10."

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

"No worker should ever be forced to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of their employment. That is why Wisconsin's new Right to Work law is a great advance for worker freedom. Today, workers in Wisconsin finally have Right to Work protections.

"Unfortunately, union officials won't give up their forced dues power easily. In addition to fighting Governor Walker in court, it won't be surprising to see them make it difficult for workers to exercise their rights. Workers who try to exercise those rights may encounter stonewalling, intimidation, or harassment at the hands of union officials.

"In response, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a charitable organization that provides free legal assistance to employees nationwide, has created a special task force to defend workers seeking to exercise their Right to Work.

"Affected employees are encouraged to call the Foundation's legal hotline toll-free at 1-800-336-3600 or contact the Foundation through its award-winning website at www.nrtw.org."

The National Right to Work Foundation issued a special legal notice to Wisconsin workers, which can be viewed here: www.nrtw.org/WisconsinRTW.

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

More Oil Refinery Workers File Federal Charge in Response to Steelworker Union Strike Intimidation

Union officials threatening workers who exercise their rights to continue working during union boss-ordered strike

Houston, TX (March 4, 2015) – In the wake of a recent federal charge filed against a local Steelworker union for intimidating Shell oil workers for refusing to abandon their jobs during the ongoing, highly-publicized United Steelworker (USW) union-instigated strike, three additional Houston-based oil refinery workers have filed a federal charge against the union.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, LyondellBasell Industries employees Yvonne Hendrix, Richard Jackson, and Kyle MacDonnell filed the unfair labor practice charge Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The charge alleges that USW Local 13-227 union officials are resorting to harassing, coercing, and threatening workers for refusing to abandon their jobs. Over the course of several meetings, a USW Local 13-227 union official has threatened workers who continue to work during the strike with job termination and other retaliation. Further, USW Local 13-227 union officials have allowed a union Facebook page to be used to communicate threats against workers who continue to work during the strike, and against employees who are contemplating returning to work.

Last week, Foundation attorneys also assisted Joseph Smith of Friendswood, Texas in filing a federal charge against the USW Local 13-1 union on similar grounds. At Smith's plant in Deer Park, roughly 150 of the approximately 800-large workforce have continued to work during the strike, with many resigning their membership in the USW Local 13-1 union, as is their right under federal labor law and Texas' popular Right to Work law. As the stream of workers resigning union membership and returning to work grows every day, it was reported that USW Local 13-1 union officials turned off their fax machine in an attempt to stop workers from exercising their right to resign and return to work.

"As USW union bosses lose support from rank-and-file workers, they have resorted to threats and intimidation against workers who have decided not to toe the union boss line and instead provide for their families," said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work. "It is indefensible that workers who resign their union membership and continue to work to support their families in defiance of the USW boss-ordered strike are now being harassed and threatened for exercising their rights."

In response to the high-profile strike, the National Right to Work Foundation recently issued a special legal notice to workers affected which lays out their rights under federal labor law: http://www.nrtw.org/en/special-legal-notice-usw-refinery-strike-02032015.

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 Urges Supreme Court to Take Case to Overturn Government Union Bosses Forced Dues Powers

Case builds on Foundation-won Supreme Court precedents

Washington, DC (March 2, 2015) – National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have filed a "friend of the Court" brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, urging it to hear a challenge to public-sector union officials' power to force America's civil servants into dues-paying ranks. Foundation attorneys filed the brief late Friday in support of the challenge, titled Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, brought by ten California teachers supported by the Center for Individual Rights.

Nearly 40 years ago, the Court ruled in the Foundation's Abood v. Detroit Board of Education case that public-sector workers can be compelled to pay union fees as a condition of employment, but have a constitutional right to refrain from the part used for union political and members-only activities. Since then, National Right to Work Foundation-assisted workers have repeatedly challenged government union officials' power to force public employees into union fee payments as a job condition.

In 2012, the Court suggested in the Right to Work Foundation-won Knox v. SEIU ruling that it was ready to reassess whether union officials' forced dues powers, which it called "something of an anomaly," violate workers' First Amendment rights. Responding to that suggestion, many workers have filed lawsuits seeking to eliminate forced unionism in America. Several of those cases are Foundation-supported.

In Knox's wake, the Court ruled last year in another Foundation-won case that individuals who indirectly receive state subsidies based on their clientele cannot be forced to pay union fees. This victory in Harris v. Quinn, a class-action suit filed by several Foundation-assisted Illinois homecare providers, renders unconstitutional similar homecare unionization schemes in at least 13 other states, freeing roughly 500,000 providers from forced union dues nationwide. Moreover, in Harris, the Court criticized Abood's allowance of any forced fees for public employees as "questionable on several grounds."

Foundation staff attorneys also are assisting nine airline fleet employees who are suing the Transport Workers Union of America to establish railroad and airline workers' right to refrain from paying any union dues or fees. In December 2014, a federal district court judge granted the case class-action status. Underscoring the case's significance, the Department of Justice then intervened in the case to defend the constitutionality of forced union fees.

In their Friedrichs brief, Foundation attorneys explain why the Court should take the case and strike down union officials' forced dues powers, describing the lessons learned from many cases involving workers who have struggled to stop paying for union politics against their will.

"Union bosses have abused their extraordinary government-granted power to compel workers to fund their political activities unless workers object – a power granted no other private organization in our country – for far too long," said Mark Mix, president of National Right to Work. "The First Amendment right of workers who refrain from union membership to automatically not pay union dues at all, especially 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

Shell Oil Refinery Worker Files Federal Charge in Wake of Steelworker Union Strike Intimidation

Union officials threatening workers who refused to abandon their jobs

Houston, TX (February 24, 2015) – As the highly-publicized United Steelworker (USW) union-instigated strike against oil refineries continues, a Shell Oil Company refinery worker has filed a federal charge against a local Steelworker union for intimidating workers for refusing to abandon their jobs.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Joseph Smith of Friendswood, Texas filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

At Smith's plant in Deer Park, roughly 150 of the approximately 800-large workforce have continued to work during the strike, with many resigning their membership in the USW Local 13-1 union, as is their right under federal labor law and Texas' popular Right to Work law. As the stream of workers resigning union membership and returning to work grows every day, it was reported that USW Local 13-1 union officials turned off their fax machine in an attempt to stop workers from exercising their right to resign and return to work.

Smith's unfair labor practice charge alleges that USW Local 13-1 union officials are resorting to harassing, coercing, and threatening workers for refusing to abandon their jobs. Further, USW Local 13-1 union officials have allowed the union's website and Facebook page to be used to communicate threats against workers who continue to work during the strike.

"USW union bosses are trying to punish workers who have the courage not to toe the union boss line and instead provide for their families," said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work. "It is indefensible that workers who resign their union membership and continue to work to support their families in defiance of the USW boss-ordered strike are now being harassed and threatened for exercising their rights."

In response to the high-profile strike, the National Right to Work Foundation recently issued a special legal notice to workers affected which lays out their rights under federal labor law: http://www.nrtw.org/en/special-legal-notice-usw-refinery-strike-02032015.

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

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

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

Kaiser Permanente Nurse Files Federal Charge Against Union for Violating Disclosure Guidelines

Case underscores need for Right to Work protections to make union membership and dues payment strictly voluntary

Sacramento, CA (January 29, 2015) – A local Kaiser Permanente nurse has filed a federal charge against the California Nurses Association (CNA) union for violating her rights and failing to follow federal disclosure requirements.

With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento nurse Elizabeth Wilber filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

On November 16, 2014, Wilber sent a letter resigning her union membership in the CNA union. Her 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 or be fired from their job.

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. Union officials must also provide workers with an independently-audited financial breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures and the opportunity to challenge the amount of forced union fees before an impartial decision maker.

Despite Wilber's union resignation, the CNA union hierarchy has refused to follow the federal disclosure requirements outlined under Beck and its progeny.

"CNA union bosses are keeping this nurse in the dark about their forced-dues expenditures by skirting federal disclosure guidelines," 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

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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