Union Corruption, Violence and Intimidation 

News Release

Truck Driver Files Federal Charge Challenging UAW Scheme to Intimidate Workers Exercising Their Right to Work

Union officials stonewall workers' attempts to exercise their rights under Michigan’s Right to Work law

Detroit, MI (October 10, 2014) – A local truck driver has filed federal charges against a local United Auto Workers (UAW) union for using intimidation and coercion to stop her from exercising her rights under Michigan's Right to Work law.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, CEVA Logistics U.S., Inc. truck driver Kathleen Sulkowski filed the charge Wednesday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Detroit.

According to the charge, Sulkowski sent a letter in August exercising her right to resign UAW union membership and refrain from paying union dues. Under Michigan's Right to Work law, no worker can be forced to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of employment.

On September 18, 2014, a UAW Local 600 union official sent Sulkowski a letter denying her request. Further, the UAW union official demanded that she show up in person and provide photo identification in order for her to exercise her rights.

"Across the state, union officials are pulling out all the stops to keep workers from exercising their rights under Michigan's Right to Work law," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "UAW union officials' latest tactic to show up in person and furnish photo identification is designed to dissuade or intimidate workers from exercising their rights to refrain from membership."

"On the UAW's website, the union hierarchy opposes what it calls 'outrageous voter ID laws' but apparently union officials have no problem requiring ID for workers who want to resign and cut off union dues, including dues money spent to promote the union boss position on voter ID legislation," continued Mix.

Foundation staff attorneys are assisting several workers in cases across Michigan challenging union officials' schemes to stonewall workers attempts to exercise their rights under the state'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

Construction Worker Files Federal Charges Against LIUNA Union and Company for Illegal Firing

Thuggish union boss behavior underscores need for Colorado Right to Work law

Colorado Springs, CO (September 9, 2014) – A former Michels Corporation construction worker has filed federal charges against the company and a local union for violating his rights and illegally firing him for refusing to pay union dues.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Paul Castle of Fountain filed the federal unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Shortly after Michels hired Castle in August 4, 2014, Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 578 union officials demanded he join the union and pay union dues as a condition of his employment.

Because Colorado does not have Right to Work protections for workers, nonmember workers can be forced to pay union fees as a condition of employment. However, because of a Foundation-won Supreme Court precedent, Communication Workers v. Beck, workers cannot be compelled to pay the portion of union dues used for the union's political and member-only activities. Union officials are also legally obligated to inform workers of these rights and to provide workers with an independently verified audit of chargeable and non-chargeable expenses.

Castle alleges that when he notified LIUNA Local 578 union officials that he was refraining from union membership and full dues payments, union officials stated that they would not comply with the procedural requirements established under Beck. Furthermore, union officials refused Castle's good faith efforts to pay the union for dues they claimed he owed.

On August 19, union officials sent a letter to Castle demanding he pay union dues for the months of August and September 2014 or he would be fired. Despite Castle's efforts to pay the union the full dues he supposedly owed, he was fired at LIUNA union officials' behest the next day. Adding insult to injury, Michels automatically deducted union dues from his final paycheck.

"No worker should be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This thuggish refusal by union officials to follow even the basic federal statutory protections for workers underscores why Colorado needs to pass a Right to Work law making union membership 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

Local Security Guards Win Federal Settlement to End Illegal Forced Union Dues Payments

Case underscores need for Maryland Right to Work law

White Oak, MD (September 9, 2014) – Four local Coastal International Security, Inc. security guards have won a federal settlement from a local union and their employer for illegally forcing them into paying union dues and fees.

The settlement comes in the wake of federal charges filed by the security guards with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

In December, Coastal security guard Karif King, who has been employed by Coastal International since 2008, and his coworkers voted to deauthorize the "Union Rights for Security Officers" union, thus revoking the union's power to force nonmember workers into forced dues payments. Federal law requires that union officials cease forcing nonmember workers into forced dues payments upon request if a majority of workers vote to deauthorize the union's forced dues powers.

King and his coworkers Pius Eroraha, Obi Orji, and Grace Rayemo filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after union officials continued to force the workers into forced dues payments despite the workers' effort to revoke the union hierarchy's forced dues powers.

Coastal International also faced charges for its role in assisting the union in the collection of union dues payments despite the workers' repeated requests for the union dues and fees payments to cease.

The settlement requires the union hierarchy to return all illegally-seized union dues, plus interest, and to post informational notices in the workplace informing workers of their right to refrain from union dues or fees.

"These security guards had to file federal charges to force union officials and Coastal International Security management to back off from forcing workers into illegal union dues payments," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores why Maryland needs to pass a Right to Work law making union membership and dues payments completely voluntary."

Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for 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

Labor Day Statement: "Despite Big Victories for Worker Freedom, More Work Remains"

Gains threatened by union bosses' power grabs via government fiat

Washington, DC (August 29, 2014) – Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and National Right to Work Committee, released the following statement regarding this year's Labor Day holiday:

"This Labor Day, many workers will enjoy a well-deserved long weekend. But as we celebrate the gains for workplace freedoms workers have made across the country, union officials are working aggressively to protect and expand their forced dues powers through government fiat.

"This year, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have assisted tens of thousands of workers nationwide achieve victories for workplace freedom. In America's newest Right to Work state, a growing number of workers from across Michigan are joining the fight to protect their Right to Work free from union compulsion.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, when given a chance to vote, staved off unwanted unionization, overcoming a coercive card check campaign, pushed by company management and United Auto Workers union officials.

"And in Illinois, parents and other family members of special needs individuals successfully challenged a government unionization scheme at the U.S. Supreme Court. In that case, now-imprisoned former Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich and current Governor Pat Quinn issued executive orders forcing home-based personal care providers into SEIU ranks. The effects of that ruling are reverberating across the nation, and thousands of home-based personal care and childcare providers have been freed from forced union dues or fees.

"Despite these big victories for worker freedom, more work remains. Millions of American workers are still compelled to pay dues or fees to union officials as a condition of getting or keeping a job. And millions more workers are required by law to accept a union's so-called 'representation,' even if they would rather negotiate with their employer on their own merits.

"Not satisfied with these unique coercive powers, union officials continue to spend billions of workers’ money on politics and lobbying seeking to expand their reach over American workers.

"That's why the National Right to Work Committee and its 2.8 million members are leading the fight for a National Right to Work Act making union affiliation completely voluntary – a principle supported by three out of four Americans.

"Although union officials have powerful friends in the Obama Administration, the National Right to Work organizations will continue to fight back against government-backed union boss power grabs and the resulting injustices they inflict upon American 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

Three Years Later, Workers Ask for Secret Ballot Vote After Obama Labor Board Kills Card Check Protections

NLRB's ruling removing workers' protection against card check unionization exposed as a farce

Houston, TX (August 12, 2014) – Three years after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) eliminated workers' right to challenge union card check recognition with a secret ballot vote, the very workers involved in that case have petitioned for an election to remove the unwanted union from their workplace.

In 2007, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys secured a new NLRB precedent in Dana Corp. which held that workers may collect signatures to request a secret ballot election during a 45-day window period following notice that their employer has recognized a union based on a card check organizing drive. The ruling was intended to counteract coercive practices frequently associated with card checks, which allow organizers to bully or mislead employees into signing cards that count as "votes" toward unionization.

In 2011, the Obama NLRB overturned the Dana precedent in Lamons Gasket. In that case, the NLRB denied the gasket and bolt manufacturing workers, and thousands of workers nationwide since, the right to challenge union card check recognition with a secret ballot vote. As a result, workers currently must wait up to three years after the date of the first monopoly bargaining agreement between their employer and union officials before they can file a petition for a secret ballot vote.

Now, almost three years to the date since the NLRB overturned Dana, Lamons Gasket workers, with the help of Foundation attorneys, filed for a secret ballot election to remove the United Steelworker union bosses who obtained control over their workplace through a coercive card check campaign. The election is now scheduled for August 20, 2014.

"The Obama NLRB has denied justice for these Lamons Gasket workers for three years," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Now that these workers finally have the overdue opportunity to determine their own union representation, this case proves once again that the Obama Labor Board's contorted ruling to kill the Dana Corp. precedent is a complete farce designed to further empower union operatives to steamroll workers into union ranks."

"President Obama and his hand-picked bureaucrats, operating under the guise of upholding federal labor law that purports to protect worker rights, are striving to make it next to impossible for independent-minded workers to stand up for their rights or remove an unwanted union hierarchy," added Mix.

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 Supreme Court Victory Forces SEIU to Abandon Forced Dues Demands in Illinois, Minnesota, & Massachusetts

National Right to Work Foundation attorneys build on Harris precedent to aid home-based personal care providers forced into union ranks

Washington, DC (August 5, 2014) – In the wake of a National Right to Work Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court victory in June, government union bosses from across the country are now abandoning their forced dues demands on home-based personal care and childcare providers.

On June 30, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in a case concerning whether Illinois homecare providers can be forced into union ranks against their will. The case, Harris v. Quinn, is a class-action lawsuit litigated by Foundation staff attorneys and filed by eight Illinois care providers after Illinois Governors signed executive orders rendering them vulnerable to unwanted union representation.

The Court struck down the scheme, ruling that individuals who indirectly receive state subsidies based on their clientele cannot be forced to pay compulsory union fees. The Court's ruling renders unconstitutional similar homecare unionization schemes in effect in at least 14 other states.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) officials last week notified Illinois home-based childcare providers that they will not demand $10 million in annual forced dues payments from the providers.

In Minnesota, after several providers represented by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys filed a federal lawsuit last week, SEIU bosses also said that they will not force personal care providers who care for family members to pay forced dues.

Then, late Friday, SEIU officials notified Massachusetts home childcare providers that they will no longer be forced to pay union fees. Massachusetts providers represented by Foundation staff attorneys had filed a federal suit challenging the SEIU unionization scheme in April.

"Thanks to a National Right to Work Foundation-won victory at the U.S. Supreme Court, SEIU bosses across the country are being forced to back down from their forced union dues demands," stated Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "SEIU officials are no longer empowered to siphon off money that is designated for low-income and special needs children and adults who receive care at home."

While Harris is already freeing tens of thousands of homecare providers from forced dues ranks, Foundation attorneys continue the legal battle to end such forced dues schemes and ensure the return of illegally-seized forced dues. In addition, they have brought suits for providers to stop state schemes imposing union officials as monopoly representatives of homecare providers who don't want and never asked for union so-called "representation."

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

Security Guards Hit SEIU Local Union Officials with Federal Unfair Labor Practice Charges

Workers allege SEIU officials made harassing phone calls to nonmembers

San Francisco, CA (July 18, 2014) – A local security guard has filed a federal charge against a San Francisco-based union for violating his and his coworkers' rights.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Universal Protection Service security guard Daniel Ozabuki filed the unfair labor practice charge for himself and seven others against Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 24/7.

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 the union to allow nonmember workers to opt out of paying for union activities unrelated to workplace bargaining.

However, after SEIU officials entered into a contract with Universal Protection, the union has again forced the workers into full dues payments despite the workers' repeated attempts to refrain. The workers also allege that SEIU union officials are making harassing phone calls to nonmembers.

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.

"SEIU bosses are resorting to deception and even outright intimidation 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."

Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for workers. Recent 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

Volkswagen Workers Withdraw Lawsuit After Fending Off Imminent Unionization Threat

Workers’ vote quashes UAW unionization threat for one year

Chattanooga, TN (May 23, 2014) – Today, Volkswagen workers voluntarily withdrew their federal lawsuit challenging the United Autoworker (UAW) union officials' backroom organizing deal with company management during the union’s highly-publicized push to unionize the workers at VW's Chattanooga, Tennessee facility. The withdrawal was prompted by VW and UAW's attorneys' concessions in legal papers filed with the court that, having lost the election at the Chattanooga plant and dropped its objections to the result, the UAW cannot seek another election until sometime next year.

The case was initiated in March by the workers with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

"Having successfully defended the result of the vote against the UAW, the workers and their Foundation staff attorneys have made the strategic decision to withdraw their federal lawsuit against the UAW and Volkswagen," stated Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Foundation staff attorneys stand ready to provide free legal assistance to VW workers if VW and the UAW enter into another organizing deal or if UAW bosses resort to unlawful tactics at the plant again."

"When we filed this lawsuit, we were worried that the UAW union was going to be forced on us," stated plaintiff and Volkswagen team member Mike Jarvis. "Now that the vote has been certified, we want to move on, work with our fellow VW team members, and focus on building our award-winning cars."

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

Paris Casino Union Bosses Lose High Stakes Game Playing with Worker's Legal Rights

Union officials threatened nonmember worker with benefits cuts and loss of seniority unless she paid dues

Las Vegas, NV (May 9, 2014) – A Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino snack bar attendant has won a federal judgment from a local union for violating her right to refrain from union affiliation.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Nani Sugianto won her case against the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 before a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) administrative law judge late last week.

In 2007, Sugianto resigned her union membership and refrained from dues payments. After nearly five years the union started to collect dues again without giving her notice. Sugianto stopped the union dues deductions.

Then, Sugianto filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB after a union steward illegally threatened her that she would lose all of her benefits and her seniority, and would be required to start over again as a new hire, unless she paid union dues even though she is not a union member. The steward made the threats while the union was trying to swell its membership rolls and prevent workers from exercising their right to work during a union-boss instigated strike.

After hearing conflicting testimony, the NLRB administrative law judge ruled that Sugianto was the more credible witness.

"Workers' rights are not a casino game," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "We applaud this worker's efforts to protect her rights under Nevada’s popular Right to Work law."

Under Nevada's Right to Work law, workers cannot be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of their employment.

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

Grand Rapids Teacher Files State Charges Against Union and School District for Right to Work Violations

Union and school officials collude to force school employees into dues-paying union ranks despite Right to Work law

Grand Rapids, MI (April 21, 2014) – A Grand Rapids-area special education teacher has filed state charges against a local union and the school district for violating school employees' rights under Michigan's Right to Work law.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Becky Lapham of Portland, Michigan, filed the state charges last week with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) in Detroit.

The 11-year Lincoln Developmental Center school teacher notified the Michigan Education Association (MEA) union that she was exercising her rights under the Foundation-won Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson case to refrain from full union dues payments and requesting a financial disclosure of how her forced union dues and fees are being spent.

MEA union officials refused to comply with Lapham's request, claiming that she would have to wait for a union-designated "window period" in August 2014 to refrain from full dues payments, and threatened to report her to a collections agency. Lapham points out that Michigan's Right to Work law protects her unequivocal right to refrain from union membership at any time. Analogously, federal labor law also protects workers' absolute right to refrain from union membership at any time without penalty.

Lapham also filed additional charges against the union and Grand Rapids Public Schools for entering into an agreement illegally amending and extending the forced unionism provisions in the monopoly bargaining agreement beyond the date allowed under Michigan's Right to Work law for public employees. That law specifies that contracts or amendments entered into after the law went into effect must respect workers' right to refrain from the payment of any union dues or fees.

"Across the state, union officials are pulling out all the stops to keep workers from exercising their rights under Michigan’s Right to Work law," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Foundation staff attorneys are assisting workers throughout the state whose rights under Michigan’s Right to Work law are being denied by unscrupulous union officials seeking to circumvent the law."

In similar cases across Michigan, Foundation staff attorneys have already assisted 10 other public-sector workers who filed charges with the MERC and two private-sector workers who filed federal charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

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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