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."