14 Employees File Charges against Union Officials for Fining Them After They Defied Union Boss-Ordered Strike
Union officials hit each employee with a fine exceeding five thousand dollars for exercising their right to continue working during a strike
Seattle, WA (April 1, 2016) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, fourteen Northshore Sheet Metal employees have filed federal unfair labor practice charges against a local union for illegally fining them thousands of dollars after they refused to join a union-ordered strike.
All fourteen employees originally joined the Sheet Metal Workers Local 66 union because they were wrongfully informed that union membership was a condition of employment at Northshore Sheet Metals. After union officials ordered a strike in August 2015, the employees learned that formal union membership is voluntary and decided to exercise their rights to resign from the union and refrain from participating in the work stoppage.
Although the employees had resigned from the union, Local 66 officials subjected them to internal union disciplinary procedures for refusing to strike. All fourteen workers were charged varying amounts for rebuffing the union’s strike order. All of the fines exceeded five thousand dollars.
Under federal labor law, no employee can be required to formally join a union as a condition of employment. Moreover, employees have the right to resign from a union at any time, at which point they can no longer be subjected to internal union discipline. Local 66 officials not only failed to inform Northshore Sheet Metal workers of their rights, they also refused to honor the fourteen employees’ resignations.
In addition to levying punitive strike fines, the union also posted photographs and names of each of the fourteen employees. The employees have since been harassed for their decision not to participate in the strike.
The employees’ charges will now be investigated by the National Labor Relations Board. In the coming weeks, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys anticipate filing charges for several other nonunion employees who were also fined by union officials for continuing to work during the union-ordered strike.
“Local 66 union officials misled employees about their right to refrain from union membership, ignored their requests to leave the union, and are now threatening those same employees with thousands of dollars in bogus strike fines,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Employees shouldn’t have to endure this brazen intimidation simply because they don’t want to abandon their jobs and their paychecks at the behest of union bosses.”