News Release

Labor Board Announces Prosecution of SEIU Union Bosses for Illegal Union Membership Opt-Out Policy

Illegal union procedure forces nursing home workers to pay full union dues

Princeton, WV (April 6, 2010) – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Winston-Salem, North Carolina has issued a federal complaint against a local union for maintaining an “annual objection” policy designed to force nursing home workers into full union dues payments against their will.

The complaint stems from multiple charges filed by six employees from the Princeton area of West Virginia against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 1199. The employees – Sherry French, Walter Coeburn, Tammy Tyree, Bruce Hoyle, Debra Fitzko, and Deborah Dunn – filed the series of charges with free legal assistance from staff attorneys at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

The six employees challenged the SEIU District 1199 hierarchy’s policy which violates Foundation-won precedent in the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Communication Workers of America v. Beck (1988), in which the Court held that union officials can not lawfully compel nonmembers to pay the part of union dues spent for non-bargaining activities like political activism, lobbying, and member-only events. Foundation attorneys are currently challenging many union boss schemes similar to the SEIU District 1199 union bosses’ annual objection policy, often concocted by union brass to burden or thwart employees from exercising their rights under Beck. Five NLRB administrative law judges have held such schemes unlawful.

The NLRB’s complaint challenges the SEIU District 1199 annual objection policy, but other meritorious charges remain pending, and the NLRB has indicated that further complaints will be issued unless the union hierarchy settles.

“The SEIU District 1199 union officials’ illegal behavior shows they’re just after forced union dues revenue,” said Patrick Semmens, Director of Legal Information at National Right to Work. “This blatant disregard for the rights of the workers SEIU bosses claim to represent shows why West Virginia needs to pass a state Right to Work law making union dues payment completely voluntary.”

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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