UFCW officials agree to refrain from further harassment, post notice informing employees of their rights
Bloomsburg, PA (February 29, 2012) – With the help of National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, a local Del Monte Foods employee has reached a settlement with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 38 after a union official repeatedly harassed him on the job.
Ronald Brobst, a veteran Del Monte employee, is not a member of UFCW Local 38 and had previously opted out of paying for certain UFCW activities, such as union political activism. Because Pennsylvania lacks a Right to Work law, nonunion employees like Brobst can be forced to pay up to 100% of union dues as a condition of employment. However, the Foundation-won Supreme Court decision Communication Workers v. Beck guarantees that nonunion employees have the right to opt out of dues used for activities, like politics, unrelated to workplace bargaining.
Brobst was repeatedly harassed at work for exercising his constitutional rights to refrain from union membership and the payment of full union dues. In March 2011, a union shop steward reported that Brobst had not cleaned up debris at his work station to his supervisor. In August, the same shop steward falsely indicated that Brobst had not followed proper lockout procedures on a conveyor belt he had been working on.
With the help of Right to Work attorneys, Brobst responded by filing federal unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board.
The settlement agreed upon by Brobst and UFCW Local 38 requires union officials to post workplace notices explaining employees’ rights to refrain from union membership and the payment of full union dues. The notice also promises that nonunion employees will not suffer harassment or retaliation.
“Mr. Brobst’s settlement, which will be posted where all his co-workers can see it, makes it clear that a UFCW official violated the law with her campaign of harassment,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Once again, union officials have shown they are willing to cajole and intimidate independent employees to get them to toe the union line.”
“These ugly tactics could be eliminated if Pennsylvania had a Right to Work law on its books that protected employees’ rights to choose to join and pay dues or fees to a union,” concluded Mix.