Case demonstrates importance of Indiana’s new Right to Work law
Jeffersonville, IN (May 8, 2012) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a Sectek, Inc. security guard has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against International Guards Union of America (IGUA) Local 143 after a union official threatened to have him fired and denied his attempt to stop paying for union political lobbying.
Michael Cragwall attracted the union’s ire when he posted a petition on a workplace bulletin board dissenting from a union official’s letter to several congressmen and senators calling for relaxed training and safety standards. The official responded by threatening to kick Cragwall out of the union and have him fired from his job.
Disillusioned by the union’s so-called “representation,” Cragwall notified IGUA officials on April 20 that he was resigning his membership and opting out of paying for union dues unrelated to workplace bargaining.
Although Indiana’s recently-enacted Right to Work law states that no employee can be required to pay union dues as a condition of employment, forced dues contracts between unions and employers entered into prior to the effective date of the law remain in force throughout the state. In such workplaces, nonunion employees like Cragwall are only permitted to opt out of paying for union activities unrelated to workplace bargaining, such as political lobbying.
Union officials are also required to provide an audited breakdown of their expenditures to help nonunion employees determine exactly what they can be forced to pay for to keep their jobs. However, IGUA officials refused to provide any information about their expenses to Cragwall. They also claimed that the union does not engage in any political lobbying, despite the fact that the dispute arose over a letter a union official wrote to several political office-holders.
Cragwall’s charges will now be investigated by the National Labor Relations Board, a federal agency responsible for administering private sector labor law.
“We hope the NLRB will intervene promptly to stop union officials from taking anymore of Mr. Cragwall’s hard-earned money,” said Patrick Semmens, legal information director for the National Right to Work Foundation. “Fortunately, Indiana’s newly-enacted Right to Work law will ensure Mr. Cragwall is one of the last Hoosiers who can be forced to pay union dues or fees just to keep a job.”