Settlement requires union bosses to respect workers’ rights to refrain from union membership and payment of dues for politics
Los Angeles, CA (June 20, 2012) – With the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, three Los Angeles Times printing press employees have reached a settlement with the Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 140-N after union officials attempted to force them to join the union and pay full union dues.
Leon Carey, Jr., Richard Hernandez, and James Clayton filed their unfair labor practice charges against the Teamsters last January when union officials told them to join the union and pay full dues or be fired. Carey also filed unfair labor practice charges against the Teamsters in 2009 after union lawyers sued him because he wasn’t a full dues-paying union member.
Because California lacks a Right to Work law, employees can be compelled to pay fees to a union as a condition of employment. The Los Angeles Times and Teamsters Local 140-N are party to a contract that purports to require all printing press workers to become full dues-paying union members. However, Supreme Court precedent guarantees that employees have the right to refrain from union membership and the right to opt out of paying for union activities unrelated to workplace bargaining, such as members-only events and political lobbying.
According to the settlement’s terms, Teamster officials must respect employees’ rights to refrain from union membership and opt out of paying full dues, cease levying discriminatory initiation fees, disclose their expenditures to allow nonunion employees to determine what they’re obligated to pay, and remove a union policy that requires employees to annually renew their objections to paying full union dues.
“After multiple unfair labor practice charges, Teamster bosses will finally have to stop coercing independent-minded workers into joining their union and paying full dues,” said Patrick Semmens, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation.
“Unfortunately, employees like Leon Carey, Jr., Richard Hernandez, and James Clayton will still be forced to send part of their hard-earned salaries to the same union officials who disregarded their rights. That’s why California desperately needs a Right to Work law, which would make dues payment and union membership strictly voluntary.”