Labor Board settlement lets scofflaw Teamster union off the hook
Long Island, NY (July 6, 2012) – A group of Lindenhurst, New York, school bus drivers have appealed a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office’s proposed settlement of a federal charge filed against a local Teamster union.
With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, a Baumann & Sons Bus Company driver filed the charge for herself and at least four of her coworkers in late 2011 with the NLRB regional office in Brooklyn, after Teamsters Local Union 1205 officials refused to provide the workers with adequate information about the union's financial expenditures as federal law requires.
The workers exercised their right to refrain from formal, full dues-paying union membership upheld under a National Right to Work Foundation-won precedent in the Supreme Court case Communication Workers v. Beck.
However, because New York does not have Right to Work protections for its workers, workers who refrain from formal union membership are still forced to pay part of union fees as a condition of employment. Nonmember workers cannot be required to pay union dues spent for union activities like political activism, lobbying, and member-only events. Teamster union bosses are further required to provide an independently-audited breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures.
The bus drivers won a federal settlement before the NLRB regional office requiring Local 1205 union officials to provide adequate disclosure and post notices in the workplace informing workers of their rights. However, the bus drivers are appealing the proposed settlement because it does not require Local 1205 union officials to provide substantial proof that the financial disclosure statements provided to the workers are independently-audited. Additionally, the notices the settlement requires will be posted during the summer months when the school district’s bus drivers do not work.
"The regional NLRB office is attempting to let Teamster Local 1205 union bosses off the hook by posting the notice when no one is looking and not forcing Teamster bosses to fully comply with the law," said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Ultimately, the best way to protect the rights of workers in the Empire State is for New York to pass a Right to Work law ending union officials' power to have workers fired for refusing to pay union dues or fees and making union membership strictly voluntary."
Twenty-three states have Right to Work protections for workers. Recent public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the Right to Work principle of voluntary unionism.