Union bosses threaten workers to pay up or be fired
Johnsonburg, PA (September 14, 2012) – A Johnsonburg Clarion Sintered Metals worker’s federal charge against a Machinist union local has forced union officials to stop threatening workers who want to exercise their right to refrain from formal union membership.
Christina Wilson filed the federal unfair labor practice charge against International Association of Machinists (IAM) Local 2448 with free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation.
IAM Local 2448 union officials enjoy monopoly bargaining privileges over Wilson's workplace. Because Pennsylvania does not have a Right to Work law, workers can be forced to pay union dues or fees to keep their jobs. However, the U.S. Supreme Court held in the Foundation's Communications Workers of America v. Beck case that workers cannot be compelled to pay for union political activities, lobbying, and member-only events.
Additionally, union officials are required to provide an independently-audited breakdown of union expenditures to make it less difficult for workers to hold union bosses accountable for their spending.
IAM Local 2448 union officials demanded that Wilson and other nonmember workers who timely resigned from membership before the contract went into effect pay an initiation fee and threatened that if they did not pay, they would be fired. IAM union officials also have not followed the federal disclosure requirements.
Union officials finally backed down after Wilson filed the federal charge with the NLRB.
"Christiana Wilson had to take the courageous step to file a federal charge to stop local Machinist union bosses from illegally threatening to fire workers who had the temerity to exercise their right to refrain from union membership," said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work. "Pennsylvania desperately needs a Right to Work law to prevent these types of forced unionism abuses from occurring in the future."
Twenty-three states have Right to Work protections for their workers upholding the principle of voluntary union affiliation.