Union officials demanded full-dues-payment and union membership in violation of Supreme Court precedents
Chicago, IL (October 24, 2012) – A former Barnard/Imperial Elevator employee has won a settlement from a local union after union officials demanded he pay about $20,000 for working at a non-union workplace.
With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Robert Fierke filed a federal charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Chicago after union officials levied approximately $20,000 of fines against him.
Fierke worked for Barnard/Imperial Elevator before the company went bankrupt. International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) Local 2 union bosses enjoyed monopoly bargaining privileges over the workplace. IUEC union officials never informed workers, including Fierke, of their right to refrain from full-dues-paying union membership as upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Foundation-won Communications Workers v. Beck case.
Instead, union officials demanded that Fierke join the union and pay full union dues as a condition of employment.
After Barnard went bankrupt, Fierke worked for a non-union employer for about a month. IUEC union officials demanded he pay the retaliatory fine even though he was never a voluntary member.
The settlement requires union officials to rescind the fine imposed on Fierke.
"Cynical elevator union bosses retaliated against a worker for exercising his rights to continue providing for himself and his family," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Illinois desperately needs a Right to Work law making union membership and dues-payment completely voluntary to prevent this type of union boss abuse in the future."
Twenty-three states have Right to Work protections for employees. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the Right to Work principle of voluntary unionism.