News Release

Worker Forces Elevator Union Bosses to Settle Federal Charge and Drop Retaliatory $20,000 Fine

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.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

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