Unite Here union bosses demand servers pay over $5,700 or be fired
Chicago, IL (October 2, 2012) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, two local Riva Restaurant servers have filed federal charges against a local union for violating their rights and demanding that they pay thousands of dollars in back union dues or be fired.
Michael Pastrick and Jaclyn McAllister filed the charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Unite Here Local 1 union, based in Chicago.
Unite Here Local 1 union officials enjoy monopoly bargaining powers over the workplace. As a result, employees can be forced to pay union dues and fees as a condition of employment because Illinois is not a Right to Work state. However, employees cannot be legally compelled to join a union against their will and cannot be compelled to pay union dues used for union politics and member-only events.
Local 1 union officials never informed the workers that they must pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment or of their rights 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, in August 2012, Unite Here Local 1 union officials demanded that the workers pay full union dues dating back to 2006, a total of over $5,700.
Unite Here union officials coerced Pastrick and McAllister with the threat of job termination into signing an illegal "payment plan and waiver" of their rights. The union officials also charged an additional 23 percent "service fee" for paying the dues with a credit card.
"Apparently, intimidation and coercion are today's special for Unite Here Local 1 union officials," said Patrick Semmens, Vice President for Public Information 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.