Union bosses spend nonmembers’ forced dues on union organizing activities
Columbus, OH (November 29, 2012) – A Westerville CVS employee has filed a federal lawsuit against a local union for using his forced union dues for illegal expenditures.
Randall Thompson filed the lawsuit Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.
United Food and Commercial Worker Local 1059 union officials enjoy monopoly bargaining privileges over Thompson's workplace. And because Ohio does not have a Right to Work law making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary, Thompson is forced to pay a portion of union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
However, Thompson has exercised his right, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Foundation-won Communications Workers v. Beck case, to refrain from full dues-paying union membership. Under Beck, workers have the right to opt out of paying for union activities unrelated to workplace bargaining, such as union boss politicking, members-only events, political lobbying, and organizing.
Under federal labor and case law, union officials must also provide workers with an independently-audited financial breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures. This procedural safeguard helps inform workers of how their forced union dues are being spent and makes it less difficult for workers to hold union officials accountable.
Earlier this year, Thompson received a financial breakdown from the UFCW union hierarchy. The letter stated that Thompson and other nonmember workers were being forced to subsidize the Local union hierarchy and its International affiliate's expenses for unionizing workers. Thompson's lawsuit challenges the union officials' expenditures for union organizing, which the U.S. Supreme Court has held has only an "attenuated connection with collective bargaining."
Thompson seeks a refund with interest of all illegally-confiscated dues taken from his paycheck.
"UFCW Local 1059 union officials are illegally spending workers' hard-earned money to try to force more workers into union ranks," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "In order to avoid forced unionism abuses like this in the future, Ohio needs a Right to Work law making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary."
Twenty-three states have Right to Work protections for their workers. Recent public polling shows that 80 percent of Americans and union members support the Right to Work principle of voluntary unionism.