Worker advocate assists healthcare workers coerced into forced dues union ranks
Sacramento, CA (April 4, 2013) – With free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a Sutter Roseville Medical Center respiratory care practitioner has filed another federal charge against a statewide union for violating a federal settlement by coercing her and her colleagues into paying full union dues even though they are not union members.
In late 2011, Mary Massen won a federal settlement after filing charges against with the Oakland-based Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers – West (SEIU-UHW) union with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Because California does not have Right to Work protections for its workers, Massen, who has exercised her right to refrain from formal union membership, is still forced to pay union fees as a condition of employment. However, because of a Foundation-won Supreme Court precedent in Communication Workers v. Beck, she cannot be compelled to pay the portion of union dues used for the union's political, lobbying, and member-only activities. Union officials are also legally obligated to inform workers of these rights and to provide workers with an independently verified audit of chargeable and non-chargeable expenses.
In the initial case, SEIU-UHW officials failed to provide nonmember employees with the disclosure Beck requires and forced the workers to object annually, a tactic designed to coerce workers into paying full union dues. Additionally, union officials required employees to provide their social security numbers to refrain from paying union dues used for union boss political activities, further discouraging workers from exercising their rights.
The settlement eliminated SEIU-UHW's annual renewal requirement, stopped union officials from demanding social security numbers from workers exercising their Beck rights, and required union officials to post an informational notice in the workplace.
However, SEIU-UHW union officials have been deducting full union dues from Masson and other nonmembers' paychecks for 2013, despite their status as nonmembers.
"These scofflaw SEIU union bosses continue to make a mockery of federal labor law," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "California needs a Right to Work law to protect workers from these types of forced unionism abuses in the future."
Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for employees. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the principle of voluntary unionism.