Union bosses illegally demand worker join union or "be escorted off the property"
Newark, NJ (October 28, 2013) – A Public Service Electric and Gas company worker has filed federal charges against a local union and his employer for violating his rights.
With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, Gregory Lehman of Woodbridge, New Jersey, filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Lehman, who must accept Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 153 officials' representation as a condition of his employment, alleges that union officials and company management demanded he join the union and pay full union dues or be fired and "escorted off the property."
Under federal law, no worker can be forced to formally join a union. However, because New Jersey is not a Right to Work state, workers can be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
Lehman alleges that OPEIU Local 153 union officials and company management never informed Lehman of his right to refrain from full-dues-paying union membership as upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Right to Work Foundation-won Communications Workers v. Beck case. Under Beck, nonmember workers cannot be legally compelled to pay union dues used for union politics and member-only activities.
In his charge, Lehman seeks reimbursement of all union dues and fees illegally seized from his paychecks.
"OPEIU union bosses' and Public Service Electric and Gas management's illegal demands that this worker must join the union or be fired is just another example of how New Jersey desperately needs a Right to Work law making union membership and dues-payments completely voluntary," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "No worker should ever be forced to join or financially support a union as a condition of their employment."
Twenty-four 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.