Local Transit Worker Wins Federal Settlement After Union Officials Misled and Ignored Worker to Pocket Extra Union Dues
Union officials refused to acknowledge worker's request to exercise right to refrain from union dues payments
Mesa, AZ (January 30, 2014) – With the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a local transit worker has won a federal settlement after union officials violated his right to refrain from paying union dues or fees.
David Azbell worked as a bus driver for Veolia Transportation and then for First Transit, which took over Veolia Transportation's contract with the city. In June 2013, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1433 union officials were considering calling a strike against the new company to pressure company management into entering a monopoly bargaining agreement with the union.
Unsatisfied with the ATU Local 1433 union officials' so-called "representation," Azbell hand-delivered a letter to a union official stating that under Arizona's Right to Work law he was resigning his union membership and refraining from paying union dues. When Azbell submitted his letter of resignation, the union official told him that the union hierarchy would still continue to take union dues from his paychecks. Azbell then received a letter from the same union official stating that he would have to wait until a so-called "window period" before he could revoke his dues deduction authorization – a document used by union officials to take dues from workers' paychecks – and thus stop union dues payments.
Azbell then filed a federal unfair labor practice charge against the union seeking a refund of all union dues illegally seized from his paychecks after he resigned union membership. He pointed out in the charge that, because the ATU Local 1433 union did not have a contract in effect with his employer, he had the unconditional right to revoke his dues deduction authorization and refrain from union dues payments.
The settlement requires ATU Local 1433 union officials to refund all illegally-seized dues, plus interest. The union must also post a notice on its website and in the workplace, informing Azbell's coworkers of their rights to refrain from union membership and dues payments.
"Transit union bosses ignored state and federal law to illegally coerce this worker into full dues payments against his will," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores just how important Arizona's Right to Work law is for workers."