Former Pepsi Worker Files Federal Charges Against Teamsters and Company for Illegally Firing him for Refusing to Pay Union Dues
Ebensburg employee was terminated for failing to pay full union dues and initiation fees despite never belonging to the Teamsters union
Ebensburg, PA (September 24, 2014) – With the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a former Pepsi bottling plant employee has just filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against his former employer and the Teamsters Local 110 union.
When Michael Romanchock was hired by the plant in June 2013, he was not informed that the Teamsters were the bargaining agent for his workplace. He only learned about the Teamsters’ presence in March 2014, when he received a letter from the union demanding he pay full union dues and union initiation fees.
Under federal law, no employee can be forced to formally join a labor union. Because Pennsylvania lacks a Right to Work law, nonunion employees can be required to pay dues for workplace bargaining. However, they cannot be forced to pay dues for anything unrelated to that purpose, such as political lobbying or union-only benefits.
Not only did Teamster officials attempt to extract full union dues and initiation fees from Romanchock, they also failed to provide him with any information regarding how much he would owe if he remained a nonmember. Under federal law, union officials are obligated to provide financial information to objecting nonunion workers to help them determine how much they’re required to pay.
In May 2014, Teamster officials informed Romanchock that they would have him fired by Pepsi if he refused to pay up. In June 2014, a Pepsi human resources representative told Romanchock that if he did not pay the Teamsters by July 1, he would be fired. On July 1, 2014, Romanchock was fired by Pepsi at the behest of union officials.
Romanchock’s charges will now be investigated by the NLRB, a federal agency charged with administering private sector labor law.
“Teamster bosses and pliant Pepsi officials fired a man for refusing to pay full dues and initiation fees to a union he had no interest in joining,” said Patrick Semmens, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “We hope the NLRB will rectify this injustice immediately, but until Pennsylvania makes union membership and dues payments voluntary by passing a Right to Work law, this type of workplace abuse will continue.”