10 Maysteel workers file charges to stop company and union officials from seizing forced union dues
Washington County, WI (March 2, 2016) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, ten Maysteel Industries employees have filed charges in Wisconsin State Circuit Court as well as with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission against International Association of Machinists Union District 10, IAM Lodge 2053, and Maysteel Industries, LLC. The workers charge that IAM union bosses and Maysteel violated Wisconsin’s Right to Work law when they were forced to pay union fees to keep their jobs.
All of the plaintiffs work at Maysteel’s sheet metal fabrication plant in Allenton. Before Wisconsin had a Right to Work law, Maysteel and IAM entered into a monopoly bargaining agreement which expired on March 4, 2015 that contained a forced dues clause.
In mid-March 2015, several of the workers approached human resources officials to get a copy of the new monopoly bargaining agreement that would be imposed. The workers were told that IAM officials and Maysteel were still working on the contract and that it would be signed on March 18, 2015.
Wisconsin’s private sector Right to Work law, which protects a worker’s right to refrain from paying any union dues or fees as a condition of employment, took effect on March 11, 2015. Several of the workers sent letters to Maysteel and IAM officials noting that because the Right to Work law would apply to the new contract, they could no longer be required to pay any fees to IAM as a condition of employment.
In late April, union bosses responded in a letter incorrectly claiming that Wisconsin’s Right to Work law did not apply to the new contract and threatening that if the workers did not pay a portion of their paycheck to IAM officials, the union would order Maysteel to terminate their employment. Since the new contract took effect, Maysteel has continued to require union fees from all ten of the workers in violation of Wisconsin’s Right to Work law.
“Sadly, this is just the latest Big Labor scheme to siphon off money from workers’ paychecks,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Union bosses apparently think that workers won’t notice if they flat-out ignore Right to Work laws. Fortunately these workers decided to fight back, and the National Right to Work Foundation is proud to fight alongside them, because no worker should ever be fired for refusing to pay union fees.”