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News Release

NLRB Upholds Swissport Workers’ Vote to Free Themselves From Compulsory Union Dues

San Francisco, Calif. (April 8, 2003) — Rejecting arguments from union lawyers, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has affirmed the nearly unanimous vote of hundreds of Swissport Corporation employees to strip a major union of its power to force them to pay union dues as a job condition.

Last October, Swissport employees voted by a margin of 212-11 in the NLRB-supervised deauthorization election to remove the mandatory dues provision in the collective bargaining agreement with the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union District Lodge 190, Local 1414. Despite the overwhelming vote, however, IAM lawyers tried to overturn the election on the grounds that Swissport illegally intervened, but the NLRB rejected all of the union lawyers’ claims.

“These results show that even in Big Labor strongholds like San Francisco, workers overwhelmingly reject the notion of compulsory unionism,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation which provided free legal aid to the employees. “For workers in California, who do not enjoy the protection of a Right to Work Law, a deauthorization election is the only way they can break the grip of compulsory unionism.”

Led by Swissport worker Kirk Williams, the employees filed a petition to obtain an election under supervision of the NLRB. Williams decided to seek the deauthorization election after becoming frustrated that IAM union officials were indifferent to the needs of the rank-and-file.

In order to trigger the deauthorization election, Williams needed to obtain signatures from at least 30 percent his coworkers. Once that occurred, for the deauthorization to pass, Williams had to get an absolute majority of workers in the bargaining unit to vote “yes.” The requirement for an absolute majority established by the National Labor Relations Act is more difficult for employees to attain than the standard for certifying or decertifying a union, which requires only a majority of those actually voting.

Though federal law still denies the employees their right to bargain with their employer individually on their own merits, IAM union officials may no longer compel Swissport employees to pay for unwanted union representation.

“Union officials disdain the accountability that inherently flows from voluntary unionism,” stated Gleason. “Now, IAM officials will have no choice but to sell union membership on its merits, rather than using force.”

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

Statewide Union Ordered to Fully Disclose How Teachers’ Compulsory Dues Are Spent

HARRISBURG, Penn. (April 4, 2003) — In a long-running civil rights suit brought by Pennsylvania teachers, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that local affiliates of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) union must have their books independently audited to justify how they spend teachers’ compulsory union fees. The ruling came in a case brought by Marsha Otto and six other non-union Pennsylvania teachers who challenged how PSEA union officials were spending their compulsory dues. The teachers, who were represented by attorneys with the National Right to Work Foundation, charged union officials were illegally using their forced dues to pay for non-collective bargaining activities while refusing to provide meaningful financial disclosure. “PSEA union lawyers have fought tooth and nail for years in order to keep teachers in the dark about how their forced dues are spent,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “With this victory, Pennsylvania teachers will finally have an opportunity to hold the union accountable.” The teachers brought suit because they wanted union officials to provide an independent audit detailing how their compulsory dues were being spent, so they could verify that their money was not illegally spent on union politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining. In an earlier settlement, union officials agreed to return amounts spent for certain types of non-collective bargaining activity, but they refused to agree to provide the independent audits required by U.S. Supreme Court rulings. The actions of teacher unions’ officials violated the teachers’ rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments as articulated in the Foundation-won Supreme Court decisions Abood v. Detroit Board of Education and Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson. Under Abood and Hudson, teachers that exercise their right not to join a union cannot be legally forced to pay for union activities unrelated to collective bargaining -- such as politics, organizing, public relations, and lobbying -- and must be provided several procedural protections. “This settlement is a small step toward freeing teachers from being forced to support the PSEA’s political agenda,” said Gleason. “But the only way to fully protect teachers from this kind of abuse is to end compulsory unionism.”

News Release

Statewide Union Ordered to Fully Disclose How Teachers’ Compulsory Dues Are Spent

HARRISBURG, Penn. (April 4, 2003) — In a long-running civil rights suit brought by Pennsylvania teachers, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that local affiliates of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) union must have their books independently audited to justify how they spend teachers’ compulsory union fees.

The ruling came in a case brought by Marsha Otto and six other non-union Pennsylvania teachers who challenged how PSEA union officials were spending their compulsory dues. The teachers, who were represented by attorneys with the National Right to Work Foundation, charged union officials were illegally using their forced dues to pay for non-collective bargaining activities while refusing to provide meaningful financial disclosure.

“PSEA union lawyers have fought tooth and nail for years in order to keep teachers in the dark about how their forced dues are spent,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “With this victory, Pennsylvania teachers will finally have an opportunity to hold the union accountable.”

The teachers brought suit because they wanted union officials to provide an independent audit detailing how their compulsory dues were being spent, so they could verify that their money was not illegally spent on union politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining. In an earlier settlement, union officials agreed to return amounts spent for certain types of non-collective bargaining activity, but they refused to agree to provide the independent audits required by U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

The actions of teacher unions’ officials violated the teachers’ rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments as articulated in the Foundation-won Supreme Court decisions Abood v. Detroit Board of Education and Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson. Under Abood and Hudson, teachers that exercise their right not to join a union cannot be legally forced to pay for union activities unrelated to collective bargaining -- such as politics, organizing, public relations, and lobbying -- and must be provided several procedural protections.

“This settlement is a small step toward freeing teachers from being forced to support the PSEA’s political agenda,” said Gleason. “But the only way to fully protect teachers from this kind of abuse is to end compulsory unionism.”

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

Court Allows 2,800 California Engineers to Challenge Union Funding of Ballot Initiatives and Politics

Sacramento, Calif. (April 3, 2003) — By certifying a federal suit as a class action, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California this week has allowed more than 2,800 California state employees to challenge the money illegally confiscated for politics and other activities by the Davis Administration and Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG) union officials. National Right to Work Foundation attorneys filed the class-action suit, Hoirup v. PECG, in March 2002 on behalf of Donald Hoirup, who works for the California Department of Conservation California Geologic Survey in Sacramento. Hoirup filed the complaint on behalf of all non-member government workers under the PECG’s statewide memorandum of understanding (MOU) – also known as a collective bargaining agreement – who have been illegally forced to pay for union political activities. The employees are asking the court to provide the abused workers with retroactive refunds, with interest, on all dues illegally collected since April 1, 2001. “Union officials are trying to get away with using California state employees as their personal political ATMs,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Rather than actually represent these workers, union operatives simply want them to shut up and pay up.” The PECG is one of California’s most politically active unions. Union bosses have seized compulsory dues from workers and used them to fund ballot initiatives and other political activities. According to the union’s own records, over three-fourths of PECG’s $8.1 million annual budget for the year 2000 was used for political activities. On April 1, 1999, then newly elected Governor Gray Davis signed the MOU which forced all workers under the agreement to pay illegally high dues to PECG union officials. According to the constitutional protections construed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Foundation-won decisions of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education and Lehnert v. Ferris Faculty Association, the union may not collect compulsory dues spent on activities unrelated to collective bargaining. Politics, lobbying, organizing, public relations, and other non-bargaining activities are explicitly non-chargeable to employees who have exercised their right to refrain from union membership.

News Release

Court Allows 2,800 California Engineers to Challenge Union Funding of Ballot Initiatives and Politics

Sacramento, Calif. (April 3, 2003) — By certifying a federal suit as a class action, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California this week has allowed more than 2,800 California state employees to challenge the money illegally confiscated for politics and other activities by the Davis Administration and Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG) union officials.

National Right to Work Foundation attorneys filed the class-action suit, Hoirup v. PECG, in March 2002 on behalf of Donald Hoirup, who works for the California Department of Conservation California Geologic Survey in Sacramento.

Hoirup filed the complaint on behalf of all non-member government workers under the PECG’s statewide memorandum of understanding (MOU) – also known as a collective bargaining agreement – who have been illegally forced to pay for union political activities. The employees are asking the court to provide the abused workers with retroactive refunds, with interest, on all dues illegally collected since April 1, 2001.

“Union officials are trying to get away with using California state employees as their personal political ATMs,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Rather than actually represent these workers, union operatives simply want them to shut up and pay up.”

The PECG is one of California’s most politically active unions. Union bosses have seized compulsory dues from workers and used them to fund ballot initiatives and other political activities. According to the union’s own records, over three-fourths of PECG’s $8.1 million annual budget for the year 2000 was used for political activities.

On April 1, 1999, then newly elected Governor Gray Davis signed the MOU which forced all workers under the agreement to pay illegally high dues to PECG union officials.

According to the constitutional protections construed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Foundation-won decisions of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education and Lehnert v. Ferris Faculty Association, the union may not collect compulsory dues spent on activities unrelated to collective bargaining. Politics, lobbying, organizing, public relations, and other non-bargaining activities are explicitly non-chargeable to employees who have exercised their right to refrain from union membership.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

Auto Workers Union Hit with Federal Charges for Trampling Worker’s Rights

Hartford, Conn. (April 2, 2003) — With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an employee of Colt Manufacturing filed federal charges today against his bargaining unit’s union for illegally forcing him to pay full union dues – including dues spent in pursuit of the union’s political agenda – or lose his job. George Gally, a non-union member, filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) union local lodge 376. “In order to keep stuffing their political coffers with forced union dues, the union’s officials demand that workers shut up and pay up,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. Gally originally objected to full union membership more than a decade ago, but under rules set by UAW union officials, has to again renew his objection every year in order to avoid full dues payment. Though Gally renewed his objection to being a full-dues-paying member in response to a union notice to do so, union officials disregarded his objection and have illegally demanded that he tender full dues in order to keep his job. The actions of UAW union officials violate the workers’ rights established by the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck and subsequent rulings, workers have to right to refrain from full dues-paying union membership, pay a reduced fee to cover only the union’s collective bargaining costs, and refuse to pay for union ideological activities -- such as politics. “This sort of illegal power grab highlights the abuses that flow from compulsory unionism,” said Gleason. “Until workers like Gally enjoy the protections of a Right to Work law, union bosses in Connecticut will enjoy free reign over rank-and-file workers.”

News Release

Auto Workers Union Hit with Federal Charges for Trampling Worker’s Rights

Hartford, Conn. (April 2, 2003) — With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an employee of Colt Manufacturing filed federal charges today against his bargaining unit’s union for illegally forcing him to pay full union dues – including dues spent in pursuit of the union’s political agenda – or lose his job.

George Gally, a non-union member, filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) union local lodge 376.

“In order to keep stuffing their political coffers with forced union dues, the union’s officials demand that workers shut up and pay up,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation.

Gally originally objected to full union membership more than a decade ago, but under rules set by UAW union officials, has to again renew his objection every year in order to avoid full dues payment. Though Gally renewed his objection to being a full-dues-paying member in response to a union notice to do so, union officials disregarded his objection and have illegally demanded that he tender full dues in order to keep his job.

The actions of UAW union officials violate the workers’ rights established by the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck and subsequent rulings, workers have to right to refrain from full dues-paying union membership, pay a reduced fee to cover only the union’s collective bargaining costs, and refuse to pay for union ideological activities -- such as politics.

“This sort of illegal power grab highlights the abuses that flow from compulsory unionism,” said Gleason. “Until workers like Gally enjoy the protections of a Right to Work law, union bosses in Connecticut will enjoy free reign over rank-and-file workers.”

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

Alleged $802,000 Theft is Merely the Most Recent Example of Financial Problems Involving Massachusetts Teacher Union

Springfield, Va. (March 28, 2003) – When contacted about the recent financial scandal involving the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA), National Right to Work Foundation attorney Bruce Cameron issued the following statement regarding reports that former MTA Finance Director Richard Anzivino was accused of stealing $802,000 in compulsory union dues: “I'm not surprised by this report of financial irregularities in this union. MTA union officials have fought us tooth and toenail all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep their affiliates from being forced to have their finances audited. “Although we presented evidence of financial irregularities in MTA locals, MTA lawyers were unwilling to accept an audit requirement. Even governmental authorities joined us in arguing the need for audits, and reported on past financial irregularities in MTA locals. The MTA lawyers gave up on their opposition to required local audits only after they lost every appeal. “For years we argued that the MTA union’s record-keeping was sloppy and inaccurate. In defense of its questioned record-keeping, the MTA lawyers called on the very accountant which it has now reportedly fired for theft, and an outside auditor who reportedly failed to catch the theft. “Years ago, Massachusetts authorities held that the financial claims MTA officials made against my clients were unlawful. It is hardly shocking to me to read that a top MTA manager is alleged to have stolen money from the union when the union hierarchy for years has been attempting to shake down my clients for compulsory union dues based on questionable financial claims.” Cameron spent years litigating against the MTA union and its affiliates on behalf of teachers who challenged the accuracy of the financial information the MTA union provided to teachers. Cameron was lead counsel in a case involving a 53-day trial challenging the accuracy of the financial record-keeping of the MTA.

News Release

Alleged $802,000 Theft is Merely the Most Recent Example of Financial Problems Involving Massachusetts Teacher Union

Springfield, Va. (March 28, 2003) – When contacted about the recent financial scandal involving the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA), National Right to Work Foundation attorney Bruce Cameron issued the following statement regarding reports that former MTA Finance Director Richard Anzivino was accused of stealing $802,000 in compulsory union dues:

“I'm not surprised by this report of financial irregularities in this union. MTA union officials have fought us tooth and toenail all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep their affiliates from being forced to have their finances audited.

“Although we presented evidence of financial irregularities in MTA locals, MTA lawyers were unwilling to accept an audit requirement. Even governmental authorities joined us in arguing the need for audits, and reported on past financial irregularities in MTA locals. The MTA lawyers gave up on their opposition to required local audits only after they lost every appeal.

“For years we argued that the MTA union’s record-keeping was sloppy and inaccurate. In defense of its questioned record-keeping, the MTA lawyers called on the very accountant which it has now reportedly fired for theft, and an outside auditor who reportedly failed to catch the theft.

“Years ago, Massachusetts authorities held that the financial claims MTA officials made against my clients were unlawful. It is hardly shocking to me to read that a top MTA manager is alleged to have stolen money from the union when the union hierarchy for years has been attempting to shake down my clients for compulsory union dues based on questionable financial claims.”

Cameron spent years litigating against the MTA union and its affiliates on behalf of teachers who challenged the accuracy of the financial information the MTA union provided to teachers. Cameron was lead counsel in a case involving a 53-day trial challenging the accuracy of the financial record-keeping of the MTA.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

Ohio Attorney General Likely to Part With President Bush by Allowing Discriminatory Union-Only Contracting

Columbus, Ohio (March 24, 2003) — Inside sources revealed that union lobbyists have likely convinced Attorney General Jim Petro to refuse to appeal a high-profile Ohio State Supreme Court decision that voided the state’s Open Contracting Act, a popular measure that bans mandatory union-only contracts or project labor agreements (PLAs) on taxpayer-funded construction projects. The attorney general faces a deadline of Thursday, March 27, to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court in Ohio State Building & Construction Trades Council v. Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners. If Petro does not appeal the Ohio Supreme Court ruling, union officials will be able to force independent workers and contractors across Ohio to submit to compulsory unionism on all state-funded construction projects. By failing to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, Attorney General Petro will also put himself directly at odds with policies laid down by President George W. Bush – the leader of Petro’s own political party – who signed an Executive Order prohibiting the use of discriminatory union-only PLAs on federally funded construction projects. The Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling explicitly parted with a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling upholding the widely supported Bush directive. “Aside from betraying Ohio’s taxpayers and independent workers who have much at stake in this legal battle, the attorney general risks alienating key players who will have tremendous influence over whether he will win his party’s nomination for governor,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Meanwhile, there is no political gain in trying to appease union officials who will never support Petro in any meaningful way.” Currently, Right to Work supporters and non-union employees and contractors across Ohio are mobilizing to counter the pressure union political operatives are putting on Petro. The attorney general’s office has already been contacted by thousands of constituents demanding he support a policy of open contracting in public works projects. A project labor agreement is a scheme that requires all contractors, whether they are unionized or not, to subject themselves and their employees to unionization in order to work on government-funded construction projects. PLAs usually require contractors to grant union officials monopoly bargaining privileges over all workers; use exclusive union hiring halls; force workers to pay dues as a condition of employment; and pay above-market prices resulting from wasteful work rules and featherbedding. After the Ohio legislature passed the Open Contacting Act in 1999, union lawyers sued the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners to retain forced unionism on state construction projects. In December 2002, the Ohio Supreme Court reversed an appellate court ruling upholding the Act. Attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation participated as an amicus curiae in support of the Open Contracting Act, arguing that the state legislature has the right not to finance a form of compulsory unionism with public construction funds.


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