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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.

News Release

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.

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.

Operating Engineer Union Hit With Federal Charges For Threatening to Get Employees Fired

El Paso, Texas (March 11, 2003) – With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a worker for a federal contractor at Ft. Bliss today filed federal charges against officials of a local engineering union and his employer for illegally forcing him to pay full union dues as a job condition. Cordev Inc. employee Richard Cabler, a non-union member, filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) union Local 35 and Cordev. The union’s officials illegally threatened to get him fired for refusing to pay full dues, including dues spent for politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining. “In an effort to stuff their coffers, union officials are demanding that employees simply shut up and pay up,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. In December 2002, both IUOE union officials and Cordev notified all employees at the Fort Bliss facility that they would be fired if they failed to sign a dues check-off card forcing employees in the bargaining unit to pay full dues. However, the workers never received timely notice of their right to refrain from formal union membership and pay only a reduced fee. These threats violate the workers’ rights established by the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck and subsequent NLRB rulings, union officials must specifically inform employees of their right to refrain from formal union membership and paying any costs other than those directly related to collective bargaining. The Cordev controversy is somewhat unique in the Lone Star State, since Texas has a highly popular Right to Work law that bans compulsory unionism. However, because Cordev’s employees work on federal property under exclusive federal jurisdiction, the state’s Right to Work law does not protect them. “The abusive actions of IUOE union officials show why most Texas workers are fortunate to have the protections of a Right to Work Law,” said Gleason.

Teamsters Union to Triple PAC Spending to Defeat “All GOP Candidates”

Washington, D.C. (March 12, 2003) — Inside sources reveal that former Hoffa campaign chief and Teamsters union national field director, Todd Thompson, will be tasked with tripling contributions to the Teamsters political action committee (PAC) and that the funds will be spent to defeat "all GOP candidates" in the 2004 election cycle. This development appears to represent a shift in strategy by the union’s political operatives who had been willing to support a few left-wing Republicans in the past. In the 2002 election cycle the Teamster’s PAC, known as DRIVE, spent $2.3 million on behalf of federal candidates. 86 percent of the contributions went to Democrat party candidates – even though studies have consistently shown that 40 percent of union households vote for other candidates. “This move further demonstrates that Teamsters union officials are totally out of touch with the interests of rank-and-file workers,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Despite all of James Hoffa’s rhetoric about reaching out to Republicans, the reality is that Teamsters officials are nothing more than Democrat party shills.” This latest move by the union hierarchy also points up the failure of a strategy pursued by the White House political office to make core policy concessions in exchange for union political support. Despite these concessions, union officials have made ongoing attacks on Bush and other Republicans. For example, over the past eighteen months, the White House political office has: 1) given Teamsters and Carpenters officials significant influence over selection of nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); 2) encouraged Congress not to hold hearings on legislation that would be embarrassing to union officials, such as legislation to end compulsory unionism; 3) filed arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court opposing review of a NLRB decision that gutted employee rights not to pay forced union dues spent to support objectionable union activities; 4) inserted a discriminatory union-only project labor agreement in the Alaska energy legislation; and 5) signaled its intention to release the corrupt Teamsters union from federal oversight. “For anyone in the White House who believed they could get Big Labor bosses to play nice in the 2004 elections this is a loud wake up call,” said Gleason. “The Teamsters hierarchy and other union bosses are predictably focused on defeating George W. Bush and retaking both houses of Congress.”

News Release

Operating Engineer Union Hit With Federal Charges For Threatening to Get Employees Fired

El Paso, Texas (March 11, 2003) – With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a worker for a federal contractor at Ft. Bliss today filed federal charges against officials of a local engineering union and his employer for illegally forcing him to pay full union dues as a job condition.

Cordev Inc. employee Richard Cabler, a non-union member, filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) union Local 35 and Cordev. The union’s officials illegally threatened to get him fired for refusing to pay full dues, including dues spent for politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining.

“In an effort to stuff their coffers, union officials are demanding that employees simply shut up and pay up,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation.

In December 2002, both IUOE union officials and Cordev notified all employees at the Fort Bliss facility that they would be fired if they failed to sign a dues check-off card forcing employees in the bargaining unit to pay full dues. However, the workers never received timely notice of their right to refrain from formal union membership and pay only a reduced fee.

These threats violate the workers’ rights established by the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck and subsequent NLRB rulings, union officials must specifically inform employees of their right to refrain from formal union membership and paying any costs other than those directly related to collective bargaining.

The Cordev controversy is somewhat unique in the Lone Star State, since Texas has a highly popular Right to Work law that bans compulsory unionism. However, because Cordev’s employees work on federal property under exclusive federal jurisdiction, the state’s Right to Work law does not protect them.

“The abusive actions of IUOE union officials show why most Texas workers are fortunate to have the protections of a Right to Work Law,” said Gleason.

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.
News Release

Teamsters Union to Triple PAC Spending to Defeat “All GOP Candidates”

Washington, D.C. (March 12, 2003) — Inside sources reveal that former Hoffa campaign chief and Teamsters union national field director, Todd Thompson, will be tasked with tripling contributions to the Teamsters political action committee (PAC) and that the funds will be spent to defeat "all GOP candidates" in the 2004 election cycle.

This development appears to represent a shift in strategy by the union’s political operatives who had been willing to support a few left-wing Republicans in the past.

In the 2002 election cycle the Teamster’s PAC, known as DRIVE, spent $2.3 million on behalf of federal candidates. 86 percent of the contributions went to Democrat party candidates – even though studies have consistently shown that 40 percent of union households vote for other candidates.

“This move further demonstrates that Teamsters union officials are totally out of touch with the interests of rank-and-file workers,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Despite all of James Hoffa’s rhetoric about reaching out to Republicans, the reality is that Teamsters officials are nothing more than Democrat party shills.”

This latest move by the union hierarchy also points up the failure of a strategy pursued by the White House political office to make core policy concessions in exchange for union political support. Despite these concessions, union officials have made ongoing attacks on Bush and other Republicans.

For example, over the past eighteen months, the White House political office has: 1) given Teamsters and Carpenters officials significant influence over selection of nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); 2) encouraged Congress not to hold hearings on legislation that would be embarrassing to union officials, such as legislation to end compulsory unionism; 3) filed arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court opposing review of a NLRB decision that gutted employee rights not to pay forced union dues spent to support objectionable union activities; 4) inserted a discriminatory union-only project labor agreement in the Alaska energy legislation; and 5) signaled its intention to release the corrupt Teamsters union from federal oversight.

“For anyone in the White House who believed they could get Big Labor bosses to play nice in the 2004 elections this is a loud wake up call,” said Gleason. “The Teamsters hierarchy and other union bosses are predictably focused on defeating George W. Bush and retaking both houses of Congress.”

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.

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