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Union Officials Hold Wage Increase Hostage to Force Workers to Accept Unwanted Union Affiliation

Gaffney, S.C. (August 11, 2003) – With the help of attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, two Gaffney-area workers today filed federal charges against Freightliner, Daimler-Chrysler, and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union for withholding pay raises as part of a strategy to coerce employees into ceding to unionization. Although an overwhelming majority of employees have signed a petition opposing the UAW union’s organizing efforts, Freightliner is bargaining with the union over the employees’ wages and terms of employment. In response, Freightliner employees David Roach and Mike Ivey obtained free legal aid from Foundation attorneys to file unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The charges seek an NLRB injunction against the UAW and Freightliner. Roach and Ivey decided to file charges after UAW officials vetoed a long-scheduled and promised pay increase and effectively required a freeze on pay raises until the employees agree to unionization. Implementing a so-called “neutrality agreement” that requires the company to actively assist the UAW in its organizing efforts, Freightliner has, in effect, made the UAW its “company union,” even though the union enjoys negligible support from rank-and-file workers. Approximately 70 percent of the plant’s employees have already signed a petition stating that they reject union affiliation and prefer to negotiate directly with company officials over wages and benefits. The petition states in part that the undersigned employees “recognize the destructive and self-serving behavior of the UAW, and its documented role in union violence, union corruption, and plant closures caused by featherbedding and other uneconomic union work rules.” “UAW operatives are holding the wage increase hostage to force workers into union ranks,” stated Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The employees simply don’t want the union around – but Freightliner and the UAW are refusing to get the message.” Under most “neutrality agreements,” union organizers are given full access to non-union employees’ personal information and company facilities. Also, workers are usually denied the ability to reject unionization through a secret ballot election, and union operatives are allowed to sign up workers under a “card check” authorization scheme. If UAW officials sign up a majority of the workers, Freightliner would likely agree to recognize the union as the exclusive representative of all workers, even those who did not sign a card. Under the “card check” unionization process, workers are often misled, harassed, or threatened into signing authorization cards. In recent years, as union organizers have had less success in persuading employees to vote for unionization during secret ballot elections, unions have focused on organizing employers. Bolstered by a series of Clinton NLRB rulings, union operatives increasingly use “neutrality agreements” and other “top-down” organizing techniques to force employers to recognize unions without a vote by the workers.

News Release

Union Officials Hold Wage Increase Hostage to Force Workers to Accept Unwanted Union Affiliation

Gaffney, S.C. (August 11, 2003) – With the help of attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, two Gaffney-area workers today filed federal charges against Freightliner, Daimler-Chrysler, and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union for withholding pay raises as part of a strategy to coerce employees into ceding to unionization.

Although an overwhelming majority of employees have signed a petition opposing the UAW union’s organizing efforts, Freightliner is bargaining with the union over the employees’ wages and terms of employment.

In response, Freightliner employees David Roach and Mike Ivey obtained free legal aid from Foundation attorneys to file unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The charges seek an NLRB injunction against the UAW and Freightliner.

Roach and Ivey decided to file charges after UAW officials vetoed a long-scheduled and promised pay increase and effectively required a freeze on pay raises until the employees agree to unionization. Implementing a so-called “neutrality agreement” that requires the company to actively assist the UAW in its organizing efforts, Freightliner has, in effect, made the UAW its “company union,” even though the union enjoys negligible support from rank-and-file workers.

Approximately 70 percent of the plant’s employees have already signed a petition stating that they reject union affiliation and prefer to negotiate directly with company officials over wages and benefits. The petition states in part that the undersigned employees “recognize the destructive and self-serving behavior of the UAW, and its documented role in union violence, union corruption, and plant closures caused by featherbedding and other uneconomic union work rules.”

“UAW operatives are holding the wage increase hostage to force workers into union ranks,” stated Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The employees simply don’t want the union around – but Freightliner and the UAW are refusing to get the message.”

Under most “neutrality agreements,” union organizers are given full access to non-union employees’ personal information and company facilities. Also, workers are usually denied the ability to reject unionization through a secret ballot election, and union operatives are allowed to sign up workers under a “card check” authorization scheme. If UAW officials sign up a majority of the workers, Freightliner would likely agree to recognize the union as the exclusive representative of all workers, even those who did not sign a card. Under the “card check” unionization process, workers are often misled, harassed, or threatened into signing authorization cards.

In recent years, as union organizers have had less success in persuading employees to vote for unionization during secret ballot elections, unions have focused on organizing employers. Bolstered by a series of Clinton NLRB rulings, union operatives increasingly use “neutrality agreements” and other “top-down” organizing techniques to force employers to recognize unions without a vote by the 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.

Unions Hit with Federal Charges for Illegally Seizing Forced Dues from Ft. Benning Workers

Fort Benning, Ga. (August 6, 2003) — With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, five workers at Fort Benning today filed federal charges against local union officials for illegally forcing them to pay full union dues as a job condition. Led by Tom Jarvis, an employee of federal contractor Shaw Infrastructure, the workers filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Federal Employees Metal Trades Council, six local union affiliates, and the Laborers International Union of North America. The unions’ officials illegally threatened to get Jarvis and his co-workers fired for refusing to pay full union 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. “Their abusive actions show why the vast majority of Georgia workers are fortunate to work under the protection of a Right to Work Law.” Citing a so-called “union security clause” in a new contract between Shaw Infrastructure and the conglomerate of unions, union officials notified employees at the Fort Benning facility that they would be fired if they failed to sign dues check-off cards requiring them to pay full dues while forfeiting their right to resign from formal union membership. However, the workers never received timely notice of their right to refrain from full membership and pay only reduced fees that do not include the unions’ political and ideological activities. The union officials’ threats violate worker protections recognized under the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck and subsequent rulings, union officials must specifically inform employees of their right to refrain from formal union membership and from paying costs other than those directly related to collective bargaining. The Fort Benning controversy is somewhat unique in Georgia, because the state has a highly popular Right to Work law that bans compulsory unionism. However, because Fort Benning’s employees work on federal property under exclusive federal jurisdiction, the state’s Right to Work law does not protect them. Under these circumstances, the only way to prohibit compulsory union dues is to obtain and win an NLRB-supervised “deauthorization election,” a difficult process that the employees have already begun. “Because union officials are hostile to the concept of voluntary unionism, they constantly seek ways to maneuver around important Right to Work laws,” stated Gleason.

News Release

Unions Hit with Federal Charges for Illegally Seizing Forced Dues from Ft. Benning Workers

Fort Benning, Ga. (August 6, 2003) — With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, five workers at Fort Benning today filed federal charges against local union officials for illegally forcing them to pay full union dues as a job condition.

Led by Tom Jarvis, an employee of federal contractor Shaw Infrastructure, the workers filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Federal Employees Metal Trades Council, six local union affiliates, and the Laborers International Union of North America. The unions’ officials illegally threatened to get Jarvis and his co-workers fired for refusing to pay full union 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. “Their abusive actions show why the vast majority of Georgia workers are fortunate to work under the protection of a Right to Work Law.”

Citing a so-called “union security clause” in a new contract between Shaw Infrastructure and the conglomerate of unions, union officials notified employees at the Fort Benning facility that they would be fired if they failed to sign dues check-off cards requiring them to pay full dues while forfeiting their right to resign from formal union membership. However, the workers never received timely notice of their right to refrain from full membership and pay only reduced fees that do not include the unions’ political and ideological activities.

The union officials’ threats violate worker protections recognized under the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck and subsequent rulings, union officials must specifically inform employees of their right to refrain from formal union membership and from paying costs other than those directly related to collective bargaining.

The Fort Benning controversy is somewhat unique in Georgia, because the state has a highly popular Right to Work law that bans compulsory unionism. However, because Fort Benning’s employees work on federal property under exclusive federal jurisdiction, the state’s Right to Work law does not protect them. Under these circumstances, the only way to prohibit compulsory union dues is to obtain and win an NLRB-supervised “deauthorization election,” a difficult process that the employees have already begun.

“Because union officials are hostile to the concept of voluntary unionism, they constantly seek ways to maneuver around important Right to Work laws,” stated 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.

Autoworkers Challenge National Agreement Mandating Acquired Companies to Help Unionize their Own Employees

Cleveland, Ohio (August 5, 2003) – In a potentially precedent-setting legal challenge, employees of Collins & Aikman today filed federal charges against a “secondary boycott” arrangement that forces companies acquired by Heartland Industrial Partners LLP to help the Steelworkers unionize their unsuspecting employees and then impose the same requirement on other companies with which they do certain business. The charges attack an increasingly common “top-down organizing” tactic that is used to short-circuit traditional grassroots-driven union organizing drives that more frequently fail, due to a lack of interest in unionization among rank-and-file employees. With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Linda Kandel, Galen Raber, Juanita Miller, and Renate Croll filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the United Steelworkers of America, Heartland Industrial Partners LLP, and Collins & Aikman Corporation. As part of their pact with the Steelworkers union, Heartland agreed to force any company in which it has substantial investments to accept a so-called “neutrality agreement.” Under the terms of the “neutrality agreement,” the company must deny employees an opportunity to vote in a traditional secret ballot election, give union organizers employees’ private information including home addresses, and, ultimately, force workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment. The newly acquired company must then impose the “neutrality agreement” on corporations it acquires or with which it does substantial business. In return for this arrangement, union officials pour workers’ trust funds into Heartland, promise to stifle employee rights under federal law, and limit employees’ ability to influence their own wages, benefits, and working conditions. “Heartland and the Steelworkers union are using their sweetheart deal to spread compulsory unionism like a virus and infect as many workers as possible,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. This quid pro quo arrangement may also violate civil and criminal provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act. Today’s NLRB charges follow up a lawsuit filed last week by Foundation attorneys, Patterson et al. v. Heartland Industrial Partners LLP et al., challenging the “neutrality agreement” between Heartland and the Steelworkers union. The suit was filed on behalf of Wanda Patterson, an employee of Collins & Aikman, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. In 2001, Heartland bought out the Collins & Aikman Corporation and forced the company to accept a “neutrality agreement” with the Steelworkers union. Employees at the Holmesville, Ohio, Collins & Aikman facility had previously voted on several occasions to reject union representation before unionization was imposed in recent months under the so-called “neutrality agreement.”

News Release

Autoworkers Challenge National Agreement Mandating Acquired Companies to Help Unionize their Own Employees

Cleveland, Ohio (August 5, 2003) – In a potentially precedent-setting legal challenge, employees of Collins & Aikman today filed federal charges against a “secondary boycott” arrangement that forces companies acquired by Heartland Industrial Partners LLP to help the Steelworkers unionize their unsuspecting employees and then impose the same requirement on other companies with which they do certain business.

The charges attack an increasingly common “top-down organizing” tactic that is used to short-circuit traditional grassroots-driven union organizing drives that more frequently fail, due to a lack of interest in unionization among rank-and-file employees.

With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Linda Kandel, Galen Raber, Juanita Miller, and Renate Croll filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the United Steelworkers of America, Heartland Industrial Partners LLP, and Collins & Aikman Corporation.

As part of their pact with the Steelworkers union, Heartland agreed to force any company in which it has substantial investments to accept a so-called “neutrality agreement.” Under the terms of the “neutrality agreement,” the company must deny employees an opportunity to vote in a traditional secret ballot election, give union organizers employees’ private information including home addresses, and, ultimately, force workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

The newly acquired company must then impose the “neutrality agreement” on corporations it acquires or with which it does substantial business.

In return for this arrangement, union officials pour workers’ trust funds into Heartland, promise to stifle employee rights under federal law, and limit employees’ ability to influence their own wages, benefits, and working conditions.

“Heartland and the Steelworkers union are using their sweetheart deal to spread compulsory unionism like a virus and infect as many workers as possible,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation.

This quid pro quo arrangement may also violate civil and criminal provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act. Today’s NLRB charges follow up a lawsuit filed last week by Foundation attorneys, Patterson et al. v. Heartland Industrial Partners LLP et al., challenging the “neutrality agreement” between Heartland and the Steelworkers union. The suit was filed on behalf of Wanda Patterson, an employee of Collins & Aikman, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

In 2001, Heartland bought out the Collins & Aikman Corporation and forced the company to accept a “neutrality agreement” with the Steelworkers union. Employees at the Holmesville, Ohio, Collins & Aikman facility had previously voted on several occasions to reject union representation before unionization was imposed in recent months under the so-called “neutrality agreement.”

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.

Warnaco Workers Challenge UNITE Union Recognition As Illegitimate After Top-Down Organizing Drive

Altoona, Pa. (August 1, 2003) – Two employees of Warnaco Inc. filed charges asking that officials of the nation’s largest textile union be stripped of their exclusive representation power over Warnaco’s Altoona- based employees, as the union’s recognition was based on a “false and tainted” process. Meanwhile, 60 percent of the Warnaco employees have signed a petition declaring that they never signed union authorization cards. With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Foundation, Donna Taneyhill and Helen Holdsworth, two non-union employees, filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees (UNITE) and its Mid-Atlantic Regional Joint Board. Last month, UNITE officials claimed that – pursuant to the implementation of a so-called “neutrality agreement” and a “card check” authorization process – a majority of Warnaco employees had indicated they supported unionization. Based on this claim that was not verified by any company or government official, company officials nevertheless recognized the union as the exclusive representative. This action granted union officials a monopoly on bargaining over wages and working conditions that bind all Warnaco employees, and granted power to help impose compulsory union dues on the unwilling workers. Responding to UNITE’s claims, 60 percent of workers in the plant have signed a petition declaring they never signed the union authorization cards. Without a majority of workers signing the authorization cards, UNITE officials have no right to act as the workers’ exclusive representative. Meanwhile, other employees have come forward alleging UNITE organizers harassed employees and coerced them to sign union authorization cards. The employees ask that the NLRB prohibit the union from bargaining on their behalf. In addition to filing unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB, Taneyhill and Holdsworth also submitted a petition to the NLRB seeking a decertification election. If the decertification election is successful, UNITE will likewise lose its power to act as the “exclusive bargaining representative” of the employees, and all Warnaco employees will be free to negotiate their own terms and conditions of employment. “Union organizers exploit the highly abusive card check process to impose a union on employees without their consent,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. Recently, Warnaco and UNITE officials signed a so-called “neutrality agreement,” denying workers the ability to reject unionization through a secret ballot election and allowing the union to sign up workers under a “card check” authorization scheme. In recent years, as union organizers have had less success in persuading employees to vote for unionization during secret ballot elections, unions have focused on eliciting employer support in corralling workers into union collectives.

Legal Foundation to Assist Non-Striking Verizon Employees Targeted by Union Violence and Harassment

SPRINGFIELD, Va. (August 1, 2003) – With a disruptive telecommunications strike imminent from Virginia to Maine, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation today announced that it will offer free legal aid to non-striking Verizon workers who are targeted for illegal harassment or violence during the strike ordered by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union. According to news reports, during the last CWA union strike against Verizon in 2000, there were “455 incidences of threats to workers, vandalism, and assaults” attributed to the strike. “With union officials ordering employees off the job, employees who courageously continue to work often face violence and other ugly forms of retaliation,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The Foundation and its staff attorneys are prepared to provide free legal aid to workers who are victims of union coercion.” The union’s strike centers, in part, on its attempt to force Verizon’s management to agree to assist the union in organizing Verizon Wireless – despite the fact that those employees have previously rejected union organizing drives. An analysis of history shows that union officials frequently call strikes to seize more authority over employees, rather than to seek additional employee benefits. In addition to a documented history of violence, the CWA union hierarchy has a long history of fining and suing employees who continue to work to support their families. The only way to escape these fines and union lawsuits is for non-striking employees to resign from formal union membership before returning to work. However union officials frequently deceive employees about their right to resign, or they simply refuse to honor employees’ resignations from membership.Important Information For Workers:

News Release

Warnaco Workers Challenge UNITE Union Recognition As Illegitimate After Top-Down Organizing Drive

Altoona, Pa. (August 1, 2003) – Two employees of Warnaco Inc. filed charges asking that officials of the nation’s largest textile union be stripped of their exclusive representation power over Warnaco’s Altoona- based employees, as the union’s recognition was based on a “false and tainted” process. Meanwhile, 60 percent of the Warnaco employees have signed a petition declaring that they never signed union authorization cards.

With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Foundation, Donna Taneyhill and Helen Holdsworth, two non-union employees, filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees (UNITE) and its Mid-Atlantic Regional Joint Board.

Last month, UNITE officials claimed that – pursuant to the implementation of a so-called “neutrality agreement” and a “card check” authorization process – a majority of Warnaco employees had indicated they supported unionization. Based on this claim that was not verified by any company or government official, company officials nevertheless recognized the union as the exclusive representative. This action granted union officials a monopoly on bargaining over wages and working conditions that bind all Warnaco employees, and granted power to help impose compulsory union dues on the unwilling workers.

Responding to UNITE’s claims, 60 percent of workers in the plant have signed a petition declaring they never signed the union authorization cards. Without a majority of workers signing the authorization cards, UNITE officials have no right to act as the workers’ exclusive representative. Meanwhile, other employees have come forward alleging UNITE organizers harassed employees and coerced them to sign union authorization cards. The employees ask that the NLRB prohibit the union from bargaining on their behalf.

In addition to filing unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB, Taneyhill and Holdsworth also submitted a petition to the NLRB seeking a decertification election. If the decertification election is successful, UNITE will likewise lose its power to act as the “exclusive bargaining representative” of the employees, and all Warnaco employees will be free to negotiate their own terms and conditions of employment.

“Union organizers exploit the highly abusive card check process to impose a union on employees without their consent,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation.

Recently, Warnaco and UNITE officials signed a so-called “neutrality agreement,” denying workers the ability to reject unionization through a secret ballot election and allowing the union to sign up workers under a “card check” authorization scheme. In recent years, as union organizers have had less success in persuading employees to vote for unionization during secret ballot elections, unions have focused on eliciting employer support in corralling workers into union collectives.

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

Legal Foundation to Assist Non-Striking Verizon Employees Targeted by Union Violence and Harassment

SPRINGFIELD, Va. (August 1, 2003) – With a disruptive telecommunications strike imminent from Virginia to Maine, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation today announced that it will offer free legal aid to non-striking Verizon workers who are targeted for illegal harassment or violence during the strike ordered by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union.

According to news reports, during the last CWA union strike against Verizon in 2000, there were “455 incidences of threats to workers, vandalism, and assaults” attributed to the strike.

“With union officials ordering employees off the job, employees who courageously continue to work often face violence and other ugly forms of retaliation,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The Foundation and its staff attorneys are prepared to provide free legal aid to workers who are victims of union coercion.”

The union’s strike centers, in part, on its attempt to force Verizon’s management to agree to assist the union in organizing Verizon Wireless – despite the fact that those employees have previously rejected union organizing drives.

An analysis of history shows that union officials frequently call strikes to seize more authority over employees, rather than to seek additional employee benefits.

In addition to a documented history of violence, the CWA union hierarchy has a long history of fining and suing employees who continue to work to support their families. The only way to escape these fines and union lawsuits is for non-striking employees to resign from formal union membership before returning to work. However union officials frequently deceive employees about their right to resign, or they simply refuse to honor employees’ resignations from membership.

Important Information For 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.

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