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Tulsa District Court Judge Rules to Allow Employee to Intervene in Defense of Right to Work Law

Tulsa, Okla. (July 15, 2003) – After National Right to Work Foundation attorneys discovered a collusive lawsuit attacking the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s Right to Work amendment, a Tulsa County judge has ruled to allow an employee represented by Foundation attorneys to intervene in the case in order to defend the law. Meanwhile, Attorney General Drew Edmondson, embarrassed when his previous decision to sit on the sidelines became public, has also now filed a motion to intervene in the case. However, rather than oppose the union’s motion for summary judgment, the attorney general is merely arguing that proceedings in the Tulsa case should be delayed until the State Supreme Court resolves the other pending legal challenge to the Right to Work amendment. Meanwhile, the attorney general has failed to respond to the Foundation’s formal request for internal documents detailing why the attorney general had previously chosen not to defend the law. Judge David Peterson of the Oklahoma State District Court for Tulsa County ruled to admit Stephen Weese, an employee of Oklahoma Fixture Company, as a “defendant intervenor” in the case of Eastern Oklahoma Building and Construction Trades Council v. Ralph Pitts. As “defendant intervenor,” Weese can file briefs and his attorneys can make arguments in court defending his financial and liberty interests at stake in the preservation of the Right to Work amendment. Weese argues, in part, that if the union lawyers prevail in overturning Oklahoma’s Right to Work amendment, which prohibits the abusive practice of forcing employees to pay compulsory dues as a job condition, he will suffer direct financial harm. “By allowing a pro Right to Work employee and his attorneys to enter the case, the court will finally have the opportunity to hear serious arguments opposing this cynical legal attack on Oklahoma’s Right to Work law,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Since the plaintiff union and defendant employer are in cahoots, the court would have only heard one side of the story.” Filed quietly on May 13, 2003, in Oklahoma State District Court for Tulsa County, Eastern Oklahoma Building and Construction Trades Council v. Ralph Pitts challenges the Right to Work constitutional amendment on grounds that it somehow violates the Oklahoma constitution. Circumstances suggest that the suit is a “collusion suit” intended by both parties (union and employer) to void the state’s Right to Work law quietly without arguments made zealously by a party that sincerely supports the law. Legal documents show that the employer defendant, electrical contractor Ralph Pitts, is represented by an attorney who has previously represented International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 584, a member of the plaintiff trades council and the “real party in interest” in this lawsuit. This attorney filed only perfunctory “opposition” to the union’s motion for summary judgment.

National Worker Rights Advocate Joins Legal Battle To Protect New Jersey Employees From Union Abuse

Trenton, NJ (July 15, 2003) — In order to protect the rights of non-union government workers to refrain from paying dues to an unwanted union, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed arguments on behalf of Hunterdon County workers attacking the constitutionality of a recently amended state law. The amicus curiae, or “friend of the court” brief, was filed in Hunterdon County v. CWA, Local 1034 pending in the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division on behalf of Henry Wieczorek and other non-union Hunterdon County employees. The brief challenges the decision by the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) ordering the county to seize compulsory agency fees from all employees in the Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 1034 bargaining unit. Foundation attorneys argue there is no compelling state interest to justify PERC’s forcing Hunterdon County to collect compulsory dues from non-union members when county officials have already rejected the requirement during the collective bargaining process. In addition, Foundation attorneys charge that if counties are forced to collect the fees, it will strip away safeguards that protect workers from having compulsory agency fees used to support union politics or other activities not directly related to collective bargaining. “CWA union bosses want to use the county government as their collection agency and strong-arm workers into subsidizing a union that they do not support,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Union officials would rather have the power to compel payment of dues than have to earn employees’ voluntary support.” Until recently, New Jersey’s county and municipal employees who had refrained from union membership could not be compelled to pay so-called “agency fees” unless local government officials had agreed to such a requirement through the collective bargaining process. However, a new statute signed by Governor McGreevey in 2002 gave union officials the power to utilize a new PERC procedure to force county governments to impose the requirement as a job condition. Last December, in response to demands from CWA Local 1034, PERC ordered Hunterdon County to begin deducting agency fees from all non-union county government employees. Seeking to defend its employees freedom of association, Hunterdon County officials filed suit against the CWA union challenging the commission’s order. A ruling in favor of the county would strike down the McGreevey law.

News Release

Tulsa District Court Judge Rules to Allow Employee to Intervene in Defense of Right to Work Law

Tulsa, Okla. (July 15, 2003) – After National Right to Work Foundation attorneys discovered a collusive lawsuit attacking the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s Right to Work amendment, a Tulsa County judge has ruled to allow an employee represented by Foundation attorneys to intervene in the case in order to defend the law.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Drew Edmondson, embarrassed when his previous decision to sit on the sidelines became public, has also now filed a motion to intervene in the case. However, rather than oppose the union’s motion for summary judgment, the attorney general is merely arguing that proceedings in the Tulsa case should be delayed until the State Supreme Court resolves the other pending legal challenge to the Right to Work amendment. Meanwhile, the attorney general has failed to respond to the Foundation’s formal request for internal documents detailing why the attorney general had previously chosen not to defend the law.

Judge David Peterson of the Oklahoma State District Court for Tulsa County ruled to admit Stephen Weese, an employee of Oklahoma Fixture Company, as a “defendant intervenor” in the case of Eastern Oklahoma Building and Construction Trades Council v. Ralph Pitts. As “defendant intervenor,” Weese can file briefs and his attorneys can make arguments in court defending his financial and liberty interests at stake in the preservation of the Right to Work amendment.

Weese argues, in part, that if the union lawyers prevail in overturning Oklahoma’s Right to Work amendment, which prohibits the abusive practice of forcing employees to pay compulsory dues as a job condition, he will suffer direct financial harm.

“By allowing a pro Right to Work employee and his attorneys to enter the case, the court will finally have the opportunity to hear serious arguments opposing this cynical legal attack on Oklahoma’s Right to Work law,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Since the plaintiff union and defendant employer are in cahoots, the court would have only heard one side of the story.”

Filed quietly on May 13, 2003, in Oklahoma State District Court for Tulsa County, Eastern Oklahoma Building and Construction Trades Council v. Ralph Pitts challenges the Right to Work constitutional amendment on grounds that it somehow violates the Oklahoma constitution. Circumstances suggest that the suit is a “collusion suit” intended by both parties (union and employer) to void the state’s Right to Work law quietly without arguments made zealously by a party that sincerely supports the law.

Legal documents show that the employer defendant, electrical contractor Ralph Pitts, is represented by an attorney who has previously represented International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 584, a member of the plaintiff trades council and the “real party in interest” in this lawsuit. This attorney filed only perfunctory “opposition” to the union’s motion for summary judgment.

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

National Worker Rights Advocate Joins Legal Battle To Protect New Jersey Employees From Union Abuse

Trenton, NJ (July 15, 2003) — In order to protect the rights of non-union government workers to refrain from paying dues to an unwanted union, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed arguments on behalf of Hunterdon County workers attacking the constitutionality of a recently amended state law.

The amicus curiae, or “friend of the court” brief, was filed in Hunterdon County v. CWA, Local 1034 pending in the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division on behalf of Henry Wieczorek and other non-union Hunterdon County employees. The brief challenges the decision by the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) ordering the county to seize compulsory agency fees from all employees in the Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 1034 bargaining unit.

Foundation attorneys argue there is no compelling state interest to justify PERC’s forcing Hunterdon County to collect compulsory dues from non-union members when county officials have already rejected the requirement during the collective bargaining process. In addition, Foundation attorneys charge that if counties are forced to collect the fees, it will strip away safeguards that protect workers from having compulsory agency fees used to support union politics or other activities not directly related to collective bargaining.

“CWA union bosses want to use the county government as their collection agency and strong-arm workers into subsidizing a union that they do not support,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Union officials would rather have the power to compel payment of dues than have to earn employees’ voluntary support.”

Until recently, New Jersey’s county and municipal employees who had refrained from union membership could not be compelled to pay so-called “agency fees” unless local government officials had agreed to such a requirement through the collective bargaining process. However, a new statute signed by Governor McGreevey in 2002 gave union officials the power to utilize a new PERC procedure to force county governments to impose the requirement as a job condition.

Last December, in response to demands from CWA Local 1034, PERC ordered Hunterdon County to begin deducting agency fees from all non-union county government employees. Seeking to defend its employees freedom of association, Hunterdon County officials filed suit against the CWA union challenging the commission’s order. A ruling in favor of the county would strike down the McGreevey law.

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.

Right to Work Foundation to Appeal Ruling that Forces Teachers to Pay for Union Political Activities

SEATTLE, Wash. (July 9, 2003) — After a Washington appellate court threw out provisions of the state’s campaign finance law that required union officials to obtain the prior consent of public employees before spending mandatory union dues for politics, attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation announced they will seek discretionary review on behalf of more than 4,000 teachers at the state Supreme Court. The ruling dismissing the teacher’s suit, Davenport v. Washington Education Association (WEA), came in connection with the appellate court’s decision last week to strike down part of Initiative 134, Washington’s so-called “paycheck protection” law, in the related case of Public Disclosure Commission v. WEA. In that action the Thurston County Superior Court fined the WEA union $400,000 for intentionally violating I-134 and enjoined it from collecting that portion of the agency fee that was used for politics. Despite that ruling, Washington’s so-called “paycheck protection” law, like its counterparts in other states, has proven ineffective in limiting the use of union dues for political activities. In the case of the WEA, the union has actually increased its political resources since the law was passed. Union lawyers for the WEA had filed an appeal in Davenport after Thurston County Superior Court Judge Daniel Berschauer ruled that the teachers had an implied right of action under I-134 to recover the fees the WEA had used, without their authorization, for political purposes. The trial court also certified the case as a class action on behalf of thousands of non-member teachers. “These cases just show that so-called ‘paycheck protection’ laws are ineffective in halting the practice of forcing employees to function as ATM machines for union political operatives,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The only way to make sure workers are protected is to strip Washington union officials of their power to seize union dues from employees as a job condition.” Even though by its own admission the WEA union spends millions of dollars each year on activities unrelated to collective bargaining, the much-hyped “paycheck protection” regulation has offered little relief to Washington teachers. If the state Supreme Court reinstates the Thurston County court’s rulings, teachers will still only be able to reclaim about $10 each per year, on average, under I-134. Greater relief is available under a settlement of a First Amendment lawsuit litigated by National Right to Work Foundation attorneys in recent years. Under that case, Leer v. WEA, non-member teachers may annually reclaim more than $175 each.

News Release

Right to Work Foundation to Appeal Ruling that Forces Teachers to Pay for Union Political Activities

SEATTLE, Wash. (July 9, 2003) — After a Washington appellate court threw out provisions of the state’s campaign finance law that required union officials to obtain the prior consent of public employees before spending mandatory union dues for politics, attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation announced they will seek discretionary review on behalf of more than 4,000 teachers at the state Supreme Court.

The ruling dismissing the teacher’s suit, Davenport v. Washington Education Association (WEA), came in connection with the appellate court’s decision last week to strike down part of Initiative 134, Washington’s so-called “paycheck protection” law, in the related case of Public Disclosure Commission v. WEA.

In that action the Thurston County Superior Court fined the WEA union $400,000 for intentionally violating I-134 and enjoined it from collecting that portion of the agency fee that was used for politics. Despite that ruling, Washington’s so-called “paycheck protection” law, like its counterparts in other states, has proven ineffective in limiting the use of union dues for political activities. In the case of the WEA, the union has actually increased its political resources since the law was passed.

Union lawyers for the WEA had filed an appeal in Davenport after Thurston County Superior Court Judge Daniel Berschauer ruled that the teachers had an implied right of action under I-134 to recover the fees the WEA had used, without their authorization, for political purposes. The trial court also certified the case as a class action on behalf of thousands of non-member teachers.

“These cases just show that so-called ‘paycheck protection’ laws are ineffective in halting the practice of forcing employees to function as ATM machines for union political operatives,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The only way to make sure workers are protected is to strip Washington union officials of their power to seize union dues from employees as a job condition.”

Even though by its own admission the WEA union spends millions of dollars each year on activities unrelated to collective bargaining, the much-hyped “paycheck protection” regulation has offered little relief to Washington teachers. If the state Supreme Court reinstates the Thurston County court’s rulings, teachers will still only be able to reclaim about $10 each per year, on average, under I-134. Greater relief is available under a settlement of a First Amendment lawsuit litigated by National Right to Work Foundation attorneys in recent years. Under that case, Leer v. WEA, non-member teachers may annually reclaim more than $175 each.

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.

Construction Workers at Will Rogers Airport File Federal Charges Against Union After Illegal Firings

Oklahoma City, Okla. (July 7, 2003) — With free legal aid provided by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a pair of Oklahoma City airport workers filed federal charges today against a local union for illegally causing their termination in retaliation for refraining from union affiliation. Mitchell Girod and Terry Southerland, both construction workers at the Will Rogers World Airport site in Oklahoma City, filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Last month, ISEC, Inc. managers fired the two employees at the request of union officials with the Arkansas Council of Carpenters and Joiners (ACCJ) under the auspices of an unlawful pre-hire agreement. A majority of ISEC, Inc. employees had already voted against union representation in an NLRB-supervised secret ballot election. Nevertheless, only weeks later, the union and employer entered into the pre-hire agreement, which requires employees to get clearance from union officials and pay a fee to an exclusive union hiring hall to perform work on the construction site. “Ignoring the fact that the employees had already rejected unionization, union officials demanded that employees pay up or be fired,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This is the type of tyranny that Oklahomans meant to end when they enacted the state’s Right to Work law.” The firings violated the law because the employees had rejected unionization within 12 months before the new contract; Girod and Southerland were never informed of their rights; and the union hierarchy specifically retaliated against them for refusing to pay money to the union. In addition to running afoul of federal law, the agreement violates the spirit of Oklahoma’s highly popular Right to Work constitutional amendment. The amendment, passed in 2001 through a statewide referendum, frees workers from being forced to join or to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Since its passage, Oklahoma has led the nation in several categories of economic growth. Unfortunately, federal law preempts state law in the hiring hall context. “Hiring halls are used by union bosses to undermine the protections of a Right to Work law," said Gleason.

News Release

Construction Workers at Will Rogers Airport File Federal Charges Against Union After Illegal Firings

Oklahoma City, Okla. (July 7, 2003) — With free legal aid provided by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a pair of Oklahoma City airport workers filed federal charges today against a local union for illegally causing their termination in retaliation for refraining from union affiliation.

Mitchell Girod and Terry Southerland, both construction workers at the Will Rogers World Airport site in Oklahoma City, filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Last month, ISEC, Inc. managers fired the two employees at the request of union officials with the Arkansas Council of Carpenters and Joiners (ACCJ) under the auspices of an unlawful pre-hire agreement.

A majority of ISEC, Inc. employees had already voted against union representation in an NLRB-supervised secret ballot election. Nevertheless, only weeks later, the union and employer entered into the pre-hire agreement, which requires employees to get clearance from union officials and pay a fee to an exclusive union hiring hall to perform work on the construction site.

“Ignoring the fact that the employees had already rejected unionization, union officials demanded that employees pay up or be fired,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This is the type of tyranny that Oklahomans meant to end when they enacted the state’s Right to Work law.”

The firings violated the law because the employees had rejected unionization within 12 months before the new contract; Girod and Southerland were never informed of their rights; and the union hierarchy specifically retaliated against them for refusing to pay money to the union.

In addition to running afoul of federal law, the agreement violates the spirit of Oklahoma’s highly popular Right to Work constitutional amendment. The amendment, passed in 2001 through a statewide referendum, frees workers from being forced to join or to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Since its passage, Oklahoma has led the nation in several categories of economic growth.

Unfortunately, federal law preempts state law in the hiring hall context. “Hiring halls are used by union bosses to undermine 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.

Lake Geneva Union Hit with Federal Charges for Illegal Seizure of Forced Union Dues

Lake Geneva, Wis. (July 1, 2003) — Enjoying free legal aid from attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an employee of Trostel SEG, Inc., filed federal charges against local union officials for illegally forcing him to pay full union dues, including dues spent for politics. Brandon Moran, a non-union employee at Trostel’s Lake Geneva plant, filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Independent Union of National Amalgamated Workers (NAW) Local 711. The NLRB is responsible for investigating the charges and will decide whether to prosecute the union for unfair labor practices. “NAW union officials’ actions show they only care about stuffing their coffers with union dues rather than respecting the wishes of rank-and-file employees they claim to represent,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. Within the past six months, Moran notified NAW union officials of his resignation from the union and intention to pay only those costs directly related to collective bargaining. NAW union officials have illegally continued seizing full union dues from Moran, claiming Moran had authorized the employer to deduct full union dues from his paycheck. Despite the union’s claims, neither the company nor NAW has shown it has a valid dues deduction authorization on file. The actions of NAW union officials violate the Foundation-won Communications Workers v. Beck U.S. Supreme Court decision. Under Beck, workers are allowed to resign from formal union membership and halt and reclaim the portion of forced union dues spent on activities unrelated to collective bargaining, such as union politics, organizing, and public relations. Union officials must provide workers a list of activities they claim they can compel non-members to subsidize. “No one should be forced to pay compulsory dues to a union, especially when its officials continually abuse that federally granted special privilege,” stated Gleason. “Until Wisconsin workers enjoy the protections of a Right to Work law, workers will continue suffering this type of abuse at the hands of self-serving union officials.”

News Release

Lake Geneva Union Hit with Federal Charges for Illegal Seizure of Forced Union Dues

Lake Geneva, Wis. (July 1, 2003) — Enjoying free legal aid from attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an employee of Trostel SEG, Inc., filed federal charges against local union officials for illegally forcing him to pay full union dues, including dues spent for politics.

Brandon Moran, a non-union employee at Trostel’s Lake Geneva plant, filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Independent Union of National Amalgamated Workers (NAW) Local 711. The NLRB is responsible for investigating the charges and will decide whether to prosecute the union for unfair labor practices.

“NAW union officials’ actions show they only care about stuffing their coffers with union dues rather than respecting the wishes of rank-and-file employees they claim to represent,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation.

Within the past six months, Moran notified NAW union officials of his resignation from the union and intention to pay only those costs directly related to collective bargaining. NAW union officials have illegally continued seizing full union dues from Moran, claiming Moran had authorized the employer to deduct full union dues from his paycheck. Despite the union’s claims, neither the company nor NAW has shown it has a valid dues deduction authorization on file.

The actions of NAW union officials violate the Foundation-won Communications Workers v. Beck U.S. Supreme Court decision. Under Beck, workers are allowed to resign from formal union membership and halt and reclaim the portion of forced union dues spent on activities unrelated to collective bargaining, such as union politics, organizing, and public relations. Union officials must provide workers a list of activities they claim they can compel non-members to subsidize.

“No one should be forced to pay compulsory dues to a union, especially when its officials continually abuse that federally granted special privilege,” stated Gleason. “Until Wisconsin workers enjoy the protections of a Right to Work law, workers will continue suffering this type of abuse at the hands of self-serving union officials.”

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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