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NLRB Orders Union to Respect Worker’s Right to Know How Confiscated Dues Are Spent

Richland, Wash. (February 19, 2003) — After International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 280 violated previous settlement agreements, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued an order requiring the union to stop forcing non-union employees of Fluor Daniel Hanford Inc. to pay full union-dues, including dues spent for politics. The NLRB issued the decision in response to charges filed by attorneys with the National Right to Work Foundation on behalf of Jeanne Olsen, an employee of Fluor Daniel Hanford. Since November 1996 union officials have violated Olsen’s rights by illegally seizing compulsory union dues from her without observing her due-process rights, including providing an audited statement of how forced dues are spent. As a non-union member Olsen cannot be forced to fund non-bargaining activities, such as political activities. On October 25, 2001 Olsen, the NLRB’s general counsel and IUOE Local 280 union officials entered into an agreement in which the union agreed finally to follow the law. However, union officials ignored the agreement and continued illegally to seize dues from Olsen. The full NLRB has now approved the agreement. If IUOE Local 280 does not obey the board’s order then the union will be prosecuted in federal court. “What incredible arrogance. For years these union officials just thumbed their noses at the government’s prosecutors and the employees the union claims to represent,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This shows the lengths that union officials will go keep workers’ mandatory union dues flowing into their coffers.” As part of the decision, the NLRB mandated the posting of a notice alerting employees of Fluor Daniel Hanford, Inc. of their right to refrain from formal union membership and payment of full union dues. The actions of IUOE Local 280 officials violated Olsen’s rights established by the U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck, a case that Foundation attorneys argued and won, workers may halt and reclaim forced union dues spent on politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining.

News Release

NLRB Orders Union to Respect Worker’s Right to Know How Confiscated Dues Are Spent

Richland, Wash. (February 19, 2003) — After International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 280 violated previous settlement agreements, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued an order requiring the union to stop forcing non-union employees of Fluor Daniel Hanford Inc. to pay full union-dues, including dues spent for politics.

The NLRB issued the decision in response to charges filed by attorneys with the National Right to Work Foundation on behalf of Jeanne Olsen, an employee of Fluor Daniel Hanford. Since November 1996 union officials have violated Olsen’s rights by illegally seizing compulsory union dues from her without observing her due-process rights, including providing an audited statement of how forced dues are spent.

As a non-union member Olsen cannot be forced to fund non-bargaining activities, such as political activities. On October 25, 2001 Olsen, the NLRB’s general counsel and IUOE Local 280 union officials entered into an agreement in which the union agreed finally to follow the law. However, union officials ignored the agreement and continued illegally to seize dues from Olsen.

The full NLRB has now approved the agreement. If IUOE Local 280 does not obey the board’s order then the union will be prosecuted in federal court.

“What incredible arrogance. For years these union officials just thumbed their noses at the government’s prosecutors and the employees the union claims to represent,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This shows the lengths that union officials will go keep workers’ mandatory union dues flowing into their coffers.”

As part of the decision, the NLRB mandated the posting of a notice alerting employees of Fluor Daniel Hanford, Inc. of their right to refrain from formal union membership and payment of full union dues.

The actions of IUOE Local 280 officials violated Olsen’s rights established by the U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck, a case that Foundation attorneys argued and won, workers may halt and reclaim forced union dues spent on politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining.

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.

Union Faces Trial At Labor Agency For Threatening to Kill Dissident Workers

Orlando, Fla. (February 14, 2003) — The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 835 officials face federal prosecution for illegally threatening to “kill” or otherwise harm workers who participated in efforts to toss out the union and breaking a previous settlement agreement with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Local 835 officials operate an exclusive union hiring hall that provides workers for the trade show, convention, and exhibition service industry in the Orlando area. After investigating the unfair labor practice charges filed by James Zitis and Clay Wayman – who obtained free legal representation from attorneys with the National Right to Work Foundation – the NLRB investigators found that union officials had “threatened to kill employees” and “threatened employees with the loss of work opportunities and the loss of their homes and possessions” if they engaged in activity to decertify the union through an NLRB-supervised election. In addition to naming IATSE Local 835, the NLRB complaint cites two of its top officials, Susan Wolfgang and Peter Merrifield, for their involvement in the harassment. “The outrageous threats issued by these union officials show they have no respect for the law or employees’ well being,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. On May 16, 2002, IATSE union officials agreed to accept an NLRB settlement agreement of some of the employees’ charges, which required them to post a notice alerting workers that they only had to pay fees equal to the cost of running the hiring hall. Union officials have failed to live up to the NLRB settlement and continue forcing non-union members to pay fees as a condition of using the hiring hall’s referral process without explaining how the fee was calculated. The NLRB has set the hearing date for July 21, 2003 to examine the charges against IATSE Local 835. Even though Florida has a highly popular and effective Right to Work law that frees nonunion employees from paying membership dues to an unwanted union, IATSE union officials use their monopoly bargaining privileges to set up exclusive hiring halls. In such halls, the union decides which employees to refer for work at conventions and trade shows, and the workers are forced to pay the union to be eligible for work.

News Release

Union Faces Trial At Labor Agency For Threatening to Kill Dissident Workers

Orlando, Fla. (February 14, 2003) — The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 835 officials face federal prosecution for illegally threatening to “kill” or otherwise harm workers who participated in efforts to toss out the union and breaking a previous settlement agreement with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Local 835 officials operate an exclusive union hiring hall that provides workers for the trade show, convention, and exhibition service industry in the Orlando area.

After investigating the unfair labor practice charges filed by James Zitis and Clay Wayman – who obtained free legal representation from attorneys with the National Right to Work Foundation – the NLRB investigators found that union officials had “threatened to kill employees” and “threatened employees with the loss of work opportunities and the loss of their homes and possessions” if they engaged in activity to decertify the union through an NLRB-supervised election.

In addition to naming IATSE Local 835, the NLRB complaint cites two of its top officials, Susan Wolfgang and Peter Merrifield, for their involvement in the harassment.

“The outrageous threats issued by these union officials show they have no respect for the law or employees’ well being,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation.

On May 16, 2002, IATSE union officials agreed to accept an NLRB settlement agreement of some of the employees’ charges, which required them to post a notice alerting workers that they only had to pay fees equal to the cost of running the hiring hall. Union officials have failed to live up to the NLRB settlement and continue forcing non-union members to pay fees as a condition of using the hiring hall’s referral process without explaining how the fee was calculated. The NLRB has set the hearing date for July 21, 2003 to examine the charges against IATSE Local 835.

Even though Florida has a highly popular and effective Right to Work law that frees nonunion employees from paying membership dues to an unwanted union, IATSE union officials use their monopoly bargaining privileges to set up exclusive hiring halls. In such halls, the union decides which employees to refer for work at conventions and trade shows, and the workers are forced to pay the union to be eligible for work.

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.

Legal Action Forces Plumbers Union to Refund Illegally Seized Funds

Cincinnati, OH (February 13, 2003) — Responding to charges filed by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has forced the Plumbers, Pipe Fitters and Mechanical Equipment Service union Local 392 to return $4,500 that it illegally seized from employees of Fluor Daniel Fernald’s uranium plant in Hamilton. Foundation attorneys originally filed the charges on behalf of seven company workers, led by Rick Wilson, after the union threatened to fire them for refusing to pay an illegal fee, which amounted to as much as $750 per worker. The Plumbers union must refund, with interest, the so-called “re-instatement fee” they illegally charged the workers as a condition of keeping their jobs. “This type of shakedown is a common tactic used by Big Labor to keep workers' money pouring into their forced-dues coffers,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. In addition to refunding the illegal fee, the settlement also forces union officials to post a notice alerting employees of the Hamilton plant of their right to refrain from formal union membership and the payment of full union dues. Under law, an employee may resign from formal union membership, pay a reduced fee to cover only the union’s collective bargaining costs, and further challenge the veracity of the union’s calculations. The case arose after Plumbers union officials violated the workers’ rights established by the U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck, a case that Foundation attorneys argued and won, workers may halt and reclaim forced union dues spent on politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining.

Cleveland State University Employees Hit Union With Federal Civil Rights Suit

Cleveland, Ohio (February 13, 2003) — With the help of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, five Cleveland State University (CSU) employees today filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court against a union and university administrators in their official capacities for violating the workers’ First Amendment and due process rights by forcing them to pay full union dues, including dues spent for politics. The five non-union employees –Ronald Walker, Ed Burkhart, Thomas Ensley, Julius Gipson, and Joseph Sirna – filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio against the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union Local 4309 and CSU administrators. “This is a clear case of union officials trying to bully employees into subsidizing objectionable union political activities,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Unfortunately, Ohioans do not have the protection of a Right to Work law, which would give employees a choice about whether a union hierarchy deserves their support.” From February 2001 to July 2002, CWA union officials illegally seized an agency fee equal to full union dues from non-union employees without providing any explanation of how the agency fee is justified. In July 2002, when CWA officials sent a letter to non-union employees claiming that the agency fee was 75% of full union dues, they failed to provide the workers with an independent audit verifying Local 4309’s claims. The actions of CWA union officials directly violate the Foundation-won Supreme Court decision in Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, which requires union officials to provide objecting employees an advance reduction of forced union dues used for politics and other non-bargaining activities. Under Hudson, union officials must provide audited disclosure of their books and justify expenditures made from forced union dues seized from employees who choose to refrain from union membership. As part of their charges the workers demand an independent audit to verify the claims made by CWA officials and a return of all money that was illegally seized since February 2001, plus interest. “Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Union bosses routinely break the law to try and shake down workers to pay for their political activities,” stated Gleason.

News Release

Legal Action Forces Plumbers Union to Refund Illegally Seized Funds

Cincinnati, OH (February 13, 2003) — Responding to charges filed by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has forced the Plumbers, Pipe Fitters and Mechanical Equipment Service union Local 392 to return $4,500 that it illegally seized from employees of Fluor Daniel Fernald’s uranium plant in Hamilton.

Foundation attorneys originally filed the charges on behalf of seven company workers, led by Rick Wilson, after the union threatened to fire them for refusing to pay an illegal fee, which amounted to as much as $750 per worker. The Plumbers union must refund, with interest, the so-called “re-instatement fee” they illegally charged the workers as a condition of keeping their jobs.

“This type of shakedown is a common tactic used by Big Labor to keep workers' money pouring into their forced-dues coffers,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation.

In addition to refunding the illegal fee, the settlement also forces union officials to post a notice alerting employees of the Hamilton plant of their right to refrain from formal union membership and the payment of full union dues. Under law, an employee may resign from formal union membership, pay a reduced fee to cover only the union’s collective bargaining costs, and further challenge the veracity of the union’s calculations.

The case arose after Plumbers union officials violated the workers’ rights established by the U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck, a case that Foundation attorneys argued and won, workers may halt and reclaim forced union dues spent on politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining.

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

Cleveland State University Employees Hit Union With Federal Civil Rights Suit

Cleveland, Ohio (February 13, 2003) — With the help of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, five Cleveland State University (CSU) employees today filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court against a union and university administrators in their official capacities for violating the workers’ First Amendment and due process rights by forcing them to pay full union dues, including dues spent for politics.

The five non-union employees –Ronald Walker, Ed Burkhart, Thomas Ensley, Julius Gipson, and Joseph Sirna – filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio against the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union Local 4309 and CSU administrators.

“This is a clear case of union officials trying to bully employees into subsidizing objectionable union political activities,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Unfortunately, Ohioans do not have the protection of a Right to Work law, which would give employees a choice about whether a union hierarchy deserves their support.”

From February 2001 to July 2002, CWA union officials illegally seized an agency fee equal to full union dues from non-union employees without providing any explanation of how the agency fee is justified. In July 2002, when CWA officials sent a letter to non-union employees claiming that the agency fee was 75% of full union dues, they failed to provide the workers with an independent audit verifying Local 4309’s claims.

The actions of CWA union officials directly violate the Foundation-won Supreme Court decision in Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, which requires union officials to provide objecting employees an advance reduction of forced union dues used for politics and other non-bargaining activities. Under Hudson, union officials must provide audited disclosure of their books and justify expenditures made from forced union dues seized from employees who choose to refrain from union membership.

As part of their charges the workers demand an independent audit to verify the claims made by CWA officials and a return of all money that was illegally seized since February 2001, plus interest.

“Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Union bosses routinely break the law to try and shake down workers to pay for their political activities,” 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.

Electrical Workers Vote to Free Themselves from Compulsory Union Dues

Somerset, Ky. (February 3, 2003) – After union officials negotiated a contract that eliminated key employee benefits, employees of Charter Communications obtained a deauthorization election and voted to prohibit the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union Local 369 from forcing workers to pay union dues as a job condition. Led by Sarah Lewis, an employee of Charter Communications, the workers voted in an election supervised by National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) officials. Lewis first sought the deauthorization election after union officials announced the contract they negotiated had eliminated workers’ benefits, including matching funds in the 401(k) program, sick leave, and leave for family funerals. Lewis learned of her rights, and received free legal assistance, from attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. Despite an intense propaganda campaign waged by union officials seeking to scare employees and to demonize Lewis and her employer, 75 percent of the 60 eligible employees voted to strip the union hierarchy of its special privilege to compel payment of union dues. “The employees of Charter Communications can now force the union hierarchy to be accountable to the interests of rank-and-file workers,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Since workers in Kentucky do not enjoy the protections of a Right to Work law, a deauthorization election is the only way they can break the grip of compulsory unionism.” In order to hold the deauthorization election, Lewis needed to have over 30 percent of her coworkers sign a petition requesting the election. Once that occurred, Lewis had to obtain “yes” votes from an absolute majority of workers in the bargaining unit. The requirement for an absolute majority, set by the National Labor Relations Act, is more difficult for employees to achieve than the standard for certifying a union, which requires only a majority of those voting.


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