Union bosses illegally refused to allow drivers out of union membership, despite Nevada’s popular Right to Work law
Las Vegas, Nevada (May 13, 2009) – With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a cab driver working for the largest taxi business in Las Vegas forced a local union’s bosses to back down after they refused to allow him and his coworkers to exercise their right to refrain from formal, dues-paying union membership.
Late last year, Fred Haeberle and some of his colleagues at the Nevada Yellow, Checker and Star Cab Corporations attempted to resign from formal, dues-paying union membership with the Industrial, Technical, and Professional Employees (ITPE) union – a local union of the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), an AFL-CIO affiliate.
ITPE union bosses maliciously refused Haeberle’s request – saying he had “no standing” to assert his rights. Haeberle then turned to the National Right to Work Foundation for free legal aid.
In the Foundation-assisted Pattern Makers v. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) United States Supreme Court case, the Court held that employees have the right to resign from union membership at any time. And Nevada’s Right to Work law prohibits union officials from compelling employees to join or pay dues to a union.
After Foundation attorneys filed a federal charge with the NLRB for Haeberle (and others similarly situated), the ITPE union acknowledged that Haeberle’s request indeed had standing, but still wrongly claimed that he had to wait until a designated “window period” of time in order to resign from union membership.
Only when the NLRB Regional Office seemed poised to prosecute the violations did ITPE union officials back away from this illegal “window period” policy. The threat of prosecution forced ITPE union officials to admit Haeberle’s original union membership resignation letter was indeed effective, and they agreed to settle. ITPE union bosses must also now post a notice stating that they will no longer deny workers of their right to refrain from union membership or use “window periods” to prevent workers from exercising their right to resign from formal union membership.
“Union bosses are interested in one thing, and one thing only: money,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of National Right to Work. “Workers should not have to get an attorney, nor face ugly union intimidation and stonewalling tactics, when they try to exercise their legal rights under Nevada’s popular Right to Work law.”