News Release

Taxi Drivers Force Union to End Illegal Union-Dues Scheme

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.”

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.

Taxi Drivers Force Union to End Illegal Union-Dues Scheme

News Release

Taxi Drivers Force Union to End Illegal Union-Dues Scheme

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.

(Continue reading this news release...)

Keep Up With the Latest from the National Right to Work Foundation

The National Right to Work Foundation is just the place to get the latest developments on the fight against compulsory unionism.  There are several ways to learn about the daily developments in America’s Right to Work movement:

  • Get the News – Check out Foundation's News & Press section to be informed on the legal challenges workers face and the Foundation's frequent legal victories.  Also check out the media's coverage about some of the Foundation's efforts on our Delicious bookmarks webpage.
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  • Listen – Hear the voices of the Right to Work movement delve into a broad range of topics on workplace freedom with the National Right to Work podcast. In our latest podcast, the National Right to Work Committee's Greg Mourad sits down with WCHS radio hosts Michael Agnello and Rick Johnson to discuss card check's legislative prospects.  You can also listen to the Foundation's podcast via iTunes or manually subscribe to the feed.
  • Network With Fellow Supporters – Join our Facebook.com group and follow our Twitter page to connect with other Right to Work supporters from across the country.  The latest press releases, blog posts, and videos can be found on the Facebook group’s profile page – while the discussion board allows group members talk about current issues relating to compulsory unionism. Follow the Foundation on Twitter to get Foundation updates at home, work, or on-the-go.
  • Subscribe to our Newsletter – Read the latest edition of the National Right to Work Foundation’s newsletter, Foundation Action.  Foundation Action is a great resource to learn about the Foundation's groundbreaking efforts in the courts.  Sign up for your free subscription today. Subscribers will receive a hard copy in their mailbox every two months.
  • Read a Book – Receive a free book from the Foundation. In Stranglehold: How union bosses have hijacked our government, Reed Larson reveals the astonishing story of how Big Labor acquired incredible power over local, state, and national government in America and how the very existence of our democratic institutions are under siege as a result. In Union Dues and Religious Do Nots, Foundation attorney Bruce Cameron provides a how-to guide to employees with strong religious convictions who want to exercise their right to refrain from formal, dues-paying union membership if they morally object to the union bosses' political agenda. Get your free copy here today.

And of course, continue to log on to the Freedom@Work blog, the best place to get the scoop on the battle against forced unionism.

News Release

Seven Employees Force Settlement with Teamster Local Union Brass

Right to Work Attorneys help employees after union officials levy more than $200,000 in confiscatory fines

Chicago, IL (May 29, 2009) – With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, seven employees who refused to abandon their jobs during a strike forced a settlement with a local union after union officials levied exorbitant and illegal retaliatory fines against them.

The employees, truck drivers for industrial laundry company Lechner and Sons, filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Teamsters Local Union 731, an affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union, after Local 731 union officials hit the employees with fines ranging from $13,946 to $40,000 each for not abandoning their jobs during a strike. None of the employees were truly voluntary members of the union during the strike.

In July 2006, Local 731 union bosses ordered the employees to abandon their jobs during a so-called “sympathy strike” involving a different bargaining unit of workers at the plant where the strike occurred. After the strike ended in June 2007, union brass claimed the power to use fines to discipline non-striking employees.

Union officials never informed any of the employees of their right to refrain from formal union membership and pay a reduced amount of forced dues. Instead, union officials mislead the employees into believing that formal, full-dues-paying union membership was a condition of employment.

The union hierarchy also claimed the power to discipline two employees for working during the strike even though they were not union members during the strike. The union bosses illegally threatened one employee that if he did not pay the fine, he would never again work in a “union shop.”

With help from Foundation attorneys, the employees forced Local 731 union officials to drop the fines against the seven workers and refund part of their forced dues.

“It is unconscionable for union bosses to mislead employees into union membership and then attempt to drive them into the poorhouse in vicious retaliation for working,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Confiscatory fines and kangaroo courts are just some of the disturbing, yet increasingly-used tactics of union boss intimidation that are all too common in states like Illinois where there is no Right to Work law on the books.”

The employees at the workplace have since decertified the Teamster union as their monopoly bargaining agent.

(Click here to see a copy of a Teamsters Local 731 strike fines notice in which Teamster union bosses claimed the power to use $40,000 worth of fines to discipline one of the non-striking employees.)

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.

Seven Employees Force Settlement with Teamster Local Union Brass

News Release

Seven Employees Force Settlement with Teamster Local Union Brass

Right to Work Attorneys help employees after union officials levy more than $200,000 in confiscatory fines

Chicago, IL (May 29, 2009) – With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, seven employees who refused to abandon their jobs during a strike forced a settlement with a local union after union officials levied exorbitant and illegal retaliatory fines against them.

The employees, truck drivers for industrial laundry company Lechner and Sons, filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Teamsters Local Union 731, an affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union, after Local 731 union officials hit the employees with fines ranging from $13,946 to $40,000 each for not abandoning their jobs during a strike. None of the employees were truly voluntary members of the union during the strike.

In July 2006, Local 731 union bosses ordered the employees to abandon their jobs during a so-called “sympathy strike” involving a different bargaining unit of workers at the plant where the strike occurred. After the strike ended in June 2007, union brass claimed the power to use fines to discipline non-striking employees.

(Continue reading this news release...)

(Click here to see a copy of a Teamsters Local 731 strike fines notice in which Teamster union bosses claimed the power to use $40,000 worth of fines to discipline one of the non-striking employees.)

Research Institute Finds ‘Card-Check’ Forced Unionism Threatens Job-Based Private Health Insurance

The National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NILRR) recently published a fact sheet discussing U.S. Census Bureau data from 1999 to 2007 that shows the "Card Check" Forced Unionism Bill and similar legislative "compromises" actually endanger workers' access to health insurance.

According to NILRR's observations:

As of 1999, according to economists Barry Hirsch and David Macpherson, 10.2% of private-sector employees nationwide were under “exclusive” union representation.  In 10 states -- Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Washington -- 14% or more of private-sector employees were unionized. From 1999 to 2007, these states suffered an aggregate decline of 3.0%, or 1.44 million, in the number of people with private, job-based health insurance.

The 22 states with 1999 private-sector unionization of between 7.0% and 13.9% also experienced an overall decline in access to job-based insurance, but the decline was substantially less
severe. The employment-based insurance rolls in these states -- Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota,
Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming -- fell by 843,000, or 1.2%, from 1999 to 2007.

Meanwhile, the 18 states with 1999 private-sector unionization of no more than 6.9% -- Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North
Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia -- had a very different experience. These least-unionized states enjoyed an increase of 2.96 million, or 5.2%,
in the number of people with job-based private health insurance.

NILRR sums up their findings by stating, "there is a strong negative correlation between the growth in the ranks of the privately insured within a state and the share of its private-sector employees who are subject to union monopoly bargaining."  In other words, in states where union bosses are more likely to hold their grasp on private-sector workers in the workplace by claiming monopoly bargaining privileges over them, the more likely the number of those employees and their families receiving private health insurance from their employer will decrease -- i.e. forced unionism threatens workers' access to private-sector job-based health insurance. 

Enter Big Labor's latest compulsory-dues power grab: card check forced unionism.  Card check forced unionism (and similar legislative "compromises" being floated in the U.S. Senate right now) intends to help Big Labor herd more workers into compulsory unionism by making it easier for union bosses to use coercion and intimidation to claim monopoly-bargaining power over millions of additional workers.  However, NILRR's research illustrates that President Barack Obama and Congressional compulsory unionism advocates are working steadily to sell out not only workers' rights -- but also their well-being -- to continue to dole out paybacks for Big Labor's political support.

For more on NILRR's findings, click here.

Compulsory Unionism Bankrupting States: Workers Flee to Right to Work States for Jobs

As the current economic downturn continues, many states across the nation are starting to find it increasingly difficult to stay afloat after having capitulated to the union bosses' extortionate demands.  Last week, the Wall Street Journal cited the National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NILRR) -- an anti-compulsory unionism think tank that exposes the harm forced unionism inflicts on workers -- when discussing Big Labor's contribution toward the severe financial difficulties California, New York, and New Jersey are experiencing and the migration of workers leaving these forced-unionism states:

Powerful unions. Mr. Obama believes union power is a ticket to the middle class. The middle class is getting creamed in all three of these "progressive" states, where organized labor is king. The unionized share of the workforce is 20% in California, 19% in New Jersey and 27% in New York compared to 13% across the country. All three are non-right-to-work states, have super-minimum wage requirements and provide among the nation's most generous public-employee pensions.

Workers in these paradises are indeed uniting -- by leaving. New York ranks first, California second and New Jersey third in moving vans leaving the state. A study by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research found that over the past decade these and other high-union states (mostly in the Northeast) had one-third the job growth of states with low union penetration.

NILRR recently found an especially strong correlation between a state’s Right to Work status and its job growth, while employees in Right to Work states are benefiting from faster job growth and higher real purchasing power than their compulsory unionism counterparts.

Perhaps it's also worth revisiting a Wall Street Journal article penned late last year by National Right to Work President Mark Mix, reminding us that a massive expansion in forced unionism power played a key role in making the Great Depression longer and deeper.

Another Day, Another Union Stooge Appointed by Obama

In the latest of a litany of Big Labor political paybacks, President Barack Obama nominated union lawyer George H. Cohen to Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). 

According to the Peggy Browning Fund’s biography of Cohen, "he joined the National Labor Relations Board in 1960 as an Attorney Advisor for Board Member [Gerald] Brown where he helped shape the progressive, union [boss]... friendly agenda of the 'Kennedy Board'…  In 1966, George left the Board to begin his 40 year stint as a union-side labor lawyer."

Cohen’s past efforts on behalf of union chiefs clearly indicates that he brings years of forced unionism bias to what is a very coveted position for Big Labor.

Under the mandatory binding arbitration provision in the Card Check Forced Unionism Bill, the FMCS bureaucrats would take over employer/union boss contract negotiations 90 days after a card check forced organizing campaign.  The forced arbitration provision that is triggered at 120 days not only snatches the power of contract negotiations away from the people it actually affects; but it also, as the Wall Street Journal notes, emboldens union bosses "to run out the 120-day clock and let an arbitrator impose a contract that is bound to include much of what unions demand."  The federally-imposed contract would be binding for two years.

If Big Labor's Card Check Forced Unionism Bill passes, the Cohen-led FMCS would become a defacto rubber stamp for union boss coercion, doing Big Labor's dirty work during negotiations and empowering them to browbeat employers into forcing more workers into forced-dues-paying union membership.

Obama's nomination of yet another union hired gun, this time for the vital post of FMCS Director, is just another example in a long list of union stooges who clearly do not have the best interests of independent-minded workers at heart.


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