Providence, RI (February 4, 2013) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, a Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) technician has won an informal settlement from a local union for violating his rights.
The settlement stems from a federal unfair labor practice charge Robert Vennerbeck of Providence filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Boston against the RISD Technical Association union – an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA) union.
Vennerbeck resigned formal union membership and revoked his union dues deduction authorization – a form used to take union dues from workers' paychecks. The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that workers have the right to refrain from full-dues-paying union membership. Because Rhode Island does not have Right to Work protections making union affiliation completely voluntary, workers who refrain from formal union membership may still be forced to pay part of union dues to keep their jobs. However, nonmember workers cannot be required to pay union dues spent for union political activities and member-only events.
Vennerbeck charged that union officials refused to follow federal disclosure requirements outlined under Supreme Court precedent despite Vennerbeck's repeated requests.