Erie, Pennsylvania (December 6, 2004) – National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) prosecutors in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have granted a request by local Electrical Materials Company workers for a hearing into union officials’ misuse of compulsory union dues. The NLRB Region 6 director issued an unfair labor practices complaint against the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) Union Local 684, and UE District 6 after the workers – with the help of National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys — successfully appealed their case to the NLRB General Counsel in Washington, DC. The employees and the government prosecutors allege that union officials denied employees their right not to subsidize union politics, failed to provide them with a legally-mandated independent audit of union expenditures, and continued to seize full union dues from workers’ paychecks after they notified union officials that they objected to paying full dues. Lynn Whelan, Gary Brown, and Miles Kidder, employees of Electrical Materials Company, which manufactures copper products, obtained free legal assistance from the Foundation and filed the original unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB in November 2003 after union officials repeatedly denied their right to refrain from paying full union dues. The employees allege that, beginning in October 2003, they informed union officials that they were exercising their right to refrain from paying full union dues. However, union officials demanded that they reconfirm their objection on an annual basis. “Union officials want workers like these to simply shut up and pay up,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Rather than respect the rights of workers they claim to represent, union officials are bullying workers to pay for their political electioneering.” The actions of UE union officials violated employee rights recognized under the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck and subsequent NLRB rulings, union officials must inform employees of their right to refrain from formal union membership and their right not to be forced to pay for costs unrelated to collective bargaining, such as union political activity. When pressed by the employees for a legally-mandated breakdown of union expenditures, UE union officials reluctantly released a statement from fiscal year ending June 2003 which showed 32% of dues money was unlawfully spent on “nonrepresentational activities,” but continued to deduct full union dues from the paychecks of nonunion workers. The NLRB Region has scheduled the hearing for February 2005 before an Administrative Law Judge.