Grocery Union Caves Under Foundation Pressure
Foundation attorneys force rehiring of employee on eve of hearing

September/October 2000 Issue

MOJAVE, Calif. – Thanks to the diligent efforts of Foundation attorneys, Rite Aid Pharmacy has been forced to rehire an employee fired for exercising her right not to pay forced union dues for politics. Union officials paid the employee $3,000 in back pay.

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1036 union officials demanded that Deena Chacanaca be fired when she stopped paying forced union dues, though they refused to provide her with an independent audit of union expenditures. The union officials’ refusal violated the Foundation-won Supreme Court decision in Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, which requires them to provide independently audited disclosure of their books. Under Foundation precedents, they must justify the lawfulness of their expenditures before seizing any forced union dues from the employees, including money spent on politics.

From the start, union officials used repeated delaying tactics to keep Chacanaca at bay. After Foundation attorneys filed several federal charges, union bosses and Rite Aid managers agreed to the settlement on the eve of the hearing before an administrative law judge.

Big Labor arrogance runs rampant

Initially, Chacanaca was told she had to join the union and pay full membership dues. After refusing to join, Chacanaca received only a laughable 6.89% reduction from the regular dues amount, so she demanded an independent audit to see how union officials were spending her hard-earned money.

Eventually, the union provided Chacanaca a bogus “financial disclosure” with a new demand containing a reduced fee amount of 13.82% off the regular membership dues.

“The union’s obnoxious ‘disclosure’ made a mockery of Chacanaca’s rights,” said Randy Wanke, the Foundation’s Director of Legal Information.

Although the “disclosures” were legally inadequate, they still reflected that union officials were illegally spending forced dues on activities outlawed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Beck ruling, won by Foundation attorneys in 1988, including overhead expenses, undescribed activities, and cryptically labeled “other expenses” totaling $320,984.

Foundation attorneys responded by filing unfair labor practice charges against the union while Chacanaca continued to exercise her right not to pay dues for politics. That’s when Rite Aid managers fired her.

Weak-kneed Rite Aid yields to Big Labor demands

Under the settlement agreement, Foundation attorneys forced Rite Aid management to reinstate Chacanaca to her old position with full seniority and union officials paid her the money she lost while unemployed.

“Gutless Rite Aid managers did the union’s dirty work by firing Mrs. Chacanaca,” said Wanke. “In the end, they paid a price.”

Employee thanks Foundation supporters

“Thanks to the diligent work and effort of the Foundation attorneys and staff, I not only learned about my legal rights, I gained back the job I love, and a satisfactory settlement. There are really no words to describe how much I appreciate all the wonderful help on my behalf,” said Chacanaca..


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