Worker was threatened with termination unless she signed a dues ‘checkoff’ card and paid full union dues
Albuquerque, NM (June 2, 2017) – With free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, a Rio Rancho school cafeteria worker has filed federal unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Sodexo, Inc (SDXAY:US), and the Western States Regional Joint Board Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Yumiko Traylor is employed by a subsidiary of Sodexo, Inc, as a cafeteria cook in the Rio Rancho, New Mexico, public school system. Currently SEIU officials have a monopoly bargaining agreement with the Sodexo subsidiary, SDH Education West, LLC, that employs Traylor.
On March 8, 2017, Traylor was told by Sodexo that her employment would be terminated if she did not sign a union membership card to join the SEIU and allow Sodexo to deduct union dues and fees from her paycheck and deliver the money directly to the SEIU. Traylor refused to sign the membership card. Because New Mexico is not a Right to Work state, nonmember workers can be forced to pay a portion of union dues as a condition of employment. However, employees who exercise their right to refrain from membership cannot be forced to pay the portion of union dues that goes towards union boss politics and lobbying activities.
On April 28, Sodexo issued Traylor a written warning that she would be terminated unless she signed the membership card. A week later on May 5, Sodexo told Traylor that unless she joined the SEIU and paid dues, it would issue a second written warning that signing the union membership card is a condition of employment. Afraid that she would lose her job for exercising her federally protected right to refuse to join a union, Traylor signed the membership card under protest. At no point did Sodexo or SEIU officials explain her rights and options to remain a nonmember, not sign a membership or ‘checkoff’ card, and pay a reduced fee instead of full union dues.
Traylor approached the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation for assistance, and filed federal unfair labor practice charges in mid-May. The charges will now be investigated by the NLRB Region 28 office in Albuquerque.
“No worker should be afraid to exercise their federally protected right to join, or in this case, refuse to join a union,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “Rather than attempting to attract the voluntary support of the workers they claim to ‘represent,’ we frequently see union officials attempt to trap workers into dues payments with threats and coercion.”
“Cases like this show why New Mexico needs a Right to Work law to protect workers from coercion and intimidation by union bosses and their crony company officials,” concluded Mix.
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, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.