Kissimmee, FL (January 19, 2012) – With the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, an Osceola Regional Medical Center employee has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East for refusing to allow him to resign from the union.
On December 9, 2011, Eduardo Lopez sent SEIU officials a letter resigning his union membership. Despite the fact that employees have the constitutionally protected right to resign from a union at any time, SEIU officials rejected Lopez’s request on December 20.
Moreover, the union’s official policy requires any employee who wishes to stop paying union dues to revoke his or her dues authorization via certified mail. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a federal agency responsible for administering private sector labor law, has repeatedly ruled that such policies are unlawful.
According to Foundation attorneys, the SEIU’s convoluted resignation policy conforms to a pattern of union obstructionism aimed at deterring independent-minded employees from exercising their rights to resign from union membership and opt out of paying union dues. In November 2011, for example, a health care practitioner at the Sutter Roseville Medical Center in California reached a favorable settlement with SEIU United Healthcare Workers West after union officials impeded nonunion employees’ efforts to leave the union and opt out of full union dues.
“Union bosses often resort to Byzantine resignation procedures to discourage workers from leaving the union and opting out of union dues,” said Patrick Semmens, legal information director for the National Right to Work Foundation. “The NLRB should strike down these obstructionist policies immediately to ensure that employees like Eduardo Lopez aren’t forced to remain union members against their will.”
Under Florida’s popular Right to Work law, nonunion employees cannot be forced to pay dues or fees to a union as a condition of employment. “This illegal scheme is nothing more than an attempt by union bosses to violate the Right to Work principle, which holds that union membership and dues payment should be completely voluntary,” concluded Semmens.
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.