Chicago, IL (July 19, 2012) – With the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a nonunion Chicago-area construction worker has filed a federal charge against the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and two of its local affiliate unions for discriminating against him on account of his union membership status.
Construction worker John Lugo filed the charge against the IBEW Local 697 and IBEW Local 601 unions with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Monday.
Because IBEW union bosses claim monopoly bargaining privileges over all the workers in his workplaces, Lugo, who refrains from formal union membership, is still forced to accept union officials’ so-called “representation” and go through the union’s hiring halls to find employment.
Federal labor law provides that union bosses must “fairly represent” workers, including those who have exercised their right to refrain from union membership, if union bosses claim exclusive representational powers over the workers.
However, because Lugo exercised his right to refrain from formal union membership, IBEW union officials require him to jump through extra hoops to obtain employment through the union hiring hall. Even after Lugo completes the extra requirements, IBEW union officials actively obstruct him from obtaining work, making it difficult for Lugo to provide for himself and his family.
“If IBEW union bosses have a problem with treating fairly workers who refrain from union membership, then they should not claim exclusive representation over those workers,” said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work. “It is unconscionable that IBEW union officials would stand in the way of independent-minded workers providing for their families – especially in this tough economy.”
Lugo also received free legal assistance from Foundation staff attorneys after IBEW union bosses illegally forced workers to annually renew their objections to paying full union dues. Such schemes, designed to force workers into full-dues-paying union membership, are a clear violation of federal law. The NLRB determined the IBEW union’s annual requirement was unlawful last year.
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.