19 Apr 2022

Wesley Manor Workers Vote Overwhelmingly to Remove Unwanted AFSCME Union Officials from their Workplace

Posted in News Releases

Workers free from unwanted union “representation” as Labor Board certifies decertification vote to toss union bosses

Frankfort, IN (April 19, 2022) – Healthcare workers at the Wesley Manor BHI retirement community in Frankfort, Indiana have won a decertification vote, and successfully removed the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 962 union from their workplace. The workers’ decertification petition was filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 25 office in Indianapolis, IN with free legal representation from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.

The petition was filed by Robin Davis, an employee of Wesley Manor BHI. The request seeking to end AFSCME union officials’ monopoly bargaining powers at BHI was signed by about 50% of the workers in the bargaining unit, well over the legally required 30% needed to trigger an NLRB-conducted secret ballot vote whether to remove the union. The final decertification vote was 27-16 in favor of removing AFSCME union officials from the workplace. The vote was then certified by the NLRB after union officials’ time for filing objections to the election expired.

Indiana is a Right to Work state, meaning workers cannot legally be required to join or pay dues or fees to a union as a condition of keeping their jobs. However, even in Right to Work states, union officials who have obtained monopoly bargaining control in a workplace are granted the power impose one-size-fits-all union contracts on all workers, including those who opt out of union membership and would prefer to negotiate their own terms of employment.

National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have recently assisted workers in numerous successful decertification efforts across the nation, including for workers in Illinois, Oklahoma, and Delaware. Foundation-backed reforms to the rules for decertification elections that the NLRB adopted in 2020 have curtailed union officials’ abuse of so-called “blocking charges” used to delay or block workers from exercising their right to decertify a union. Such charges are often based on unproven allegations made against an employer, completely unrelated to workers’ desire to free themselves of the union.

“The Foundation is happy to have helped the workers at Wesley Manor to exercise their right to free themselves of a union they oppose,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “No worker anywhere should be forced under the so-called ‘representation’ of a union they oppose, and Foundation staff attorneys stand ready to assist other workers wanting to hold a decertification election to oust a union they oppose and believe they would be better off without.”

16 Apr 2022

Tennessee Worker Takes LIUNA Bosses to Federal Court for Religious Discrimination

The following article is from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation’s bi-monthly Foundation Action Newsletter, January/February 2022 edition. To view other editions of Foundation Action or to sign up for a free subscription, click here.

To justify forced dues union official sent ‘remedial church readings’ to employee, her priest

Dorothy Frame

Instead of just granting Dorothy Frame a religious accommodation as federal law requires, LIUNA union bosses disparaged her faith.

CLARKSVILLE, TN – Dorothy Frame, who works at a hospital at Tennessee’s Fort Campbell, asked for a federally required religious accommodation over two years ago so she didn’t have to pay dues to Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) bosses in her workplace. Since then, LIUNA union bosses have ridiculed her faith, seized dues from her wages even after she requested an accommodation, and refused to give back funds they took from her in violation of her rights.

Now, with free legal representation from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Frame has hit LIUNA bosses with a federal lawsuit for violating her rights. Her lawsuit charges the union with religious discrimination for siphoning dues from her paycheck when union officials knew doing so violated her religious beliefs. The lawsuit also charges the union with religious harassment for threatening to fire her if she didn’t submit union dues in contradiction to her beliefs.

LIUNA Officials Brazenly Ridiculed Beliefs of Employee and Her Priest

Frame gave the union a letter in July 2019 requesting a religious accommodation, her lawsuit says. It included a message from her parish priest backing her position. Federal law prohibits union officials from discriminating against employees on the basis of religion. Accommodations of religious objections to dues payment often consist of permitting a dissenting worker to instead contribute the dues amount to a mutually agreed upon charity.

Even though Tennessee is a Right to Work state, union officials claim that Fort Campbell is a “federal enclave” not subject to state law. Frame’s employer (J & J Worldwide Service) and LIUNA maintain a contract that forces workers to pay union dues to stay employed.

A response to Frame’s letter from a LIUNA lawyer came the following month, her lawsuit notes, attacking her accommodation request and demanding that she “prove that her beliefs ‘[]meet the standard for a “legitimate justification.”’” The union lawyer also claimed that Ms. Frame’s understanding of her faith was inferior to his own understanding of her faith and even closed the letter by “sending Ms. Frame — and her priest — remedial church readings.”

One of Frame’s attorneys sent a letter in reply demonstrating how the accommodation request conformed to various church teachings. Nonetheless, LIUNA bosses continued to take dues from Frame’s paycheck.

Frame then filed a discrimination charge against LIUNA with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Even after EEOC proceedings and additional letters from her attorney demonstrating the union’s various forms of support for causes and ideas she objected to, Frame’s lawsuit explains, union officials still refused to accommodate her. LIUNA bosses also “refuse to return any money they collected from Ms. Frame” since she sought an accommodation.

Employee Seeks Damages for Emotional Pain Caused by Union Discrimination

Frame’s lawsuit asks that the court declare “she has the right to a religious accommodation that alleviates her obligation to join or support the Unions” and order that LIUNA return all money seized from her wages in violation of her religious beliefs, plus pay “damages for emotional pain, suffering, and mental anguish that she suffered because the Unions repeatedly challenged and disparaged her religious beliefs.”

Frame is a Catholic who staunchly opposes LIUNA union officials’ position on abortion. “Ms. Frame believes that abortion is a grave sin,” her lawsuit details. “She believes joining or financially supporting the Unions would make her complicit in that sin because she believes that the Unions support and promote abortion. Thus, she believes that any money the Unions collect from her makes her complicit in sin and violates her religious beliefs.”

“LIUNA officials have put their arrogance and callousness on full display by forcing Ms. Frame to choose between losing her job and severely compromising her religious beliefs,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Denying an individual a simple religious accommodation clearly violates federal law, and Foundation attorneys will fight for Ms. Frame until she is accommodated.”

“Big Labor’s government-granted privilege to force fees out of workers as a job condition allowed this kind of abuse to happen — no American worker should be forced to subsidize unwanted union activities just to keep his or her job,” Mix added.

14 Apr 2022

Conagra Brands Workers Seek to Remove Unwanted UFCW Union Officials from their Workplace

Posted in News Releases

Workers file decertification petition with Labor Board to oust United Food & Commercial Worker union  

St. Elmo, IL (April 14, 2022) – Production and maintenance employees at Conagra Brands in St. Elmo, Illinois, have filed a petition seeking the removal of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 881 from their workplace. The workers’ petition was filed on April 6, 2022, at National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 14 based in St. Louis, Missouri, with free legal representation from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.

Michelle Brockett, a long time Conagra employee, filed the decertification petition for her co-workers, supported by the signatures she collected to trigger a NLRB-conducted secret ballot vote whether to remove the union. The workers have asked the NLRB to schedule an in-person secret ballot election on April 26 and 27.

Under federal law, when at least 30% of workers in a bargaining unit sign a petition seeking the removal of union officials’ monopoly bargaining powers, an NLRB-conducted secret ballot vote to remove the union is triggered. If a majority of workers casting valid ballots do not vote for the union, the union is stripped of its government-granted monopoly “representation” powers. Those powers let union officials impose contracts on all workers in the workplace, even workers who are not union members and oppose the union. In Illinois, which lacks Right to Work protections that make union financial support strictly voluntary, union officials use their monopoly powers to mandate that all workers pay money to the union or else be fired.

National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have recently assisted workers in numerous successful decertification efforts across the nation, including for workers in Illinois, Oklahoma, and Delaware. Foundation-backed reforms to the rules for decertification elections that the NLRB adopted in 2020 have curtailed union officials’ abuse of so-called “blocking charges” used to delay or block workers from exercising their right to decertify a union. Such charges are often based on unproven allegations made against an employer, completely unrelated to workers’ desire to free themselves of the union.

In a previous decertification petition filed against UFCW Local 881 in 2019, prior to the blocking charges reform, union officials used tactics to attempt to block a vote from taking place for Pinncacle Foods Group, ultimately resulting in a delay of the vote for seven months. Although on appeal to NLRB in Washington, D.C., the workers won the ruling that finally let the vote occur, the unjustified delay contributed to union officials prevailing over the workers’ original decertification attempt.

“Thanks to Foundation-backed reforms, UFCW union officials have a much harder time using blocking charges to hinder the rights of workers, so the NLRB should promptly schedule an election for workers at Conagra Brands,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “No matter the outcome of this decertification vote, the many workers at Conagra who are opposed to the union should never have been required to fund the activities of union officials with whom they want nothing to do, which is why Illinois workers deserve the protection of a Right to Work law that makes union financial support strictly voluntary.”

11 Apr 2022

Special Alert: Foundation Offers Free Legal Aid to Amy’s Kitchen Employees Targeted by Teamsters Union Bosses

Posted in News Releases

Teamsters’ aggressive top-down organizing campaign includes boycott threat, seeks to impose union on workers without even a secret-ballot vote

Santa Rosa, CA (April 11, 2022) – Following multiple inquiries by Amy’s Kitchen employees, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has issued a special alert to California and Oregon employees of the vegetarian prepared food company, which is currently the subject of a top-down campaign by Teamsters Local 665 union officials to install union control.

The notice and offer of Foundation staff attorneys’ free legal aid come as Teamsters bosses and allied groups are using increasingly hostile tactics to attack the company, including calling for boycotts of Amy’s Kitchen products. News reports demonstrate many workers oppose the attacks on their employer and want nothing to do with Teamsters union officials.

This union attack strategy is a classic example of a Big Labor “corporate campaign,” in which, rather than seeking to win the voluntary support of workers in a secret-ballot vote, union organizers attack an employer with the goal of having the company assist in imposing the union on the workers, usually via a coercive “card check” scheme. Under National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rulings, union officials armed with a “card check” deal can bypass the secret-ballot election process and gain power in a workplace simply by submitting untested “union cards” to the employer.

The Foundation’s special legal notice informs Amy’s Kitchen workers of their rights to resist affiliating with the Teamsters union, including that they cannot be required to sign any “union cards.” It further alerts workers that there is a long history of union agents using pressure tactics and misleading workers into signing such cards, and informs workers that should they witness such tactics they should immediately contact the Foundation for free legal aid.

The special alert also apprises Amy’s Kitchen employees of their right to sign counterpetitions expressing opposition to unionization that workers at the facility are currently circulating. Such counterpetitions make it clear workers oppose the Teamsters’ organizing campaign and the Teamster boss-led boycott of Amy’s Kitchen products. The legal notice informs workers that signing a counterpetition can assist in preventing the union from being imposed on them against their will and without a secret-ballot election.

The special alert in both English and Spanish and is available on the Foundation’s website: https://www.nrtw.org/amys-special-notice/ (in English) and https://www.nrtw.org/es/amys-special-notice/ (en español).

Biden Labor Board Targets Independent-Minded Workers

The legal notice comes as Jennifer Abruzzo, the former union lawyer who was installed by President Biden as the NLRB’s General Counsel, is advocating for radical changes to NLRB policies that would expand union bosses’ coercive “card check” powers.

Example after example shows employees are often unaware of the true purpose of “union cards” when pressured by union organizers to sign them. Workers frequently sign merely to get union organizers to leave them alone. In fact, an AFL-CIO organizing guide even admits that a “card check” drive supposedly demonstrating 75 percent support for a union among employees often only translates to a 50/50 chance in a secret-ballot election among the same workers because workers’ signatures made in the presence of one or multiple union agents frequently don’t reflect actual support for the union.

NLRB General Counsel Abruzzo has publicly said she wants to revive the controversial Joy Silk theory, which the NLRB and federal courts rejected a half century ago. Abruzzo seeks to mandate “card check” recognition even if an employer and many workers want the protection offered by a secret-ballot vote before workers are swept into union ranks. As General Counsel, Abruzzo has wide discretion to choose which cases come before the NLRB, and the situation at Amy’s Kitchen might serve as a vehicle for resurrecting Joy Silk.

“If Teamsters officials and their allies truly respected the free and un-coerced choice of the Amy’s Kitchen workers for whom they are claiming to speak, they would not be using such aggressive tactics to try to impose union control from the top down on workers,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Unfortunately, such tactics are being greenlighted by President Biden’s handpicked Big Labor cronies at the National Labor Relations Board, who in their effort to expand forced union dues ranks want to deprive workers of the protection against union intimidation tactics afforded by a secret-ballot vote.”

“Amy’s Kitchen workers who witness or are subjected to Teamsters organizers’ coercive tactics should not hesitate to contact the Foundation for free legal aid,” Mix added.

10 Apr 2022

NYC Car Wash Workers Kick Out Unwanted RWDSU Union Officials

The following article is from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation’s bi-monthly Foundation Action Newsletter, January/February 2022 edition. To view other editions of Foundation Action or to sign up for a free subscription, click here.

Union bosses rejected by Alabama Amazon workers now ousted by car wash employees

Main Street Car Wash worker Ervin Par (center) and his colleagues in NYC thank their National Right to Work Foundation attorney for helping them secure a vote to remove unwanted RWDSU union bosses from their workplace.

Main Street Car Wash worker Ervin Par (center) and his colleagues in NYC thank their National Right to Work Foundation attorney for helping them secure a vote to remove unwanted RWDSU union bosses from their workplace.

NEW YORK, NY – In 2018, Ervin Par, an employee of Main Street Car Wash in Queens, NY, explained why he and his coworkers overwhelmingly wanted Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) officials out of their workplace: “They just come and collect their fees, but I don’t see an economic benefit from the union.”

“Among my colleagues, there’s a majority that doesn’t want the union,” Par told Reason magazine in an interview at the time. Now, after a three-year effort to vote out RWDSU officials, Par and his coworkers have finally succeeded with free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

Soon after Par submitted an October petition signed by enough of his coworkers to prompt the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to conduct an employee vote whether to eject the union, RWDSU officials filed paperwork ending their control over the facility. Notably, RWDSU union officials fled Main Street Car Wash before the NLRB had conducted the union decertification election for Par and his coworkers — likely in an attempt to avoid an embarrassing, overwhelming rejection in the vote.

Car Wash Employees Endured Years of Forced Dues, Union “Blocking Charges”

Par also rallied his coworkers in 2018 to oust the union, but their valid petition for a decertification election was thwarted by “blocking charges” from RWDSU officials. Because Par and his colleagues work in non-Right to Work New York, the delays meant that they were forced to pay dues to an unpopular union for almost three more years just to keep their jobs. In contrast, in Right to Work states all union financial support is strictly voluntary.

Par and his coworkers’ desire for freedom from union control is not uncommon. According to reports, in 2018 Main Street Car Wash was one of only six car washes in New York City still under union monopoly control, a number that had been declining following other union departures due to lack of employee support.

RWDSU Bosses Oppose Will of Rank-and-File Workers Across Country

The RWDSU is notably the same union that Bessemer, AL, Amazon employees rejected decisively during a highly publicized April 2021 union election. Despite that election loss, RWDSU officials are still trying to install themselves at the Bessemer facility. Litigation continues over whether RWDSU lawyers will nullify the workers’ vote in which barely 12% of eligible voters supported union bosses’ monopoly “representation.”

Atlanta, GA-area employees of water treatment company Ecolab have also recently received free Foundation legal assistance in their attempt to remove RWDSU officials.

“Mr. Par and his coworkers persevered for almost three years to end RWDSU union officials’ grip on power in their workplace,” commented National Right to Work Foundation Vice President Patrick Semmens. “Although we’re glad the employees have finally been able to exercise their right to remove RWDSU, union officials should not have been able to manipulate the rules to stifle the decertification effort for so long.”

“RWDSU union officials have a penchant for challenging the will of the very employees they claim to ‘represent.’” Semmens added. “Workers across the country who seek to remove unwanted RWDSU presence in their workplace should contact the Foundation for free legal aid in exercising their rights.”

9 Apr 2022

Case Closed: Nurse Prevails in 11-Year Legal Fight Over Forced Dues

The following article is from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation’s bi-monthly Foundation Action Newsletter, January/February 2022 edition. To view other editions of Foundation Action or to sign up for a free subscription, click here.

100 Rhode Island hospital employees win refund of dues illegally seized for union lobbying

After over a decade of battling power-hungry UNAP union bosses in court, Jeanette Geary has secured not only refunds of dues seized for union politics, but a First Circuit decision clarifying non-members can never be charged for union lobbying.

After over a decade of battling power-hungry UNAP union bosses in court, Jeanette Geary has secured not only refunds of dues seized for union politics, but a First Circuit decision clarifying non-members can never be charged for union lobbying.

WARWICK, RI – Jeanette Geary finally achieved a total victory in her 11-year legal battle against union bosses. She and 99 other current and former nurses at Kent Hospital in Rhode Island received refunds of forced dues that were illegally used to support union lobbying in state legislatures. Foundation attorneys represented Geary throughout her fight.

Geary’s journey began when she grew frustrated with United Nurses and Allied Professionals (UNAP) union bosses in her workplace. “I realized what the union was doing,” Geary explained. “The union leadership had no interest in nurses or our professional work. Their only interest was collection of dues and fees.”

Geary resigned her union membership, but union dues were still extracted from her paycheck because Rhode Island is a forced unionism state that lacks Right to Work protections. However, thanks to the Foundation-won CWA v. Beck Supreme Court decision, nonmember workers can only be forced to pay fees for union activities “germane” to union monopoly bargaining. They cannot be forced to pay the portion of dues that funds activities like union lobbying.

Nurse Harassed for Standing Up to Union Bosses

Geary demanded a breakdown of the union’s expenditures, but union bosses refused to give her a legally required independent auditor’s verification of how they calculated non-members’ reduced forced fees. Like many who speak up against union bosses, Geary became a target for union harassment. “They laughed at me. They had their workplace reps ridicule me on the job and tell me I could file grievances that would be thrown away and said so with a big smile,” Geary recalled.

In 2009, Geary filed federal charges against union officials. The trial revealed UNAP officials were charging non-member nurses for lobbying in state legislatures. Despite the Supreme Court’s clear mandate in Beck that non-members’ money could not be used to fund political causes, union lawyers argued the lobbying was “germane” to the union’s monopoly bargaining.

Thanks to delays caused by President Obama’s illegal recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Geary had to file two petitions with the U.S.

Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., and didn’t get a final NLRB ruling for nearly a decade. Finally, in March 2019, the NLRB ruled 3-1 that union officials cannot charge non-members for lobbying of any kind. It also ruled that union officials must provide independent verification that the union expenses they force non-members to pay have been audited.

Union Bosses Ridiculously Claimed Some Union Lobbying Wasn’t Political

Union officials still wouldn’t abandon their argument that nonmembers could be forced to pay for some union lobbying as a condition of employment. Union lawyers appealed the NLRB’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. A three-judge panel that included retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter ruled unanimously in Geary’s favor, saying “we see no convincing argument that legislative lobbying is not a ‘political’ activity.”

Union officials made a last-ditch attempt to overturn the decision, requesting an en banc hearing by the entire Court of Appeals, but that request was denied. In September 2021, union bosses finally paid back, with interest, thousands of dollars taken from Geary and 99 other current and former Kent Hospital nurses who were not union members but were charged for the union’s lobbying, bringing the decade-long case to a close.

“Jeanette Geary faced workplace ridicule for her decision to stand up to union bosses, yet she persevered for eleven years,” said National Right to Work Foundation Vice President and Legal Director Raymond LaJeunesse. “In the process, she won important legal precedents that will protect thousands of other workers from having their money illegally used to fund union politics.”

7 Apr 2022

Chicago-area Firefighters Kick Out Unwanted SEIU Officials

Posted in News Releases

SEIU officials back down, depart Carpentersville facility after worker exposed false claims SEIU made to disenfranchise firefighters opposed to union

Chicago, IL (April 7, 2022) – With free legal representation from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys, Nick Salzmann and his fellow Village of Carpentersville firefighters have forced unwanted Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73 officials out of their workplace.

Salzmann filed a petition in September 2021 backed by the vast majority of his coworkers seeking a vote whether to remove the SEIU union. After the Illinois Labor Relations Board (ILRB) executive director blocked the vote based on specious accusations union officials made of Village of Carpentersville officials, Salzmann filed an appeal that revealed union officials had actually staged the scenario in which the alleged misbehavior arose.

Rather than respond to that appeal, in March, SEIU union officials filed paperwork relinquishing power over Salzmann and his coworkers.

Carpentersville Firefighter’s Appeal Revealed Plot by SEIU Union Bosses to Maintain Control

The ILRB is the Illinois state agency responsible for adjudicating workplace disputes among union officials, Illinois government agencies, and Illinois public employees. SEIU union officials’ so-called “blocking charges,” which they filed against Village of Carpentersville officials in an attempt to delay Salzmann and his coworkers’ requested election, claimed that Carpentersville officials were not following proper bargaining procedures.

However, Salzmann’s appeal showed that in reality it was union officials who disrupted the bargaining process. His appeal maintained that “the union walked away from the bargaining table twice when the Employer could not guarantee that the decertification process would not proceed.”

SEIU bosses’ departures from the bargaining table are a sign union officials were trying to coerce Carpentersville officials into assisting the union in quashing the employee-led decertification effort.

As further evidence of the scheme, Salzmann’s appeal stated that “the Union amended the charges, changing from an ‘impacts and effect’ charge to a ‘failure to bargain’ charge,” suggesting that union lawyers couldn’t demonstrate any connection between Salzmann and his coworkers’ desire to eliminate the union and anything Carpentersville officials did, and had to rely on the (union-caused) bargaining stoppages as their sole allegation against Carpentersville officials.

According to the appeal, approximately 80% of the firefighters favored decertifying the union.

Finally, Salzmann’s appeal contended that the SEIU bosses’ actions disturbed the “laboratory conditions” that should be present for any decertification election. It stated that the “Union’s efforts to compel [the firefighters] to abandon their claim, including telling them they had proceeded improperly in their effort,” along with the union bosses’ willful departures from the bargaining table “caused the factual scenario” that led to the union’s charge.

Foundation President: ILRB Rules Allowed Election Interference by Union Officials

“We’re pleased Nick Salzmann and his coworkers were finally able to oust unpopular SEIU officials from their facility,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “However, it’s astonishing that ILRB officials initially blocked Salzmann’s request for a vote to remove the union based on a patently false narrative peddled by SEIU union bosses.”

“Salzmann and his coworkers’ travail is one more reason why government union bosses should not have the power to force workers under their so-called ‘representation’ at all,” Mix added. “No public employee should be ever be required to associate with a private organization like a union just to work for their own government.”

7 Apr 2022

Kentucky Worker Hits Teamsters Union Bosses with Federal Charges for Illegally Seizing Union Dues

Posted in News Releases

Georgia Pacific worker sent multiple letters to stop all payments as allowed by Right to Work law, but Teamsters continued dues collections

Lexington, KY (April 7, 2022) – Pam Ankeny, an employee in the printing department for Georgia Pacific, has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 651 union. Ankeny’s charges, which were filed with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation, say that Teamsters union bosses illegally collected union dues after she submitted two letters of revocation.

In July of 2021, Ankeny submitted a resignation and dues check-off revocation letter to union officials. The union responded two weeks later by claiming that Ankeny had missed her “window period” for dues check-off revocation.

In response, Ankeny submitted a second letter in August again reiterating her resignation and check-off revocation. She further requested a copy of the authorization union officials were using to block her request. The union acknowledged that Ankeny’s letter constituted a valid check-off revocation and indicated it would stop dues deductions. However, it failed to provide Ankeny with the requested authorization.

Despite the union acknowledging her valid August 2021 check-off revocation, beginning in January 2022 dues deductions resumed without Ankeny’s authorization and have continued as of the filing of her charges. In addition to the charge against the union, a charge was filed against Georgia Pacific for making the illegal dues deductions.

The charges allege that both practices are unlawful under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which safeguards private sector employees’ right to abstain from any or all union activities. Further, in the 27 states with Right to Work protections, including Kentucky, union membership and dues payments are strictly voluntary.

“While Kentucky’s Right to Work law protects workers from being fired for refusing to pay union dues or fees, unless workers are vigilant, unscrupulous union bosses will still attempt to stuff their pockets with illegal forced dues,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Any worker subjected to illegal union dues seizures should not hesitate to reach out to the National Right to Work Foundation for free assistance in exercising their legal rights to cut off dues payments.”

4 Apr 2022

CEA Union Officials Back Down after Plainville Community School District Teacher Exercises Right to Cut Off Dues

Posted in News Releases

Union officials tried to limit educator’s First Amendment right to abstain from union financial support to arbitrary “escape period”

Hartford, CT (April 4, 2022) – With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Plainville Community School District educator Christina Corvello successfully exercised her First Amendment right to stop subsidizing the activities of a union she opposes.

Despite Connecticut Education Association (CEA) union officials trying to restrict the exercise of her right to a narrow span of days several months away known as an “escape period,” Corvello was able to opt-out of the union before the “escape period” and is no longer paying dues to the CEA hierarchy.

Corvello invoked her rights under the 2018 Foundation-won Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision, in which the Justices recognized that no public worker can be forced to pay union dues as a condition of getting or keeping a job. The High Court in Janus also ruled it a First Amendment violation to seize dues from a public employee’s paycheck without his or her affirmative consent.

Educator Believed Union Policies Were Detrimental, but Union Officials Tried to Force Her to Pay Dues

Corvello grew dissatisfied with CEA officials’ policies, including COVID-19 restrictions promoted by union officials, which she believed worked against the interests of students and teachers. When Corvello tried to raise concerns regarding these issues, union officials disregarded her and treated her with disrespect. After union officials ignored her pleas for support and change, Corvello decided to end her union membership and terminate dues deductions.

With guidance from Foundation attorneys, in November 2021 she began sending messages — through email and certified mail — to both union and school officials. In her correspondence, she tried to exit the union and stop dues deductions based on her First Amendment rights recognized in Janus. But the CEA denied her requests to stop funding the union. CEA bosses stated that she could only stop payments yearly during August. Corvello, however, remained undeterred. She continued to ask the union to stop taking her money.

After trying for five months to leave the union and stop funding it, CEA union officials finally backed down in March 2022 after Corvello contacted Foundation attorneys. Dues deductions then stopped.

Battle by Public Servants to Knock Down Union Boss-Invented Janus Restrictions Continues

Corvello’s victory comes at a time when union bosses across the country are trying to defend schemes they use to undermine public sector workers’ Janus rights, including so-called “maintenance of membership” provisions. In a Foundation-backed case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Savas v. California Statewide Law Enforcement Agency (CSLEA), several California lifeguards are challenging CSLEA union officials’ continued dues seizures from the lifeguards’ paychecks even after they ended their union memberships.

Union bosses alleged that the lifeguards had agreed to “maintenance of membership” language in their contracts that trapped them in union ranks for almost four years after they tried to resign. The contracts did not inform the lifeguards that they were waiving their First Amendment right under Janus to abstain from union financial support for that period of time.

“Even after Janus, public sector union officials routinely trample the First Amendment rights of workers they claim to ‘represent’ in order to fill their coffers with coerced union dues and fees,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Such malfeasance often includes limiting these rights to a phony, narrow ‘escape period,’ not informing workers of when they are waiving Janus rights, and not even telling workers that they have these rights in the first place.”

“American public sector workers should know that they can’t be forced to subsidize or associate with a union of which they disapprove. The National Right to Work Foundation is proud to serve as a resource for information on workers’ rights and to provide free legal representation to workers when union officials refuse to comply with Janus,” Mix added.

2 Apr 2022

National Right to Work Foundation in the Detroit News: Big Labor’s Latest Attack on Michigan Right to Work

Posted in In the News

A recent op-ed from National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix in the Detroit News discusses union bosses never-ending attempts to overturn or undermine Michigan’s Right To Work protections for workers.

The article explains how union officials wield their monopoly power against workers in the union-controlled “grievance process” and why the Foundation recently filed an amicus brief in a case currently at the Michigan Supreme Court in which union officials are attempting to circumvent Right to Work:

Courts have long recognized that, in unionized workplaces, union kingpins effectively own the process through which workplace grievances regarding alleged misapplications or misinterpretations of company policies are handled.

Five-and-a-half decades ago, U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan’s majority opinion in NLRB v. Allis Chalmers bluntly acknowledged that America’s national labor policy “extinguishes the individual employee’s power to order his own relations with his employer,” while “clothing” union bosses with monopoly-bargaining power.

And Justice Thurgood Marshall’s 1975 Emporium Capwell opinion resoundingly affirmed that a union controls all grievances under “exclusive” union bargaining, notwithstanding any employee attempts to redress grievances independently.

Their ironclad control over employee grievances is undoubtedly a boon for union bosses. Two current federal lawsuits filed by Michigan workers against United Auto Workers union bosses and Fiat Chrysler executives vividly illustrate why.

In one of these cases, 42 current and former employees of FCA (now known as Stellantis) charge that they were cheated out of wages and benefits they were promised by UAW bosses when their pay was cut from $28 an hour to $16 an hour after they switched from part-time to full-time jobs.

When the workers complained about the pay cut, local UAW bosses allegedly promised to file grievances on their behalf — but never did.

In the other case, 47 current and former engineers allege that FCA violated the union contract when it transferred them from a facility in Auburn Hills to another one in Trenton. Grievances they filed regarding the matter were mishandled or withdrawn without explanation by the UAW brass.

As outrageous as UAW bosses’ failure to follow up adequately on workers’ grievances in these two cases may seem to ordinary citizens, the fact is that federal law permits union bosses with monopoly-bargaining power to refuse to advance workers’ legitimate grievances simply because they don’t think it’s in the interest of the union to do so.


But even this extraordinarily privileged status isn’t enough to satisfy government union officials in Michigan. In Technical, Professional, and Officeworkers Association of MI v. Daniel Renner, a case now pending before the Michigan Supreme Court, they are brazenly contending they may vindictively refuse to process the grievances of union nonmembers to punish them for not joining and bankrolling the union, even when the union contract prohibits the individual employee from filing grievances on his or her own behalf.

Though union lawyers’ outrageous claims in Renner’s case have already been rejected at the Michigan Employment Relations Commission and at the State of Michigan Court of Appeals, there is no guarantee they will be dismissed by the Michigan Supreme Court.

That’s why the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed a brief Friday in the case defending Daniel Renner’s rights under Michigan’s right-to-work law.

The Michigan Supreme Court must reject this cynical attack on Wolverine State workers’ legal protections against being forced to fund a union they disapprove of.

Read the entire article on the Detroit News website.

More details on the case and the Foundation’s brief can be found here. Read the brief here (PDF).