24 Jun 2002

San Diego Public Employee Union Faces Unfair Labor Practice Prosecution

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San Diego, Calif. (June 24, 2002) — Responding to charges filed by an employee of the City of San Diego, the California Public Employment Relations Board (CPERB) has decided to prosecute the San Diego Municipal Employees’ Association (MEA) union for overtly discriminating against non-union members.

Enjoying free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Tanya DuLaney filed charges after the MEA union decided to withhold dental coverage from all non-union members. MEA’s actions are in violation of several California statutes that are intended to protect an employee’s right to abstain from membership and that require union officials to fairly represent an employee.

The scheme was designed to pressure employees into signing up as formal union members, thereby causing them to give up certain rights, including the ability to refrain from funding union political activities.

“The union’s practice of cutting deals with the city that intentionally hang some workers out to dry is deplorable,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “As long as union bosses are given a monopoly on representing employees in the workplace, they will continue to operate with little accountability.”

As part of the Memorandum of Understanding between the union and the city, union officials tried to withhold benefits, such as dental coverage, from all non-member employees.

With the support of Governor Gray Davis over the past four years, government union officials have seized control over much of California’s economy and workers. For example, Davis signed a law that requires all California State University (CSU) professors to pay union dues unless they are members of a state-approved religion. Under this law, state and union officials can exercise the power to pass judgment on the acceptability of the religious beliefs of CSU employees.

18 Jun 2002

Unions Appeal Right to Work Ruling

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Muskogee, Okla. (June 18, 2002) – Union lawyers have filed an appeal at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to overturn Oklahoma’s new Right to Work Law, a measure that makes union membership voluntary while creating new jobs.

“The decision to file an appeal is another slap in the face to the voters of Oklahoma who rejected the unions’ cynical campaign of misinformation last fall,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation, whose legal-aid attorneys will be representing employees defending the Right to Work law at the appellate court.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, Oklahoma has led the nation in the creation of jobs since the passage of Right to Work last September. The economic growth seen in Oklahoma is part of a larger trend that shows Right to Work states having higher rates of economic growth in comparison to states with pervasive forced unionism.

“The workers of Oklahoma are already seeing the benefits of living in a Right to Work state,” said Gleason. “When will union officials end their hostility toward employee freedom and the creation of new jobs for Oklahomans?”

On June 6, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frank Seay ruled on motions for summary judgment submitted by Governor Frank Keating’s legal team and attorneys for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, who represented several Oklahoma workers in defending the law.

The court held that, as in other states, the Right to Work law cannot be enforced with regard to employees covered by the Railway Labor Act (RLA) or employees of the federal government. But the law clearly and constitutionally protects employees who work for private companies under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Meanwhile, the court held that the minor provisions that banned exclusive union hiring halls and payroll deduction were pre-empted by federal law.

The Oklahoma AFL-CIO, six local unions, and a heavily unionized company filed the original suit last November in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma to overturn the will of Oklahoma’s voters, who enacted State Question 695 on September 25, 2001. The Right to Work constitutional amendment bans the widespread union practice of forcing workers to join an unwanted union or pay union dues as a condition of employment. Oklahoma is the newest of America’s 22 Right to Work states.

10 Jun 2002

Statewide Teacher Union Found Guilty of Religious Discrimination

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Cincinnati, Ohio (June 10, 2002) – Responding to charges brought by Gallia County Public Schools teacher Donna Barnes, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found the Ohio Education Association (OEA) union guilty of religious discrimination for refusing to respect Barnes’ sincere religious objection to joining or supporting the union.

Enjoying free legal assistance from attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Barnes filed charges against the OEA three years ago. Barnes, a member of the New Life Lutheran Church, objected to supporting the union because it promotes pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality positions. As part of the EEOC’s determination, if the teacher union does not respect Barnes’ status as a religious objector, the OEA will face a federal court suit.

“Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Teachers across the country, regardless of their faith, are being shaken down to pay for this radical agenda,” stated Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation.

In a ruling publicized last month, the EEOC found that the National Education Association (NEA) union, the OEA’s national affiliate, is systematically discriminating against religious objectors by stonewalling objections and forcing objectors to undergo extensive interrogation on an annual basis. An Ohio teacher, Dennis Robey, brought charges against the NEA and its local affiliates after they refused to honor his religious objection to supporting the union because it promotes pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality positions and constantly attempts to interfere with parental rights.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, union officials may not force any employee to support financially a union if doing so violates the employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs. To avoid the conflict between an employee’s faith and a requirement to pay fees to a union he or she believes to be immoral, the law requires union officials to accommodate the employee – most often by designating a mutually acceptable charity to accept the funds.

6 Jun 2002

Foundation Vice President to Appear on the O’Reilly Factor

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Springfield, VA (June 6, 2002) — Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is scheduled to be interviewed on the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News Channel on Thursday night, June 6.

His appearance pertains to one of National Right to Work Foundation’s cases where Foundation attorneys persuaded the EEOC to prosecute the NEA teacher union for religious discrimination against teachers who oppose the union’s bizarre social agenda.

If you want to tune in, the program airs nationally tonight from 8:30 – 9:30 and 11 p.m. – midnight eastern time.

6 Jun 2002

U.S. District Court Upholds Oklahoma’s New Right to Work Law

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Muskogee, Okla. (June 6, 2002) – Rejecting arguments offered by many of Oklahoma’s top union officials, U.S. District Court Judge Frank H. Seay has affirmed the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s new Right to Work Law which frees employees laboring under compulsory unionism.

The court ruled on motions for summary judgment submitted Governor Frank Keating’s legal team and attorneys for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation who represented several Oklahoma workers. The court held that, while the Right to Work law cannot be enforced with regard to employees laboring under the Railway Labor Act (RLA) or employees of the federal government, the law clearly and constitutionally protects employees who work for private companies under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

A vast majority of employees in Oklahoma work for private companies under the NLRA and thus are protected by the Right to Work law. None of America’s 22 state Right to Work laws govern federal employees or employees who labor under the RLA. The court also pointed out that the provision of Oklahoma’s Right to Work law that attempts to ban exclusive union hiring halls is preempted by federal law as established by longstanding precedent pertaining to other state Right to Work laws.

“Union officials despise the notion of allowing employees to decide for themselves whether to join or support a union,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “Big Labor’s trumped-up lawsuit was just another insult to the voters of Oklahoma who rejected the unions’ cynical campaign lies and tactics last fall.”

The employees represented by National Right to Work Foundation attorneys argued that if the unions prevailed in voiding the statewide ban on forced unionism, employees would suffer direct financial harm as well as damage to their interests of free speech and free association. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, Oklahoma has led the nation in the creation of jobs since the passage of Right to Work last September.

The Oklahoma AFL-CIO, six local unions, and a heavily unionized company filed the suit last November in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma to overturn the will of Oklahoma’s voters, who enacted State Question 695 on September 25, 2001. The Right to Work constitutional amendment bans the widespread union practice of forcing workers to join an unwanted union or pay union dues as a condition of employment. Oklahoma is the newest of America’s 22 Right to Work states.

5 Jun 2002

Alaska Teamsters Union Prosecuted For Threatening Workers and Seizing Dues For Politics

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Anchorage, Alaska (June 5, 2002) — Responding to charges brought by Joshua Deuter, an employee of First Student Inc., the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will prosecute Teamsters Local 959 for illegally forcing employees to pay full union dues, including dues spent for politics, and threatening employees by saying that circulating a deauthorization petition was a criminal act.

Enjoying free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation, Deuter filed unfair labor practice charges against the union in February 2002. The NLRB has set a trial date for August 8, 2002.

Last December, in an effort to prevent workers from signing a deauthorization petition (which calls for an NLRB-supervised election to throw out the mandatory dues clause from the collective bargaining agreement), a union shop steward threatened Deuter. According to the NLRB’s complaint, Deuter and others were told that the petition was “illegal, a criminal act,” and that the union “could press internal charges against employees for circulating the petition.”

“In an effort to amass a political war chest, Teamsters officials are demanding that workers shut up and pay up,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation.

Since October 2001, Teamsters union officials have required employees to pay full union dues solely by deduction from their paychecks and have failed to inform employees of their rights not to join and not to pay full dues.

The actions of Teamsters Local 959 officials violated employee rights established by the U.S. Supreme Court decision. Under Beck, a case that Foundation attorneys argued and won, workers who are not protected by a Right to Work law may resign from formal union membership and halt and reclaim the portion of forced union dues spent on politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining.

“Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Union bosses routinely break the law to try and shake down workers to pay for their political activities,” stated Gleason.

The Teamsters are one of the most politically active unions in the country. Every year, union officials seize millions of dollars in compulsory dues to support candidates and causes that many of their members find objectionable. Polls have consistently shown that a majority of rank-and-file union members object to having their dues spent for political activities.

4 Jun 2002

Union Prosecuted For Threatening to “Kill” Workers if They Oppose the Union

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Orlando, Fla. (June 4, 2002) — Responding to federal charges brought by two Orlando area workers, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced it will prosecute the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 835 for threatening to kill or harm workers who participated in efforts to decertify the union.

Local 835 officials operate an exclusive union hiring hall that provides workers in the trade show, convention, and exhibition service industry in the Orlando area.

After investigating the unfair labor practice charges filed by James Zitis and Clay Wayman – who are represented by attorneys with the National Right to Work Foundation – the NLRB investigators found that union officials had “threatened to kill employees” and “threatened employees with the loss of work opportunities and the loss of their homes and possessions” if they engaged in activity to toss the union out of the workplace through an NLRB-supervised election.

“These union thugs have used threats and intimidation to silence dissent,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This is the kind of outrageous activity that gives union officials such a terrible reputation.”

In addition to naming IATSE Local 835, the NLRB complaint cites two of its top officials, Susan Wolfgang and Peter Merrifield, for their involvement in the harassment. The NLRB has set the hearing date for September 19, 2002.

Even though Florida has a highly popular and effective Right to Work law that frees nonunion employees from paying membership dues to an unwanted union, IATSE union officials use their monopoly bargaining privileges to set up exclusive hiring halls. In such halls, the union decides which employees to refer for work at conventions and trade shows, and the workers are forced to pay the union to be eligible for work.

This is not the first finding of unfair labor practices by the NLRB against IATSE Local 835. Earlier in the year the NLRB forced IATSE union officials to post a notice alerting workers that they only had to pay fees equal to the cost of running the hiring hall. The union had been forcing non-union members to pay fees as a condition of using the hiring hall’s referral service without explaining how the fee was calculated.

30 May 2002

Ravenna City Schools Employee Hits Union with Religious Discrimination Charges

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Ravenna, Ohio (May 30, 2002) — With the help of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Kathleen Klamut, an employee of the Ravenna City Schools, filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the Ohio Education Association (OEA), and its local affiliate, for refusing to accommodate her religious objections to supporting the union.

Klamut, a practicing Christian, objects to having her money used to support the union’s pro-abortion agenda. Last Fall, when she began working as a psychologist in the Ravenna City Schools, Klamut asked to have her dues re-directed to charity – her right under the law. The OEA refused to accommodate her, and Klamut has been informed that the union hierarchy is planning to take legal action against her.

“No one should be forced to support an agenda they find morally objectionable,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Unfortunately, this not an isolated incident. Union bosses around the country try to force people of faith to support their radical social agenda.”

While working for the Louisville School System, in 1997 Klamut fought to get the OEA union and Louisville Education Association to recognize her religious objection to supporting the union. They ordered Klamut to send her money to a union-controlled organization (Carpenter/Garcia Fund) or they would refuse to honor her status as a religious objector. After a two-year struggle, Klamut was able to have her compulsory dues diverted to the American Cancer Society.

In a ruling publicized last week, the EEOC found that the National Education Association (NEA) union is systematically discriminating against religious objectors. An Ohio teacher, Dennis Robey, brought charges against the NEA and its local affiliates after they refused to honor his religious objection to supporting the union because it promotes pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality positions and constantly attempts to interfere with parental rights.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, union officials may not force any employee to support financially a union if doing so violates the employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs. To avoid the conflict between an employee’s faith and a requirement to pay fees to a union he or she believes to be immoral, the law requires union officials to accommodate the employee – most often by designating a mutually acceptable charity to accept the funds.

20 May 2002

Nation’s Largest Teacher Union To Be Prosecuted For Violating Teachers’ Civil Rights

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Cleveland, Ohio (May 20, 2002) – In response to religious discrimination charges brought by Ohio teacher Dennis Robey, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will prosecute the National Education Association (NEA), if the union does not stop forcing teachers to endure annually a burdensome and invasive process before respecting their religious objections to union affiliation.

With the help of National Right to Work Foundation attorneys, Robey brought charges against the NEA and its local affiliates after they refused to honor his religious objection to supporting the union because it promotes pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality positions and constantly attempts to interfere with parental rights.

“The NEA union’s illegal scheme is intended to force teachers of faith to shut up and pay up,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “The EEOC’s action further underscores that the nation’s largest teacher union is systematically persecuting people of faith.”

Robey began to make his religious objections known in 1995. During the 1999-2000 school year, union officials rebuffed his longstanding objection and demanded that every year he must describe, in detail, his deeply held religious views, fill out a lengthy and invasive form, and file it with the union. On the form, union officials asked probing personal questions about his relationship with God, his “religious affiliation,” and required him to obtain a signature from a “religious official” attesting to the validity of his beliefs.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, union officials may not force any employee to financially support a union if doing so violates the employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs. In order to accommodate the conflict between an employee’s faith and a requirement to pay fees to a union he believes to be immoral, the law allows employees instead to donate that money to charity.

The EEOC agreed with Foundation attorneys’ arguments that the nationwide union policy unlawfully places an undue burden on teachers, and that teachers need only file a one-time objection to paying forced union dues. The union’s illegal scheme is employed nationally against thousands of teachers whose sincerely held religious beliefs prevent them from supporting a union.

Under the Commission’s ruling, the NEA must stop the use of these practices or face further legal action.

17 May 2002

Textile Worker Hits Needletrades Union with Unfair Labor Practice Charges

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Smithfield, Pa. (May 17, 2002) — With the help of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a Berkley Medical Resources employee, Donna Dodson, today filed charges against a needletrades union for illegally forcing her to pay full union dues, including dues spent for politics.

Dodson, a non-union member, filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE) Local 131A.

“In an effort to amass a political warchest, the union’s officials are demanding that workers shut up and pay up,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation.

Since Dodson began working for Berkley Medical Resources in September 2001, union officials have deducted full union dues from her paycheck without her authorization, even though she is not a union member. As part of her case Dodson is seeking a breakdown of how the agency fee is calculated, and a refund of dues money that was seized to pay for activities not directly related to collective bargaining.

The actions of UNITE officials violated the workers’ rights established by the U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck, a case that Foundation attorneys argued and won, workers who are not protected by a Right to Work law may resign from formal union membership and halt and reclaim the portion of forced union dues spent on politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining.

“Unfortunately, this not an isolated incident. Union bosses routinely break the law to try and shake down workers to pay for their political activities,” stated Gleason.

UNITE is one of the most politically active unions in the country. Every year, union officials seize millions of dollars in compulsory dues to support candidates and causes that many of their members find objectionable. Polls have consistently shown that a majority of rank-and-file union members object to having their dues spent for political activities.