18 Jul 2024

Workers in Ypsilanti and Petoskey Successfully End Union Bosses’ Power to Demand Dues as Similar Efforts Rise Across MI

Posted in News Releases

In rebuke to Right to Work repeal, workers strip Teamsters and ATU of ability to require dues as condition of employment

Michigan (July 18, 2024) – Two sets of workers from across the state of Michigan have successfully voted to strip union officials of their powers to force them to pay union dues as a condition of keeping their jobs. Mechanics from Brown Motors (a Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep dealer) in Petoskey and drivers from MV Transportation in Ypsilanti have voted by 75% and 78% respectively to remove union bosses’ forced-dues powers in a process known as a “deauthorization vote”. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal agency responsible for enforcing federal labor law, certified the results of both elections earlier this week.

Both sets of workers received free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys in obtaining the elections. Joseph Illes submitted a “deauthorization petition” in May on behalf of his Brown Motors coworkers, who wanted to revoke forced-dues privileges from Teamsters union officials. Robert Gray handled a similar petition for his colleagues at MV Transportation, who sought to deauthorize the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU). NLRB rules require that at least 30% of a work unit sign onto a deauthorization petition to trigger a deauthorization election.

Because Michigan lacks Right to Work protections for its private sector workers, union bosses that gain power in a workplace have the legal power to demand that workers pay dues or fees as a condition of employment. These demands apply even to workers who voted against the union or otherwise oppose its presence. In Right to Work states, in contrast, union membership and union financial support are strictly the choice of each individual worker.

The only ways that workers in non-Right to Work states can end union bosses’ forced-dues powers are by either voting as a majority against forced dues in a deauthorization election (as the Brown Motors and MV Transportation employees have done), or by voting to remove the union entirely in a “decertification election”. Decertification elections can be petitioned for in a way similar to a deauthorization election. A decertification also terminates union bosses’ monopoly bargaining power over workers.

After Legislature Nixes Right to Work, Employees Across MI Seek to Stop Forced Dues

In a party-line 2023 vote, Michigan legislators repealed Right to Work at the behest of union special interests, ending workers’ ability to decide for themselves whether or not union officials deserve their dues money. After the repeal became effective this February, workers from across the Great Lakes State sought help from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys in escaping union bosses’ forced-dues demands.

In addition to the now-successful efforts in Petoskey and Ypsilanti, Foundation attorneys are aiding Grand Rapids-based security guard James Reamsma and his coworkers with a deauthorization vote against United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA) union officials. Reamsma’s fellow guards work at government buildings across Western Michigan. Reamsma expressed that, in the wake of the Right to Work repeal, “UGSOA union officials have threatened to have everyone who does not join the union fired.”

Foundation attorneys also represent Roger Cornett, a Detroit-area Kroger employee who faced post-repeal threats from his employer that he would be terminated if he did not join the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union at the store and fund the union’s Political Action Committee (PAC). Both demands are forbidden by federal law (even in a non-Right to Work environment) and Foundation attorneys argue in Cornett’s case that the union’s contract fails the legal standard to compel dues payments from any worker.

“Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Michiganders wanted Right to Work to remain in place, Michigan legislators repealed it on a narrow party-line vote as a giveaway to the union boss puppeteers that fund their campaigns,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Within just months of the repeal becoming effective, workers from all corners of the state are requesting – and winning – votes to stop union bosses from forcing them to pay dues, showing that Michigan workers are not going to take this attack on their individual rights sitting down.

“We at the Foundation are proud to help Michigan workers reclaim their freedom, but no worker should have to navigate the NLRB’s bureaucratic deauthorization process simply to ensure their hard-earned money isn’t going to union boss activities they may staunchly disagree with,” Mix added.

10 Jul 2024

Employees at Eight Philadelphia International Airport Restaurants May Soon Vote Out Unite Here Union Bosses

Posted in News Releases

Federal labor board in Philadelphia rejected all union arguments for blocking employee-requested election; vote now scheduled for July 17

Philadelphia, PA (July 10, 2024) – After almost five months of litigation, Kale Mulugeta and her coworkers at various restaurants throughout Philadelphia International Airport will finally get a chance to vote on whether to remove Unite Here Local 274 union officials from power. Mulugeta, who is receiving free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, spearheaded the effort by filing a petition requesting such a vote – which is known as a “decertification election” – with National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 4 in Philadelphia in February.

Mulugeta’s petition contained signatures from over 60% of her coworkers at New York Ice Cream, Inc., which operates two Dunkin Donuts locations, three Smashburger locations, two Jamba Juice locations, and one Bruegger’s Bagels location at Philadelphia International Airport. NLRB rules only require that 30% of a work unit express interest in having a union decertification election in order to trigger such an election.

After months of delay caused by union litigation, NLRB Region 4 announced in a June 27 Decision and Direction of Election that the election will occur on July 17 at Philadelphia International Airport.

Because Pennsylvania lacks Right to Work protections for its private sector workers, Unite Here union officials are empowered by law to demand Mulugeta and her coworkers pay union dues just to keep their jobs. In contrast, in Right to Work states, union membership and union financial support are strictly voluntary. If a majority of the New York Ice Cream employees vote on July 17 to remove the Unite Here union, they will be free from both the union’s bargaining power and forced-dues demands.

Union Bosses Tried to Portray Dues-Paying Employee as “Manager’s Agent” to Stop Vote

NLRB Region 4’s Decision and Direction of Election puts an end to nearly five months of litigation over Mulugeta’s petition. Unite Here union officials tried to argue that Mulugeta, who in addition to other restaurant duties often serves as a translator between managers and Amharic-speaking restaurant staff, was ineligible to submit the petition because she was an agent of the manager and not a rank-and-file employee. The union claimed she was ineligible despite the fact that she pays money to the union as a condition of staying employed.

The NLRB Region 4 Director rejected these union arguments, stating that “the record is devoid of any witness testimony from employees showing their perception of Mulugeta’s authority, or whether they believed that Mulugeta spoke for and on behalf of the Employer…”

“As such, Mulugeta’s role as a bilingual employee serving solely as the Employer’s interpreter is insufficient to elevate her status to that of an agent or apparent agent [of the employer],” the decision states.

The decision also threw out union contentions that Mulugeta and some of her other colleagues were “managerial employees” and thus outside the bargaining unit and ineligible to vote. “There is no evidence that Mulugeta [and her colleagues] attend any management meetings…or that they have any authority to formulate or effectuate high-level policy on behalf of the Employer,” the decision states.

Unite Here Local 274 Facing Second Removal Attempt by PHL Employees Since 2023

Mulugeta and her coworkers aren’t the only workers at Philadelphia International Airport that Foundation staff attorneys have aided recently in voting out Unite Here Local 274. In May 2023, employees at the airport’s location of Guava & Java voted to remove the union 32-9 after obtaining a vote with free Foundation legal aid.

“Ms. Mulugeta and her coworkers’ situation demonstrates the struggles that rank-and-file employees face when trying to exercise their right to free themselves from a union hierarchy that they don’t believe serves their interests,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Workers face legal resistance from union lawyers themselves. But it also doesn’t help that the perennially pro-union boss Biden NLRB has been pushing policy after policy designed to aid union bosses in trapping workers under union ‘representation.’

“Ms. Mulugeta and her coworkers deserve this chance to finally exercise their rights, and Foundation staff attorneys are proud to help them,” Mix added.

9 Jul 2024

U.S. House Committee Spotlights Need for Employee Protections Against Forced Funding of Extremist Unions

Posted in News Releases

Jewish MIT graduate student forced to pay dues to anti-Israel GSU union will testify alongside National Right to Work Foundation staff attorney

Washington, DC (July 9, 2024) – Today, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Ph.D. student Will Sussman, who is receiving free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation in filing federal anti-discrimination charges against union bosses on campus, is testifying before the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Sussman is testifying alongside veteran Foundation staff attorney Glenn Taubman, who is providing free legal representation to Sussman and other MIT graduate students challenging forced-dues demands from the MIT Graduate Student Union (GSU-UE, an affiliate of the United Electrical Workers union).

The hearing, being held by Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) in the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), was called to focus on how union bosses have used their government-granted powers to force Jewish and other employees to associate with and fund unions – even as union officials are propping up increasingly radical protests and other objectionable activities on college campuses and workplaces across the country.

Jewish MIT Graduate Student: BDS-Linked Union Refused to Grant Religious Accommodation

Sussman, who is Jewish, objects to the anti-Israel advocacy of the GSU union, including the union’s endorsement of the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) movement. He and four other Jewish graduate students sent letters to GSU union officials earlier this year requesting religious accommodations to union dues payment.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires union officials to accommodate those that have religious objections to subsidizing union activities; in practice this usually entails letting the student pay an amount equivalent to dues to a charity. However, GSU union officials’ initial response was to brush aside students’ requests, claiming they didn’t understand their own faith and that their objections were actually political and not religious in nature.

“The union denied my request, telling me in a letter that ‘no principles, teachings or tenets of Judaism prohibit membership in or the payment of dues or fees to a labor union,’ that one of UE’s founders was Jewish, and that opposition to BDS isn’t a position I hold for religious reasons. In other words, UE thinks it understands my faith better than I do,” Sussman’s testimony reads.

Sussman is one of six MIT graduate students that Foundation attorneys are representing in federal proceedings against the GSU union.

Biden NLRB Policy Lets Union Officials Seize Control Over Graduate Students

As Foundation attorney Glenn Taubman’s testimony describes, partisan rulings by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have bypassed Congress and given union bosses the ability to seize control over graduate students: “The current travesty of herding graduate students into anti-semitic unions finds its source with the Obama-Biden National Labor Relations Boards, which have by fiat turned graduate students into graduate employees – subject to unionization under the NLRA and, of course, the payment of forced union dues as a condition of their academic careers,” Taubman’s testimony reads.

Giving unions such monopoly bargaining power not only permits union bosses to dictate the conditions of graduate students’ academic work, but also gives them the power to force students to pay dues in states that lack Right to Work laws (like Massachusetts).

Even worse, union bosses are able to conduct disruptive strikes that stunt academic progress and frequently have outrageous political elements that have no connection to academics: For example, the recent strike United Auto Workers (UAW) union officials engineered against the University of California system was designed to defend anti-Israel rioters who were suspended and pressure university administrators into divesting from companies supporting Israel.

“Mr. Sussman’s situation should provide to American legislators a harrowing example of the kind of harm workers experience when union bosses seize monopoly bargaining power and become the mouthpiece for an entire workplace,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “The NLRB under Biden and Obama has done even more damage by expanding this coercion into academia, where campus unions have fomented unprecedented division all while threatening dissenting students with the loss of their academic work if they don’t pay up to support radical union activities.”

“National Right to Work legislation would ensure that those trapped under unwanted union influence can protect their hard-earned money from flowing into union bosses’ pockets,” Mix added. “Ultimately, though, no individual should be forced under union bosses’ so-called ‘representation’ against their will, no matter whether the source of their opposition is religious, political, or any other reason.”

1 Jul 2024

DC-Area Transdev Driver Takes Case Regarding Union-Instigated Assault to Federal Appeals Court

Posted in News Releases

Biden Labor Board claims ATU union did not violate law even after worker experienced slap and termination attempt from union officials

Washington, DC (July 1, 2024) – Thomas McLamb, a Hyattsville, Maryland-based driver for transportation company Transdev, is appealing his National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) case charging Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) officials with assaulting him to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. McLamb, whose case concerns retaliatory actions taken against him for being a union dissident, is receiving free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation.

McLamb filed charges with the NLRB in November 2021 and January 2022 against ATU for the retaliatory behavior, which in addition to being slapped by an ATU union steward also included a union-instigated termination attempt. McLamb argues that engaging in legally-protected action opposing the union hierarchy – including petitioning for an NLRB-supervised vote to remove the union – made him a target of union officials and adherents.

NLRB Region 5 in Baltimore issued a Complaint and Notice of Hearing on May 11, 2021, stating that the slap and an attempt by an ATU shop steward to get McLamb fired both constituted violations of federal labor law. An NLRB Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued a decision declaring that the firing attempt was illegal, but the Biden NLRB reversed, claiming that the union did not violate the law at all.

McLamb is now asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to review and overturn the decision of the Biden NLRB.

ATU Union President Ordered Adherents to “Slap” Dissenters

In a statement filed in November 2021, McLamb said that the ATU Local 689 president, Raymond Jackson, told other union officers to “slap” employees who were opposing his agenda. McLamb later reported in a federal charge that he had been physically assaulted by ATU shop steward Tiyaka Boone. Both incidents occurred while McLamb was campaigning against the incumbent officers to serve on Local 689’s board.

McLamb reported in another federal charge that, shortly after this incident, ATU official Alma Williams requested that Transdev management fire him over his criticisms of the union steward that assaulted him.

Biden NLRB Decision Claims Physical Assault Was Personal

The Biden NLRB’s decision reversing the ALJ decision against the union claims that Boone’s assault on McLamb was motivated by “personal reasons” and not McLamb’s legally-protected opposition to the union’s chiefs. However, both McLamb’s Foundation attorneys and even the NLRB General Counsel showed the ALJ during trial a video of Jackson, the ATU president at the time, telling employees to slap other workers who spoke out against him.

The NLRB decision also defends Alma Williams’ asking the employer to fire McLamb, claiming that she was merely asking for Boone and McLamb to be disciplined “equally” for their conduct during and leading up to the assault.

“Workers should not have to face violence or retribution in exchange for criticizing or challenging union leadership, and the fact that Mr. McLamb has had to fight for years to defend his right to be free of such retaliation is outrageous,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “We believe that this decision by the Biden NLRB is wrong, and is yet another example of how the current administration defends scofflaw union bosses that steamroll employee rights in pursuit of greater power.

“Even worse is the fact that McLamb works in the non-Right to Work state of Maryland, where union officials are legally empowered to require dues payments as a condition of keeping one’s job,” Mix added. “No worker should be forced to fund a union hierarchy they disapprove of, let alone one that is actively fighting the worker in court.”

1 Jul 2024

IBEW Union Bosses Back Down after Attempting to Trap Chicago 911 Operator in Forced Dues in Violation of First Amendment

Posted in News Releases

Facing state prosecution for violating City employee’s rights under 2018 Janus US Supreme Court ruling, IBEW stops dues seizure & issues refund

Chicago, IL (July 1, 2024) –Rhonda Younkins, a 911 operator employed by the City of Chicago, has just prevailed in her months long legal effort to exercise her right under the First Amendment to stop all union dues payments to IBEW Local 21 union officials. Younkins had repeatedly attempted to end dues payments, as is her right under the 2018 Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision, only to have IBEW union officials ignore her or make other demands.

After Ms. Younkins’ requests to stop dues were repeatedly rebuffed by union officials, she contacted the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, whose attorneys won and argued the Janus case at the U.S. Supreme Court. Foundation staff attorneys filed charges against IBEW Local 21 on Ms. Younkins behalf at the Illinois Labor Relations Board (ILRB), which oversees labor law for government employees in Illinois.

When it became clear that ILRB officials would be issuing a complaint against IBEW 21 for violating Younkins’ legal rights, union officials backed down by agreeing to stop dues collections. They also agreed to refund past dues.

“I decided to leave IBEW 21 because for some time now I believed that IBEW 21 was not acting in the best interest of its members,” stated Younkins. “Be it a new job title that senior employees were deliberately misinformed about, to breach of contract on my employer’s part, to having to navigate the police and court alone after being threatened at work, IBEW 21 was either ineffective or absent.”

Regarding her extended legal ordeal to force union officials to respect her legal rights, Younkins commented: “Verbal communication is ill advised when dealing with IBEW 21’s [officials], it’s best to get everything in writing, even then you may still get double talk and word salad. Faith and trust in IBEW 21 were lost a long time ago.”

Younkins’ long sought victory occurred just as the 6th anniversary of the Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court victory approached. That case, won by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys in June 2018, affirmed that public employees like Younkins have a First Amendment right not to fund union activities.

Prior to Janus, millions of government workers in Illinois and elsewhere were required as a condition of employment to pay dues or fees to union officials. Immediately after the ruling, an estimated 450,000 public employees immediately stopped payment to unions, and since then Foundation-backed litigation has helped defend the rights of tens of thousands of other government employees.

“Six years ago, the Janus U.S. Supreme Court landmark victory affirmed the rights of public employees like Rhonda Younkins to funding the activities of union officials they oppose,” stated Foundation President Mark Mix. “Unfortunately, this situation demonstrates how union officials continue to resist Janus and refuse to accept that individual public employees are now free to decide whether or not a union boss deserves their financial support.”

“It shouldn’t take months of back and forth, not to mention a state labor board charge, just to force union officials to comply with the First Amendment,” added Mix. “This case against the IBEW shows why our Foundation exists, and we encourage others seeking to exercise their Janus rights to contact Foundation staff attorneys for free legal aid right away.”


26 Jun 2024

Security Guards at Federal Buildings Across Delaware Voting Soon on Whether to End SPFPA Union’s Forced-Dues Power

Posted in News Releases

SPFPA union officials trapped workers in union ranks, but workers still have chance to stop mandatory dues payments

Delaware (June 26, 2024) – Security guards posted at federal buildings across the state of Delaware will soon cast ballots in a “deauthorization election” that may strip officials of the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA) union of their power to force guards to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Newark, DE-based security guard Steven Bowden requested the vote by submitting a deauthorization petition to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which a majority of his fellow guards employed by GXC Inc. backed. Bowden is receiving free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

The NLRB is the federal agency responsible for enforcing federal labor law in the private sector. Following an election agreement, the NLRB has announced that the guards can begin casting ballots in the deauthorization election on July 2.

Because Delaware is one of the minority of states still lacking Right to Work protections, union bosses have the legal privilege to force private sector workers like the GXC Inc. security guards to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. For that reason, workers opposed to funding union activities can only end the union’s forced-dues power by voting against it in a deauthorization election, or by requesting a “decertification vote” that terminates a union’s bargaining power in a workplace completely.

Gathering employee signatures to petition for a deauthorization or decertification vote can be difficult and time-consuming, especially in a situation like Bowden’s where the members of his work unit come from across the state. In contrast, in Right to Work states, deauthorization votes are unnecessary because union membership and financial support are the voluntary choice of each individual worker.

Union Officials Manipulated Carve-Outs in Federal Labor Law to Stay in Power

SPFPA union officials drew the ire of Bowden and his colleagues by signing a contract with GXC Inc. management without the workers’ knowledge or consent. While voting the union out of the workplace would be their next logical step, the NLRB’s so-called “contract bar” allows union officials to immunize themselves from worker-backed decertification attempts for up to three years after a union contract has been finalized. The “contract bar” appears nowhere in the text of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the federal law the NLRB is charged with enforcing, but is the product of union boss-friendly decisions made by partisan NLRB members over the years.

“SPFPA union officials sprung this contract on me and my colleagues, which is hardly what we would consider ‘representing’ us fairly,” commented Bowden. “It’s disappointing that NLRB rules prevent us from kicking SPFPA bosses out, but stopping them from forcing us to fund union activities is definitely a step in the right direction, and we’re confident we’ll win this vote.”

Union officials regularly exploit the “contract bar” to remain in power, even when workers have clearly expressed their opposition to the union’s performance. In 2022, Foundation attorneys successfully defended Kerry Hunsberger and her coworkers at Latrobe (PA) Specialty Metals from a scheme by United Steelworkers (USW) to use a contract that workers had overwhelmingly voted against as a reason to block a decertification vote. In 2020 and 2021, Foundation attorneys also aided an 800-employee unit of Mountaire Farms poultry workers in Delaware in a similar situation.

This also isn’t the first time that Foundation attorneys have provided free legal aid to security employees seeking freedom from SPFPA union dues schemes. In 2020, Las Vegas-based security guard Justin Stephens and his coworkers scored a settlement returning thousands of dollars in illegally-seized union dues to North American Security staff after SPFPA officials failed to acknowledge many employees’ attempts to revoke their union memberships and cut off dues deductions.

“SPFPA union bosses betrayed the trust of Delaware GXC security guards by finalizing a new contract behind their backs, and these guards certainly deserve a chance to exercise their right to vote the union out,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Despite that, the ‘contract bar’ lets union officials unilaterally block workers from voting a union out of power, demonstrating how stacked federal labor law is against basic worker freedom.

“Federal labor law’s bias toward keeping union bosses in power even over workers’ objections again shows why Right to Work laws are needed nationwide,” Mix added. “If union officials can legally trap workers under a union’s so-called ‘representation,’ the least states can do is provide workers a way to protect their hard-earned cash from going toward union activities that go against their interests.”

24 Jun 2024

Healthcare Workers at HRI Hospital Win Campaign to Remove Unwanted SEIU Union Bosses  

Posted in News Releases

SEIU 1199 officials concede defeat after a majority of employees sign petition backing Federal Labor Board-run decertification election

Brookline, MA (June 24, 2024) – Employees at HRI Hospital, Inc in Brookline, MA have won their freedom from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1199, which also calls itself the “United Healthcare Workers” union. HRI Hospital employee Veronica Kpodo filed a petition on behalf of a majority of the 100 healthcare workers seeking a vote to remove the union. The decertification petition was filed with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

Kpodo filed the petition on June 17 with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal agency responsible for enforcing federal labor law, which includes administering elections to install (or “certify”) and remove (or “decertify”) unions. Kpodo’s petition contained support from a majority of employees in the bargaining unit made up of registered nurses, mental health workers, unit secretaries, dietary, utility servers, and switchboard workers.

Rather than contest the election, which had the backing of a majority of employees who would have been eligible to vote, SEIU union officials conceded defeat days after the decertification petition was filed by announcing their intention to disclaim recognition. Soon after, on June 24, 2024, the NLRB officially recognized that the SEIU was no longer the monopoly bargaining representative of the employees, meaning Kpodo and her colleagues had won their campaign to remove the union.

Massachusetts is not a Right to Work state, meaning that union officials have the power to force employees, like those at HRI Hospital, to pay fees to a union as a condition of keeping their jobs. In contrast, in Right to Work states union membership and financial support are strictly voluntary.

However, even in Right to Work states, federal law grants union officials the power to impose their “representation” on all workers in a unit, even those who oppose the union or voted against its presence. To end that forced representation, workers can choose to exercise their right under federal law to decertify a union they oppose.

“We are glad to hear these employees successfully exercises their right to cut ties with unwanted SEIU union bosses,” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Obviously SEIU officials saw the writing on the wall, which is why they quickly conceded defeat and walked away.”

“This is just the latest example of the growing demand among workers across the country for Foundation assistance in exercising their legal rights to remove unwanted unions from the workplace,” added Mix. “We encourage other workers who want to learn about their workplace rights, including the right to decertify an unwanted union, to contact the Foundation for free legal information and assistance.”


17 Jun 2024

Louisiana ADT Security Services Workers Overwhelmingly Vote to Remove Communication Workers of America Union from Workplace

Posted in News Releases

ADT employees across Pelican State vote nearly 2 to 1 in decertification election to boot CWA union officials

Baton Rouge, LA (June 17, 2024) – Employees at ADT Security Services across Louisiana have overwhelmingly voted to remove the Communication Workers of America (CWA) union from their workplace. ADT Security Services employee Jonathan Rentrop filed the decertification petition with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

Rentrop filed the petition on May 7 with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal agency responsible for enforcing federal labor law, which includes administering elections to install (or “certify”) and remove (or “decertify”) unions. Rentrop’s petition contained support from a majority of employees, more than enough to trigger a decertification vote under NLRB rules.

The election was held on Wednesday, June 12, and Thursday, June 13, at ADT Security Services locations in Shreveport, Lafayette, New Orleans (St. Rose), and Baton Rouge. According to the official NLRB vote tally, 30 employees voted for removal of the union, while just 17 votes in favor of keeping CWA union officials as their monopoly bargaining representative.

Because Louisiana is a Right to Work state, union officials can’t force employees like those at ADT Security Services to join the union or pay union dues as a condition of getting or keeping a job. In contrast, non-Right to Work states let union officials push for terms that force workers to pay dues as a condition of employment.

However, even in Right to Work states, federal law grants union officials the power to impose their “representation” on all workers in a unit, even those who oppose the union or voted against its presence. A successful decertification election strips union officials of that monopoly power over all employees in the bargaining unit.

“This vote is the latest example of workers across the country exercising their right to remove unwanted unions, with the NLRB’s own statistics showing more decertification elections held last year than in any year since 2017,” said Foundation President Mark Mix. “Louisiana’s popular Right to Work law provides fundamental protections for employees in the Pelican State against being forced to fund a union they oppose, but, right now, that law does not override federal law that forces workers under a union’s so-called ‘representation’ against their will.”

“While we are proud to assist workers in exercising their right to vote out unwanted unions in decertification elections, ultimately the choice of whether or not to be ‘represented’ by union officials should rest with each individual employee,” added Mix.

14 Jun 2024

California Transportation Worker Files Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality of National Labor Relations Board

Posted in News Releases

Lawsuit joins challenges by three other employees against NLRB on grounds that structure of agency violates Article II of the Constitution

Los Angeles, CA (June 14, 2024) – On Tuesday, Victor Avila, an employee of Savage Services Corporation in California, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the structure of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Avila is receiving free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

Avila filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the NLRB against the Teamsters Local 848 union in August 2023. On February 9, NLRB Region 21 in Los Angeles issued a complaint against Teamsters Local 848 on the grounds that the union violated Avila’s rights when the Teamsters, through an agent, had “threatened unit employees with physical violence for not supporting the Union.”

This week a National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge began hearing that case. Soon after that hearing began, Avila’s federal lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, where the NLRB is based. The lawsuit raises fundamental constitutional concerns regarding the removal power vested in the President under Article II of the Constitution. Avila contends that the NLRB, composed of five members with limited removal authority, infringes upon the President’s constitutional prerogative to oversee and remove executive officials who wield substantial executive power. The complaint states that “Avila is entitled to have a constitutionally structured Board, properly accountable to the President, adjudicate his case and rule on his unfair labor practice charge.”

Avila’s lawsuit points to recent Supreme Court rulings, including Seila Law LLC v. CFPB and Collins v. Yellen, which underscored the necessity for presidential control over executive officials exercising significant authority. Avila argues that the NLRB’s structure, as defined by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), places impermissible limitations on the President’s removal power, thereby violating the Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine.

Starbucks Employees Also Challenging Federal Labor Board Structure in Two Federal Lawsuits

Avila’s case is not the only federal lawsuit filed by employees challenging the structure of the NLRB as unconstitutional with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. Three Starbucks employees, each of whom has had their attempt to hold decertification votes to remove unwanted Starbucks Workers United (SBWU) union officials from their workplace blocked by NLRB officials, have made similar arguments in federal lawsuits.

Ariana Cortes and Logan Karam, two Starbucks employees from New York, recently filed an appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in their lawsuit. They are appealing a District Court judge’s ruling that they lacked standing to bring their challenge. The ruling didn’t address the core constitutional arguments their lawsuit raised. Another Starbucks employee, Reed Busler, filed another similar lawsuit that is currently pending in the Northern District Court in Texas.

“Labor law cannot and should not be immune from the requirements of the U.S. Constitution and Mr. Avila is entitled to have his case adjudicated by a constitutionally accountable body,” said Foundation President Mark Mix. “Too often the Biden NLRB has operated like a taxpayer-funded arm of the AFL-CIO, and this case is just one of many where employees are seeking to defend their rights against a biased agency that acts as if it’s power has no limits.”

14 Jun 2024

Detroit School Bus Driver Slams Teamsters Union With Federal Charges for Seizing Full Dues Illegally From Paycheck

Posted in News Releases

Teamsters officials ignored First Student driver’s request to opt-out of funding union politics, similar cases increase after MI Right to Work repeal

Detroit, MI (June 14, 2024) – Frances Dennis, a Troy-based school bus driver for First Student, Inc., has just filed federal charges against Teamsters Local 299 union officials for seizing full union dues payments from her wages even though she resigned her membership in the union. Dennis filed the charges at National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 7 in Detroit with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys.

Dennis is seeking to defend her rights under the Foundation-won Communications Workers of America v. Beck Supreme Court decision, which forbids union officials from forcing employees who have abstained from union membership into paying dues or fees for anything beyond the union’s core bargaining functions. Union political expenditures, which often make up part of full membership dues, are among those expenses that Beck prevents union officials from forcing nonmember workers into funding. Nonmember workers who exercise their Beck rights are also entitled to an independent audit of the union’s finances and a breakdown of how union officials spend forced contributions.

In non-Right to Work states, including Michigan where Right to Work was repealed earlier this year, union officials’ privilege to force workers to pay dues or fees as a condition of employment is limited by the Beck ruling. Under federal law and U.S. Supreme Court precedents like General Motors v. NLRB, union officials also can’t compel workers to maintain formal union membership as a condition of getting or keeping a job.

In Right to Work states, in contrast, both union membership and all union financial support are strictly the choice of each individual worker.

Teamsters Continue to Take Money for Politics Unlawfully From School Bus Driver

According to the charges, in December 2023 Dennis sent a letter to Teamsters union officials exercising both her right to resign union membership and her right to cut off union dues deductions from her paycheck. At the time, Michigan’s Right to Work law was still on the books, meaning Teamsters union officials should have honored both of Dennis’ requests. However, her charges state that Teamsters agents “did not respond to this letter and continued to deduct dues from her wages.”

Knowing that the Michigan Legislature had set the Right to Work repeal for February 2024, Dennis sent another letter in January 2024 “objecting to the demand of any dues or fees without the protections guaranteed by Communications Workers of America v. Beck.” She also objected to union officials taking dues from her paycheck. Even where forced-dues arrangements are legal, federal law prohibits union bosses from requiring the payment of such dues through direct payroll deduction.

Dennis’ charges report that Teamsters union bosses have not responded to her letter, have not provided her with any of her Beck rights, and continue to seize full union dues out of her wages. Even worse, a union recording secretary told Dennis via text that “she was required…to complete and submit a dues checkoff form” authorizing direct dues deduction as a condition of keeping her job.

After MI Right to Work Repeal, Cases Challenging Forced Dues Pile Up

Dennis’ case is just the latest in a string filed by Foundation attorneys for Michigan workers seeking to challenge union bosses’ forced-dues arrangements in the wake of Michigan’s Right to Work repeal. Earlier this month, Sault Ste. Marie Meijer employee Joseph Arnold hit his employer with federal charges for compelling him to sign a United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union membership form. In Milford, Kroger employee Roger Cornett levied federal charges against both a UFCW local and the store for jointly enforcing a scheme that forces employees to contribute to the union’s Political Action Committee (PAC) to stay employed. James Reamsma, a Grand Rapids-area security guard, is defending a “deauthorization vote” by security guards across Western Michigan to end the forced-dues power of a United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA) union.

“The Michigan Legislature’s cynical and partisan repeal of Right to Work was a blatant power grab for union bosses across the state at the expense of workers’ right to freely decide whether union bosses have earned their financial support,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “As Ms. Dennis’ case and an increasing number of cases from around the state show, union bosses often seek to circumvent or flat out ignore workers’ free association rights, which is why those freedoms deserve stronger and not weaker protections.”

“Perhaps more unsettling is the fact that some of these cases involve union officials illegally funneling worker money into union politics – the same political machine that led to the demise of these workers’ free choice under Right to Work,” Mix added.