Cleveland, Ohio (December 15, 2004) – A local SBC Communications worker filed federal unfair labor practice charges against Communications Workers of America (CWA) Union Local 4309 today after union officials fined her for continuing to work during a strike and lied about her rights to refrain from union membership. Sanda Ilias, an employee of SBC, obtained free legal assistance from attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and filed the charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after union officials violated her rights by insisting that she could not resign from formal union membership and withheld repayment of forced dues spent for union political activities. Ilias alleges that CWA union officials never informed her of the strike that was supposedly underway in the summer of 2004. When union officials informed her that it was against union member rules to work during a union-ordered strike, she complied. However, union officials later fined Ilias $528 for unknowingly working during the strike, while having lied to her by telling her she had to be a full union member in order to keep her job. The NLRB will now investigate the charges and decide whether to issue a formal complaint in the case. “Union officials want workers like these to simply shut up and pay up,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Rather than look after the interests of workers they claim to represent, CWA officials often go to great lengths to stifle dissent.” The actions of CWA union officials violated employee rights recognized under the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck and subsequent NLRB rulings, union officials must inform employees of their right to refrain from formal union membership and observe their right not to pay for costs unrelated to collective bargaining, such as union political activity. “Unfortunately, as long as Ohio workers labor under a system of compulsory unionism, abuses of this nature will continue to plague workers across the state,” said Gleason.