17 jul 2002

Union Forced to Refund Illegally Seized Dues

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (July 17, 2002) — Responding to charges filed by attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) prosecutors have forced the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 200 to refund illegally seized union dues from employees of the Marsellus Casket Company.

This is the second time the NLRB has issued a formal complaint against SEIU Local 200 in the past year. Under the NLRB’s original settlement, issued in November, SEIU Local 200 officials were ordered to refund the employees’ dues and fees that were used for non-representational purposes. Union officials disregarded the agreement and continued illegally seizing workers’ dues to pay for union politics.

“What incredible arrogance. These union officials just thumbed their noses at the government’s prosecutors and the employees they claim to represent,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The actions of SEIU officials suggest that they will do virtually anything to keep money flowing into their political operations.”

As part of the second settlement, the NLRB has also mandated the union must post a notice alerting workers and employees of the Marsellus Casket Company of their right to refrain from formal union membership and the payment of full union dues.

The settlement also requires SEIU union officials to notify objecting workers what percentage of their dues is being used to fund non-representational activities, including political activities. Under law, an employee may resign from formal union membership, pay a reduced fee, and further challenge the veracity of the union’s figures.

The case was originally filed in July 2001 by Foundation attorneys for three company employees, Mark L. Miller, Scott Bayer, and David Sprague. SEIU 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 may halt and reclaim forced union dues spent on politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining.

15 jul 2002

Bush Ban on Discriminatory Union-Only Contracting Upheld by Appellate Court

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 15, 2002) — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has upheld the Bush Administration’s Executive Order 13202, which bans discriminatory union-only contracts, also known as project labor agreements (PLAs), on federally funded construction projects.

In support of the Bush administration, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed an amicus curiae (Friend of the Court) brief with Associated Builders and Contractors and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The three-judge panel unanimously agreed with the arguments that the executive order was not preempted by the congressionally enacted National Labor Relations Act and that President Bush acted within his constitutional authority by issuing the Executive Order banning union-only contracts.

“The court’s decision is a step toward protecting workers and taxpayers from higher costs and other abuses that flow from compulsory unionism,” said National Right to Work Foundation Vice President Stefan Gleason.

A PLA is a scheme which requires that all contractors, whether they are unionized or not, subject themselves and their employees to unionization to work on government-funded construction projects. PLAs usually require contractors to grant union officials monopoly bargaining privileges over all workers; use exclusive union hiring halls; force workers to pay dues as a condition of employment; and pay above-market prices resulting from wasteful work rules and featherbedding.

More than 80 percent of American contractors and their employees have refrained from unionization.

A coalition of union officials filed Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, et al. v. Allbaugh, et al. after President Bush issued the order in February 2001 to establish a policy of non-discrimination on federal contracting. The appellate court’s decision overturns an injunction issued by the U.S. District Court last year.

“PLAs are nothing more than a shakedown — union officials use them to demand taxpayer handouts and government-granted special privileges in exchange for not ordering strikes or causing other disruptions,” said Gleason.

27 jun 2002

Union Faces Unfair Labor Practice Suit After Illegally Firing Worker

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In response to being illegally fired for refusing to pay union dues for politics, a Huntleigh Corporation employee today filed charges against the Allied Services Division, Transportation Communications International (TCU) union.

With help from the National Right to Work Foundation, Ralph Lanton III filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after union officials would not provide a breakdown of how his dues were calculated. The union forced the illegal firing of Lanton when he refused to pay full union dues, including dues spent for politics.

Foundation attorneys are also seeking a restraining order to have Lanton reinstated at his job.

“No one should have their career destroyed because the union broke the law,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “How can union officials claim to be on the side of workers when they thwart their ability to make a living?”

In April 2002, TCU officials demanded that Lanton pay an agency fee equal to full union dues or face termination from his job. In response, Lanton asked for a written account of how the union spends workers’ dues and asked for a reduction in the fee because he was not a union member. In violation of the employee’s constitutional and due-process rights established by the U.S. Supreme Court, TCU officials rejected both of these requests and had Lanton fired on June 10.

The actions of TCU officials violated the rights established by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 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 memberships and halt and reclaim the portion of forced union dues spent on politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining.

Every year, union officials seize millions of dollars in compulsory dues to support candidates and causes that many rank-and-file workers find objectionable. Polls have consistently shown that a majority of union members object to having their dues spent for political activities.

25 jun 2002

Spaulding Composites Employees Hit Union with Unfair Labor Practice Charges

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With the help of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, three employees of the Spaulding Composites Company filed charges against union officials for illegally forcing them to pay union dues spent for politics and other non-bargaining activities.

Kathy Pinault and two other employees filed the charges at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Paper, Allied Industrial, Chemical, and Energy Workers International Union (PACE), Local 1-1424.

The workers’ case highlights the abuse that is common in states like New Hampshire, since it has not yet passed a Right to Work law. A Right to Work law bans the common union practice of forcing employees to pay union dues to get or keep a job.

“Rather than entertain political objections from workers, the union’s officials would prefer that they shut up and pay up,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Without the protection of a Right to Work law, New Hampshire workers are forced to pay compulsory union dues or risk losing their jobs.”

In December 2001, the workers asked the union hierarchy for financial disclosure of union expenditures. PACE officials responded with a document that the union’s own handpicked accountants admitted was not an audit, despite the independent audit requirement handed down by a ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in a case brought by Foundation attorneys.

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

“Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Union bosses routinely try to hide behind misinformation and outright threats to keep workers paying for their political activities,” stated Gleason.

The actions of PACE officials directly violate the Foundation-won Supreme Court decision in Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, which requires union officials to provide an audited disclosure of their books and justify expenditures made from forced union dues seized from employees who have chosen to refrain from formal union membership.

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.