NABET-CWA union bosses failed to provide legally mandated breakdown of fees, while demanding cameraman pay up or be fired
Portland, OR (July 10, 2019) – An Oregon-based ESPN employee has just filed an unfair labor practice charge against the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA) union, asserting that union officials illegally threatened to terminate him unless he pays thousands of dollars in union fees. The charge was filed at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
Jeremy Brown, a daily hire for ESPN, states in his charge that since April 1 he had declined membership in NABET and therefore could only be required to pay the part of union fees chargeable to nonmembers under federal law. Because Oregon lacks a Right to Work law, which would make union membership and financial support voluntary, private sector employees who fall under the monopoly bargaining power of a union must still pay a fee to union officials as a condition of employment.
Existing Supreme Court precedent provides some employee protections from compulsory union fees. The Foundation-won 1998 CWA v. Beck ruling requires unions to only charge employees who have refused formal union membership fees directly related to bargaining. Courts and the NLRB have also mandated that unions provide financial explanations to nonmembers of how the reduced amounts are calculated. Absent such a financial breakdown, union officials cannot legally demand any fees from nonmember employees.
According to Brown’s charge, those requirements were ignored by NABET union officials who demanded an initiation fee of $6,456 and an additional $3,429.60 in past dues from him in a letter, and threatened that he would be fired if he did not pay. The charge says that, despite Brown’s objection, NABET has not “provided him with a reduction of the fee to an amount that includes only lawfully chargeable costs or notice of the calculation of that amount.”
“Rather than respect workers’ legal rights, NABET-CWA union bosses are threating Jeremy Brown’s livelihood in their greedy rush to stuff their coffers with forced union dues,” observed National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “This case, like thousands of others, shows why every worker in America needs the protection of a Right to Work law guaranteeing that that all union membership and financial support is strictly voluntary and the choice of each individual.”
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.