Alaska’s Union Bosses Demand Firing of Hospital Employees
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Alaska has long been known as “America’s last frontier” — a place that embodies the national spirit of freedom and independence.
Unfortunately, Alaska’s proud tradition of individual liberty is under intense assault from Big Labor forces bent on ruining the careers of workers who exercise their Right to Work.
Alaska Regional Hospital became the focal point for that assault earlier this year after several employees at the hospital received an incredibly frightening and illegal letter from local union officials demanding that they join the union in order to keep their jobs.
Refusing to knuckle under to the union’s extreme tactics, employees chose to fight back by contacting the Foundation.
Local media exposes union’s goon tactics
Foundation attorneys filed two separate unfair labor practice charges against the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 341 on behalf of hospital employees Mark Baker, an emergency room technician, and Charles Krimm, a nurse.
The local media were all over the story, running several news articles and television reports on the union’s ham-handed tactics.
“These hospital employees are enduring an epidemic of intimidation and harassment at the hands of union bullies,” said Foundation Vice President Stefan Gleason.
Despite numerous decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, including the Foundation-won Beck decision holding that a non-member cannot be forced to pay for a union’s a non-collective bargaining costs, union officials demanded in writing that these employees join the union, pay full union dues, or sign payroll deduction cards. In addition, union bosses illegally threatened to force the employer, Alaska Regional Hospital, to terminate any employees who failed to comply immediately with their demands.
Union henchmen threaten employees
In a threatening letter to Baker, a union boss wrote, “I have written to you on two previous occasions...If you think that by not responding we will forget or forgive your debt, you are sadly mistaken.”
When confronted by a local news reporter about the harsh nature of the letter, the local union official who sent it tried in vain to justify its content when he stammered, “I don’t consider that threatening...It’s a tap on the shoulder.”
“The letter was a gun to the heads of hospital employees, not a ‘tap on the shoulder.’ This is one more example of union boss arrogance,” declared Gleason.
When asked by a local TV station about union activities at the hospital, both Baker and Krimm described a tense atmosphere, fueled by union boss intimidation and misinformation. “People have been pressured and people were pretty much afraid to join the union or not join the union,” said Krimm. “A lot of people joined because they were scared.”
“There was no ‘Hi, how are you’ at the beginning. All I got was a letter that said ‘Look, if you don’t give us the money we want, you’re fired,’” added Baker.
LIUNA Local 341 union officials also never informed the workers of their right to remain non-members or their right to pay only reduced financial core fees, as required by Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court precedents.
After being contacted by the Foundation Legal Information Department, all three of Anchorage’s network TV stations, along with the Associated Press, reported on the injustice.
Noting that Alaska’s state motto is “North to the Future,” Gleason vowed that the Foundation will continue, through donations from its generous supporters, to fight for a “Future” in which Alaska’s employees are able to make a living free from fear of threats, harassment, and violence from union bullies.