A recent op-ed from National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix in the Detroit News discusses union bosses never-ending attempts to overturn or undermine Michigan’s Right To Work protections for workers.
The article explains how union officials wield their monopoly power against workers in the union-controlled “grievance process” and why the Foundation recently filed an amicus brief in a case currently at the Michigan Supreme Court in which union officials are attempting to circumvent Right to Work:
Courts have long recognized that, in unionized workplaces, union kingpins effectively own the process through which workplace grievances regarding alleged misapplications or misinterpretations of company policies are handled.
Five-and-a-half decades ago, U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan’s majority opinion in NLRB v. Allis Chalmers bluntly acknowledged that America’s national labor policy “extinguishes the individual employee’s power to order his own relations with his employer,” while “clothing” union bosses with monopoly-bargaining power.
And Justice Thurgood Marshall’s 1975 Emporium Capwell opinion resoundingly affirmed that a union controls all grievances under “exclusive” union bargaining, notwithstanding any employee attempts to redress grievances independently.
Their ironclad control over employee grievances is undoubtedly a boon for union bosses. Two current federal lawsuits filed by Michigan workers against United Auto Workers union bosses and Fiat Chrysler executives vividly illustrate why.
In one of these cases, 42 current and former employees of FCA (now known as Stellantis) charge that they were cheated out of wages and benefits they were promised by UAW bosses when their pay was cut from $28 an hour to $16 an hour after they switched from part-time to full-time jobs.
When the workers complained about the pay cut, local UAW bosses allegedly promised to file grievances on their behalf — but never did.
In the other case, 47 current and former engineers allege that FCA violated the union contract when it transferred them from a facility in Auburn Hills to another one in Trenton. Grievances they filed regarding the matter were mishandled or withdrawn without explanation by the UAW brass.
As outrageous as UAW bosses’ failure to follow up adequately on workers’ grievances in these two cases may seem to ordinary citizens, the fact is that federal law permits union bosses with monopoly-bargaining power to refuse to advance workers’ legitimate grievances simply because they don’t think it’s in the interest of the union to do so.
But even this extraordinarily privileged status isn’t enough to satisfy government union officials in Michigan. In Technical, Professional, and Officeworkers Association of MI v. Daniel Renner, a case now pending before the Michigan Supreme Court, they are brazenly contending they may vindictively refuse to process the grievances of union nonmembers to punish them for not joining and bankrolling the union, even when the union contract prohibits the individual employee from filing grievances on his or her own behalf.
Though union lawyers’ outrageous claims in Renner’s case have already been rejected at the Michigan Employment Relations Commission and at the State of Michigan Court of Appeals, there is no guarantee they will be dismissed by the Michigan Supreme Court.
That’s why the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed a brief Friday in the case defending Daniel Renner’s rights under Michigan’s right-to-work law.
The Michigan Supreme Court must reject this cynical attack on Wolverine State workers’ legal protections against being forced to fund a union they disapprove of.
Read the entire article on the Detroit News website.
More details on the case and the Foundation’s brief can be found here. Read the brief here (PDF).