Albuquerque, N.M. (February 7, 2006) – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, D.C., has ruled that Teamsters union officials violated workers’ rights by retaliating against workers who chose to do their jobs during the national strike against United Parcel Service (UPS) in 1997. The ruling ensures that UPS drivers in New Mexico may resign retroactively from the union and receive significant rebates of forced union dues. A group of eight UPS workers from New Mexico, with free help from the National Right to Work Foundation, triggered the NLRB’s prosecution of the Teamsters union after union officials brought internal union disciplinary action against employees, including the threat of fines for working during a strike and firings from their jobs for refusal to pay full union dues and duplicative “initiation fees.” The NLRB decision in the long-languishing case determined that Teamsters Union Local 492 violated federal labor law because union officials never informed workers of their right to resign their formal union membership and withhold certain forced dues spent on activities unrelated to collective bargaining. The NLRB also ruled that those employees who did not receive the requisite notices could not be considered voluntary members of the union and, therefore, could not be subjected to internal union discipline of any kind. “Teamsters union officials waged an ugly and illegal campaign of retaliation against workers who decided to honor their commitments to their families and their employer by refusing to walk off the job,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This long overdue ruling vindicates the principled and courageous stand taken by these workers.” When Teamsters officials ordered UPS workers to strike against the company, some workers discovered on their own that they had a right to resign their formal union memberships in order to continue working during the strike without facing union retaliation. The NLRB found that, not only did Teamsters officials refuse to immediately honor the workers’ resignations as the law requires, but continued illegally to collect full dues, attempted to collect duplicate “initiation fees,” and sought to fine and cause the firing of workers who had refused to walk off the job. In its ruling, the NLRB ordered Teamsters officials to end all threats of discipline against the workers, retroactively honor the workers’ resignations from union membership, and inform other workers in the statewide bargaining unit of their right to resign their formal union membership. Any employee who exercises that right may also be retroactively reimbursed for any forced union dues seized for purposes other than collective bargaining. The ruling also implies that similar NLRB prosecutions, such as that of the Teamsters union for workers’ rights abuses during the 2003 California statewide grocery strike, will be resolved in favor of the employees. The actions of Teamsters union officials violated protections recognized in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Communications Workers v. Beck, a case argued and won by Foundation attorneys. Under Beck and related rulings, workers may resign their formal union memberships at any time, and may not be compelled to pay dues beyond the union’s proven collective bargaining costs.