BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (April 24, 2001) — A cement factory worker today filed federal charges against a local affiliate of the powerful Teamsters union, seeking to force union officials to stop their illegal practice of funneling compulsory union dues into politics.
The Vulcan Materials Company cement factory employee, Gordon Merkley, sought legal help from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys after officials of Teamsters Local 87 threatened to have him fired from his job for refusing to support the union’s political campaigning and lobbying activities.
“Teamsters bosses harassed and threatened Gordon Merkley simply because he exercised his right not to fund the union’s political machine,” said Randy Wanke, Director of Legal Information for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a charitable organization that provides free legal aid to victims of compulsory unionism abuse.
The federal charges, filed with the National Labor Relations Board against Local 87, state that union officials violated the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision, which held that workers who resign their union memberships may withhold any union dues used for politics and other non-representational activities. As a nonmember of the union, Merkley can only be required to pay for union activities directly related to collective bargaining.
The charges also state that union officials provided inaccurate and unaudited financial records that unlawfully concealed the union’s actual spending practices and improperly categorized politics, public relations, and organizing expenditures as “chargeable.” Under the Foundation-won Supreme Court ruling in Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, union officials must provide employees with an independent audit of their books so that employees can identify non-chargeable expenditures, such as politics.
Foundation attorneys are demanding that union officials immediately return any forced union dues illegally seized from employees.
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.