After union officials did not provide legally required financial disclosures, guard wins reduction in mandatory union fees

Washington, DC (June 6, 2024) – Rosa Crawley, a security guard at the Department of Homeland Security’s Nebraska Avenue Complex, has triumphed after filing a federal lawsuit charging the International Guards Union of America (IGUA) with unlawfully demanding and seizing union dues from her paycheck. Crawley, who is employed by Master Security, forced the union to back off its illegal dues demands with free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

Crawley is not a member of the IGUA union, but is still subject to IGUA’s monopoly bargaining power over the security guards at the DHS Nebraska Avenue Complex. As part of the settlement, IGUA union bosses must reduce the compulsory fee that they seize from Crawley as a condition of keeping her job. Before she filed suit, union bosses demanded the equivalent of full membership dues from her.

In her federal lawsuit, which she filed at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Crawley sought to defend her rights under the 1988 Right to Work Foundation-won CWA v. Beck Supreme Court decision.

While union officials can force private sector workers in non-Right to Work jurisdictions like the District of Columbia to pay dues or fees just to keep their jobs, the Beck decision prevents union bosses from forcing employees who have abstained from union membership to pay for anything beyond the union’s core bargaining functions, such as union bosses’ political activities. Full membership dues often contain charges for these unrelated items.

Beck also requires union bosses to furnish nonmembers who invoke their rights under the decision with an independent audit of the union’s finances and a breakdown of how union officials spend forced contributions.

Beck protections aren’t necessary in Right to Work states like neighboring Virginia, where union membership and all union financial support are fully voluntary.

IGUA Union Bosses Took Full Dues from Guard, Provided No Financial Disclosures

According to the suit, Crawley sent a letter to union officials resigning her union membership back in July 2023. Instead of immediately providing her with her Beck rights, union officials informed her that she would be charged a so-called “agency fee” which “is the same exact cost as what the union members pay.”

“So there will be absolutely no change in a financial sense,” the union’s reply letter stated.

Not satisfied with that explanation, Crawley in September 2023 formally invoked her Beck rights and asked union officials to reduce her dues payments in accordance with the decision. She also asked them to “provide [her] with an accounting, by an independent certified public accountant, that justifies Local 160’s calculation of its agency [forced] fee,” according to her lawsuit.

In an October 2023 reply to her Beck request, union officials used a confusing percentage averaging calculation to determine a fee amount that contradicted what they told Crawley when she resigned her membership. An independent audit of the union’s finances was nowhere to be found. Despite that, Crawley’s lawsuit reported that IGUA bosses continued to collect full union dues from her paycheck, and tried to impose extra steps that would need to be completed if she wanted to see the union’s financial info.

Workers Must Be On Guard for Illegal Union Uses of Worker Funds as Election Nears

After the filing of her lawsuit, Crawley expressed concern that her money was flowing toward union politics while IGUA bosses dragged their feet on honoring her Beck rights. “I shouldn’t have to pay for the IGUA union’s political activity just so I can continue to do my job,” commented Crawley. “Union officials have a legal obligation to stop charging me for politics and provide me with an accounting of how they are using my money, and so far they have done neither. This isn’t how they should treat the workers they say they ‘represent.’”

“We’re pleased that Ms. Crawley was able to terminate IGUA union officials’ outrageous seizure of full union dues from her paycheck,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “However, IGUA union officials’ inability to follow even the modest limitations that Beck places on their ability to impose mandatory dues on workers is ridiculous, and no worker should have to file a federal lawsuit to force union bosses into recognizing those rights.

“Workers’ right to prevent their money from going toward unwanted union activities, particularly politics, is especially important as union bosses try to push forward their agendas in advance of the 2024 election,” Mix added. “So workers should be vigilant of Beck violations, and remember they can contact Foundation attorneys for free legal aid in exercising their rights under that decision.”

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 about 200 cases nationwide per year.

Posted on Jun 6, 2024 in News Releases