Seattle, WA (June 3, 2010) – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Seattle has filed a federal complaint against local Teamster union officials for intimidating employees who exercised their limited legal rights to refrain from full dues paying union membership as a condition of employment.
The complaint stems from unfair labor practice charges filed by Alan Ritchey, Inc. employees Gayle May and Patricia Allen – acting for dozens of other similarly-situated employees of the mail transportation equipment repair and service center facility in Auburn – against Teamsters Local 117 union bosses.
With help from the National Right to Work Foundation, May and Allen filed charges after certain employees received a letter from union officials threatening them with job loss if they did not within three days join the union or declare again their nonmember status.
In the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court case Communication Workers of America v. Beck (1988), the Court held that workers who refrain from formal union membership have the right to refrain from paying union dues spent for activities like political activism, lobbying, and member-only events.
At about the same time, other Alan Ritchey employees filed a petition seeking a deauthorization election which would strip union officials of their forced dues powers.
Fearing lack of support, Teamsters Local 117 union lawyers filed charges against the National Right to Work Foundation in a desperate attempt to stall the employee vote that would have rescinded their forced dues privileges, but the NLRB dismissed the union bosses’ unwarranted and frivolous charges.
“Independent-minded employees should not be forced to subsidize Teamsters Local 117 union thugs who threaten them with firings for exercising their rights,” said Patrick Semmens, Legal Information Director of the National Right to Work Foundation. “That is why Washington needs a state Right to Work law protecting workers from union boss intimidation and abuse.”
The NLRB’s complaint against Teamsters Local 117 union bosses will be heard before an administrative law judge in the Jackson Federal Building in Seattle on August 3.
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.