United Autoworkers union and company settle case brought by workers challenging union dues and fees taken without workers’ authorization
Detroit, MI (April 8, 2019) – Unfair labor practice charges brought by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys for two Michigan medical emergency transportation workers against their employer and United Autoworkers (UAW) Local 708 have ended in settlements.
The settlements return to 170 workers more than $26,000 in union dues that were deducted from their paychecks without their authorization in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which protects employees’ right to refrain from union activities, and Michigan’s popular Right to Work law, which ended any requirement that workers must pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
Skyler Korinek and Donald McCarty both work for STAT Emergency Medical Services. Neither Korinek nor McCarty had ever given STAT authorization to deduct union dues or fees from their paychecks for UAW Local 708. Nevertheless, since they were hired union officials have demanded and accepted union dues that STAT automatically withdrew from the workers’ paychecks.
Both Korinek and McCarty sent a letter to STAT notifying it that deducting union dues or fees from their paychecks without authorization was illegal. The workers’ letters requested copies of any dues check-off authorization and revoked any authorization if it existed. However, STAT ignored their requests and continued to seize union dues against their wishes, and union officials continued to accept those dues.
The workers sought free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, who assisted them in filing unfair labor practice charges at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Rather than face Foundation staff attorneys in an NLRB hearing, union officials and STAT settled the cases.
UAW Local 708 officials will refund all forced union dues or fees seized from any STAT employee without their authorization since December 27, 2017, an amount that totals more than $26,000. Additionally, STAT will post notices informing employees that the company will not provide unlawful support to UAW Local 708 by deducting union dues without an employee’s authorization. Union officials will also post notices stating that UAW Local 708 will not accept any union dues deducted without an employee’s authorization.
In addition to the now-settled NLRB charges, Foundation staff attorneys helped Korinek and McCarty file a federal class action complaint challenging the seizure of forced union dues as a violation of Michigan’s Right to Work law. That case is still ongoing.
“These workers bravely challenged egregious attempts to satiate union bosses’ greed with a cut of their hard-earned paychecks,” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Despite the many existing protections, including Michigan’s Right to Work law, Michigan union bosses will disrespect the rights of the workers they claim to ‘represent’ to keep Big Labor’s forced-dues coffers full. Independent-minded workers must keep fighting against coercion, and Foundation staff attorneys will continue to provide free legal assistance to any employee facing compulsory unionism’s abuses.”
Since Right to Work legislation was signed into state law in December 2012, Foundation staff attorneys have litigated more than 100 cases in Michigan combating compulsory unionism.
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.