Labor Board charge: Despite Right to Work law, UFCW is illegally attempting to force Rite Aid employee to pay union dues
Grand Rapids, Michigan (October 1, 2018) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys a Michigan pharmacy worker has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 951 union for illegally forcing her to pay union dues.
Worker Kolby Klopfenstein-Snyder exercised her right to resign her membership from Local 951. However, as her charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) states, UFCW union officials have rebuffed her attempts to stop payments of union dues. The same charge was filed with the NLRB against Rite Aid, for continuing to collect union dues at the behest of UFCW officials.
Michigan’s Right to Work law makes it illegal to require union membership or payment of any union dues or fees as a condition for employment, thus permitting employees to choose for themselves whether to join or financially support a labor union. Despite the law, UFCW union bosses continue to insist that Klopfenstein-Snyder pay dues even after she resigned her membership.
The union dues deduction card UFCW officials are attempting to enforce only obligates a worker to pay as a result of union forced dues clause in a union monopoly bargaining contract or as a result of the UFCW’s internal union constitution. This means that even if the card’s language was legal, it doesn’t obligate nonmembers like Klopfenstein-Snyder to pay any dues, because Michigan’s Right to Work law bars contracts that include mandatory payments, and nonmembers are not subject to the terms of a union constitution.
This NLRB charge is not the first time that Local 951 officials have run afoul of protections for workers who choose not to join or support the union. Foundation staff attorneys assisted Rite Aid pharmacy technician Laura Fries with filing NLRB charges against UFCW Local 951 in November 2015.
According to her charge, which NLRB investigators found meritorious, Local 951 union officials threatened to have Fries fired unless she joined Local 951 and paid back union dues. Only after the NLRB issued a formal complaint against the union did UFCW officials quickly settle the case in April 2016 to avoid federal prosecution.
“Once again, rather than work to secure the voluntary support of the workers they claim to represent, UFCW union bosses have resorted to coercive tactics to attempt to stuff their pockets with forced union dues,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “As the dozens of cases Foundation staff attorneys have filed for Michigan workers demonstrate, Michigan union bosses continue to attempt to systematically undermine workers’ protections under Michigan’s popular Right to Work laws.”
“Fortunately for Michigan employees, the National Right to Work Foundation will continue defending their rights as long as union bosses continue attempting to illegally force them to pay union dues,” added Mix.
Since Michigan’s Right to Work protections were passed in late 2012, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have filed more than 100 cases for hundreds of Michigan workers to enforce their legal rights.
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.