Richland, WA (November 17, 2005) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys, a local home health agency nurse filed federal charges against the United Staff Nurses Union (USNU) after union officials illegally threatened to have her fired. The nurse had been asserting her right to remain free from formal union membership and her right to not pay for union political activities.
Christy Landrum, a nurse employed by Tri-Cities Home Health, filed federal unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). A letter dated October 20, 2005 from USNU officials unlawfully threatened Landrum that the only way for her to avoid being fired was to complete and return a union membership form.
Foundation attorneys allege that USNU officials deliberately misinformed Landrum of her right to refrain from formal union membership and thereby pay less than full union dues. They also failed to inform her of her right to object to paying for union political and other non-bargaining activities, failed to provide sufficient financial information (as required by U.S. Supreme Court rulings) regarding the union’s expenditures, and failed to apprise her of any internal union procedures for filing objections to the union’s calculations.
“Union officials shamelessly threatened this nurse’s job to stifle dissent,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “These heavy-handed tactics demonstrate how far union officials will go to keep a steady stream of forced union dues flowing into union coffers.”
USNU officials’ threats violate worker rights precedents recognized under the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck and subsequent NLRB rulings, union officials must specifically inform employees of their right to refrain from formal union membership and pay only those proven costs directly related to collective bargaining.
“No one should be forced to pay dues to an unwanted union just to get or keep their job,” stated Gleason. “This is especially true when union officials abuse that government-granted special privilege.”
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.