Janesville, Wis. (March 9, 2001) — Responding to charges filed by National Right to Work Foundation attorneys, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has found that local Teamsters union officials violated the rights of Janesville Products employees by threatening to have them fired, and in one case even arrested, for trying to reclaim illegally seized forced union dues.
A full refund of the illegally seized money from approximately 75 workers could exceed $10,000.
The Regional Director of the NLRB based in Milwaukee issued a formal complaint in response to unfair labor practice charges filed last December on behalf of 14 employees against Teamsters union Local 579. Foundation attorneys filed the charges after union officials demanded that the employees pay almost full union dues without any authorization to collect forced dues under the collective bargaining agreement.
“Teamsters officials must now answer for their systematic shakedown of these employees,” said Foundation Director of Legal Information Randy Wanke. “They weren’t legally entitled to dock these employees’ wages, but they did it anyway.”
The employees filed earlier charges against union officials last October for using a portion of their forced dues for politics. Upon further investigation into that case, Foundation attorneys discovered that the collective bargaining agreement at Janesville Products did not authorize any forced union dues at all from certain employees. Under the agreement, employees who were not members of the union when the agreement went into effect on July 1, 2000, were “grandfathered” out of the forced unionism provision.
Despite that clear provision, Teamsters union Local 579 officials demanded that the non-members pay union dues or forfeit their jobs. The NLRB’s complaint states that a union official even went as far as threatening one of the employees with a “police complaint and possible arrest” for demanding that the union stop seizing forced dues from his paycheck.
The NLRB has given Teamsters union Local 579 officials until March 20 to respond to the complaint. Foundation attorneys intend to ensure that any resolution results in full protection for all qualifying employees at the plant, including full rebates of all dues illegally seized.
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.