Grocery union officials violate the rights of nonmember nurses with “opt-out” scheme of the kind that was held unconstitutional by U.S. Supreme Court
Seattle, WA (December 18, 2018) – A labor union best known for representing grocery butchers is facing federal charges from a Bellingham, Washington nurse who says United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union bosses are butchering her legal rights.
Nurse Diana Miller, who works at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett in Washington State, filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relation Board (NLRB) with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys. Miller lives in Bellingham and works in Everett, both of which are located outside of Seattle, Washington, where the charge was filed.
Miller’s charge says UFCW Local 21 union officials violated her rights by unlawfully requiring that she “opt out” of paying full union dues instead of asking her to opt in.
In the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME case – argued and won by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys earlier this year – the court ruled that union schemes that require workers who are nonmembers to opt out of dues payments violates the First Amendment. Miller’s charge states that UFCW union officials are violating her rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NRLA) by imposing an opt-out requirement.
In addition, UFCW union officials failed to adequately inform Miller of her rights to pay less than full dues as a nonmember, unlawfully added “reinstatement” penalties on top of illegally demanded full union dues, and refused to provide any audited financial disclosure about the union’s political and other non-bargaining activities.
Repeatedly over the course of six months, Miller informed union officials that she was not a union member and wished to exercise her legal right not to pay full union membership dues. However, union officials continued sending Miller threatening bills and demanding that she pay full membership dues.
Miller charged the union with violating her rights under the NLRA by compelling her into participating in union activity, despite her legal right to choose to refrain from doing so.
“There is simply no legal justification for requiring workers to opt out twice: first from union membership and then again from subsidizing union spending on politics and lobbying,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The NLRB should promptly prosecute union officials who use such schemes to compel nonmember workers to pay full dues in violation of clearly established legal rights.”
“Nurses like Diana and other medical professionals should be allowed to do their jobs, caring for sick and injured patients, free from coercive tactics by union bosses,” continued Mix. “This case shows why Washington State workers need the protection of a Right to Work law to stop these legal games and ensure all union payments are strictly voluntary.”
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 about 200 cases nationwide per year.