Union officials’ arbitrary rule forces workers to wait 13-months to cut off dues payments and exercise rights under Wisconsin Right to Work law
Washington, D.C. (June 12, 2018) – An employee of a Wisconsin paper mill has filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel with free legal aid by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys. The filing asks the NLRB’s top prosecutor to review a decision by an NLRB regional office, which declined to bring charges against a local union whose policy makes workers wait up to 13 months before they can revoke their dues authorization and exercise their rights under Wisconsin’s popular Right to Work law.
Since 2015, Wisconsin’s Right to Work protections make union membership and financial support strictly voluntary. However, union officials blocked workers from exercising their rights under the law. Donald Dillabough, an employee at Clearwater Paper Corporation, found this out when he attempted to exercise his right to end payments to the United Steelworkers (USW).
In December 2017, Dillabough emailed the USW resigning from the union and revoking his authorization for the union to collect dues payments from his paychecks. Despite his revocation, USW union officials denied his request to end payments by claiming his request was not submitted during a union-created “window period.” The union had established an arbitrary 13-month waiting period in between windows in which employees can withdraw their membership.
In February, represented by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Mr. Dillabough filed an unfair labor practice charge against the union contending that the 13-month window period rule violates his rights under the National Labor Relations Act. However, the regional office declined to issue a complaint against the union. Now, Mr. Dillabough has appealed to the NLRB’s General Counsel, Peter Robb, who can overturn the decision not to prosecute the USW local for the union’s policy.
“Even in states like Wisconsin, where union dues payments are by law supposed to be completely voluntary, union bosses frequently employ window period schemes in an attempt to trap workers into paying forced dues against their will,” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Wisconsin’s Right to Work law protects an employee’s right to choose whether or not to join and financially support a union. In their zeal to seize forced dues for as long as possible, USW union officials have violated longstanding Labor Board precedent, and the General Counsel should defend Mr. Dillabough’s rights by initiating a prosecution against the USW for this illegal policy.”
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.