Worker Advocate: Union officials should stop violating the rights of employees by arbitrarily blocking requests to stop dues payments
Oshkosh, WI (February 21, 2018) – On Wednesday, February 14, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against United Steelworkers (USW) Local 2-482 for violating a manufacturing plant employee’s rights by imposing an arbitrary “window period” to block him from ending his forced dues payments.
Since 2015, Wisconsin’s Right to Work protections make union membership and financial support strictly voluntary. However, union officials have blocked workers repeatedly from exercising their rights under the law. Donald Dillabough, a manufacturing plant employee at Clear Water Paper, Inc., found this out recently when he attempted to exercise his right to end payments to USW union officials.
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 the letters were not submitted during a union-created “window period.” To this day, Dillabough remains forced to pay money to union officials because they refuse to honor his revocation request.
Dillabough turned to the National Right to Work Foundation for help with challenging the policy. Dillabough’s Foundation-provided staff attorney filed an unfair labor practice charge with NLRB Region 18 challenging the “window period” as a violation of his rights. The Region will now investigate the charge.
Unfortunately for workers, union officials frequently attempt to enforce arbitrary time restraints on when employees can or cannot exercise their right to end automatic forced dues deductions from their paychecks. Various courts have struck down these policies, but union officials continue to try and prevent rank and file workers from exercising their rights, especially in states with Right to Work protections for employees.
“Even in states like Wisconsin where union dues payments are by law supposed to be completely voluntary, union bosses frequently play fast and loose with employees’ rights to 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 simply protects an employee’s right to choose for him or herself whether to join and financially support a union. Numerous court decisions have made clear that that freedom of choice cannot be limited to one week a year and the NLRB should prosecute USW bosses for this flagrant violation of the rights of a worker they claim to ‘represent.’”
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 around 250 cases nationwide per year.