East Hartford, Conn. (December 16, 2002) – With the help of National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys, mechanic Paul Longo filed federal charges last week against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) union for socking him with a confiscatory fine simply for honoring his commitments to his employer during a union-ordered strike at Pratt and Whitney’s East Hartford plant.
The charges filed by Longo ask the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to prosecute IAM Local 1746 for refusing to recognize Longo’s resignation and for fining him $1,800 for working during the strike.
“IAM union officials have tried to make an example of Paul Longo so that all employees think twice before defying union edicts,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This sort of intimidation shows union bosses viciously trample workers’ rights in order to preserve their own power.”
During a strike at the Pratt and Whitney plant in December 2001, Longo decided to resign his IAM union membership in order to continue working. Upon officially notifying the union of his resignation, Longo returned to his job the following day. The NLRB recognizes an employee as having officially resigned a day after the union has been notified.
Yet, in August 2002, Longo learned that the union had ignored his resignation and imposed a steep fine for violating the IAM union by-laws concerning strike rules that apply only to members. The fine prompted Longo to contact Foundation attorneys who assisted him in filing charges with the NLRB.
The federal charges state that attempting to impose a fine violated his rights under the 1972 U.S. Supreme Court case NLRB v. Textile Workers, which specifically forbade such action by union officials.
“The arrogance of the IAM union brass is appalling,” said Gleason. “Union officials simply do not have the right to fine workers who are not formal union members.”
During strikes, workers that choose to continue working often become the targets of retaliatory fines, lawsuits, and even violence. These types of harassment and terror are meant to keep rank-and-file union members in line with the mandates of the union hierarchy.
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.