USW union officials violated federal law by threatening seniority and overtime when Petersburg worker moved to resign her union membership
Petersburg, West Virginia (January 8, 2019) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, a West Virginia worker has won a settlement against the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1017 after she filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the union with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Tammy Hedrick, an employee of Adell Polymers in Petersburg, West Virginia, originally brought the federal charge against the union after she was threatened with the stripping of her seniority at the behest of union officials, a violation of federal law.
When West Virginia passed its Right to Work law in 2016, Hedrick attempted to exercise her right to resign her union membership and cut off dues payments, as had been explained to her by her employer. Her contract, however, was grandfathered in, as it had been enacted before the passing of the law. In retaliation, union officials sought to strip Hedrick of her seniority and overtime pay.
The settlement agreement requires union officials to end attempts to demote Hedrick or any other employees, or otherwise punish employees, for exercising their legally protected rights. Union officials are also required by the settlement to post notices informing all of Adell Polymer’s employees of their legal rights and the end of union officials’ efforts to remove Hedrick’s seniority.
In addition to Hendrick’s settlement, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys are fighting to defend West Virginia’s Right to Work law in state court. Foundation staff attorneys have filed amicus briefs in West Virginia AFL-CIO, et al. v. Governor James C. Justice, et al., urging the Kanawha County Circuit Court and the West Virginia Supreme Court to uphold the state’s Right to Work protections.
“Tammy Hedrick has halted these illegal threats by union bosses against her for seeking to exercise her rights as protected by federal law,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “The outcome of this case should serve as a reminder to all Mountain State workers that under federal law they have the right to refrain from union membership, and that union officials cannot legally retaliate against workers who choose to exercise these protected rights.”
“Any worker who needs assistance in exercising these rights, or who like Tammy Hedrick is threatened for doing so, should know they can always turn to the National Right to Work Foundation for free legal assistance,” continued Mix.
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.