The following article is from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation’s bi-monthly Foundation Action Newsletter, November/December 2019 edition. To view other editions or to sign up for a free subscription, click here.
Strike order comes during growing UAW boss corruption and embezzlement investigation
With free aid from the Foundation, Ford employee Lloyd Stoner won a unanimous ruling from the NLRB which ordered UAW bosses to refund illegally seized dues.
DETROIT, MI – In September, United Auto Workers (UAW) union bosses ordered tens of thousands of General Motors workers on strike. The strike came as federal prosecutors were intensifying their investigation into embezzlement and corruption within the UAW hierarchy. Just days before the strike, the probe had reached the top levels of the UAW when FBI agents raided the homes of the union’s current president and his predecessor.
Amid the scandal and union boss-instigated strike, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys were assisting several Michigan workers in legal challenges to the coercive practices of UAW officials. Additionally, Foundation Legal Information staff publicized a “special legal notice” directed at workers affected by the strike to ensure they knew their legal rights despite persistent union misinformation and threats.
GM Worker Stands Up to UAW Discrimination
Joseph Small, a stamping metal repair worker at a Lansing, Michigan, GM plant, filed a federal charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) right before the strike unfolded with free aid from Foundation staff attorneys. Small, who is not a UAW member and is not required to pay fees to the union because of Michigan’s Right to Work Law, asserted in his charge that UAW officials “heavily involved [themselves] in the interview process” for a promotion for which he was being considered.
Small was passed over for the position, which went to a union member. Small’s charge notes that a union representative later “stated that [Small] did not get the position because [he] was not paying union dues,” a clear violation of federal labor law.
According to the National Labor Relations Act, workers have the right to refrain from union activities and neither union officials nor management can discriminate against employees based on their union membership status.
Ford Worker Wins Unanimous NLRB Ruling
Ford Motor Company worker Lloyd Stoner, who works at the company’s facility in Dearborn, Michigan, won a second victory in defense of his rights this August with free legal aid from the Foundation.
Stoner, who had originally charged UAW officials and Ford with illegally seizing dues from his paycheck despite his previously resigning his union membership and revoking his dues deduction authorization, received a unanimous ruling from a three-member panel of the NLRB in Washington, D.C. The labor board directed UAW officials to make Stoner whole for the dues they illegally took.
The NLRB also ordered UAW officials to immediately honor any other employees’ membership resignations. Stoner had earlier won a favorable settlement from Ford for its role in blocking him from exercising his rights.
“UAW union officials continue to show a willingness to break the law, even violating the rights of the very workers they claim to represent,” observed National Right to Work Foundation Vice President Patrick Semmens. “Whether it be federal corruption prosecutions or unfair labor practice charges at the NLRB, UAW bosses must be held accountable when they break the law.”