According to news reports, Operating Engineers Local 324 union officials have ordered Rieth-Riley Construction Company employees to strike in Michigan.

The situation raises serious concerns for employees who believe there is much to lose from a union-ordered strike, which is why workers frequently contact the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation to learn how they can avoid fines and other vicious union discipline for continuing to work during a strike to support themselves and their families.

Employees have the right to rebuff union strike demands under federal labor law, but it is important you read the following before you do so and continue to work during a strike.

You should learn about your rights from independent sources. You should not rely on what self-interested union officials tell you. For five decades, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has worked in the courts to protect and expand the rights of individual employees in such situations. It is the nation’s premier organization exclusively dedicated to providing free legal assistance to employee victims of forced unionism abuse.

Rieth-Riley Construction employees should know they have the following rights:

  1. You have the right to resign your membership in the union. If you don’t support this union, you can send the union a letter resigning your membership.

  2. You have the right to go to work even if union bosses order a strike. Union officials can and often do fine union members who work during a strike but cannot legally fine workers who are not members when they go to work. So, you should seriously consider resigning BEFORE you return to work during a strike. That is the only way to avoid potential union fines and other discipline. See Union Discipline and Employee Rights.

  3. You also have the right to revoke your dues check-off and stop allowing the union hierarchy to collect money from your paycheck every week. When there is no collective bargaining agreement in effect, you can send letters to the union and your employer revoking your authorization to have union dues deducted from your paycheck.

    A sample letter for employees who wish to resign their union membership and revoke their dues check-off is here (click here for a pdf version). NOTE: If possible, use certified mail, return receipt requested when you send any letters to the union, and save copies of your letters and return receipts to prove delivery. If you hand deliver a resignation and/or dues deduction revocation, make sure that you have a reliable witness to the delivery. It is not uncommon for union officials to pretend they did not actually receive resignations and initiate discipline proceedings against non-striking workers anyway.

  4. If you wish to eject an unaccountable union hierarchy from your workplace, you have the right to circulate and/or sign a decertification petition to obtain a secret ballot election to do so. See Decertification Election.

Go to About Your Legal Rights: Private Sector Employee to learn more about your rights.