Illegal Forced Dues and Money for Politics 

News Release

SEIU Officials, Santa Clara County Face Class-Action Lawsuit for Violating Employees' Rights

Relying on landmark Knox Supreme Court decision, county employees seek to end automatic dues deduction for union politics

San Jose, CA (December 3, 2014) – Two Santa Clara Valley Medical Center employees have filed a federal class-action lawsuit against a local union and the county that seeks to expand public employees' right to refrain from paying union dues used for union politics.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation-provided staff attorneys, San Jose-area county employees Jeffrey Lum and Andrew Li filed the lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California's San Jose Division.

Lum and Li are not formal union members in the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 521. Because California does not have a Right to Work law, workers can be required to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. However, nonmember workers have the right to refrain from paying for union boss politics and many other activities not related to bargaining with their employer.

Although Lum and Li are not union members, SEIU and county officials continue to deduct an amount equal to full union dues from their paychecks as if they were. Up to 14 months after taking full dues and fees from their paychecks, SEIU officials refund the illegally-seized portion of union dues, without interest. In the meantime, SEIU officials can illegally use the money on politics.

For example, SEIU Local 521 officials did not refund to Lum and Li the portion of dues illegally seized from their paychecks during 2013 until March 2014. The workers argue that this amounts to an unconstitutional interest-free loan to bankroll union boss politics.

This lawsuit also challenges existing lower federal court case law that requires nonmember public employees to pay an amount equal to full union dues -- including the part used for union politics – unless they affirmatively object. Workers who object also must renew their objections annually.

In its 2012 Foundation-won Knox v. SEIU ruling, in a case that originated in California, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an affirmative objection requirement for special assessments. The Court there indicated that it was ready to reassess whether union bosses' forced dues powers, which it called "something of an anomaly," include the power to use in any circumstances "an opt-out system for the collection of fees levied to cover nonchargeable expenses." Responding to that suggestion, the employees seek to expand Knox to apply to all instances when public employees refrain from union membership.

"Union bosses have government-granted power to compel workers to fund their political activities unless workers object -- a power granted to no other private organization in our country," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "The First Amendment right for workers who refrain from union membership to automatically not pay union dues for politics is long overdue."

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, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

New York Childcare Providers File Federal Lawsuit Challenging Forced Unionization Scheme

Childcare providers fight dictate to push childcare business owners into forced dues union ranks

Syracuse, NY (December 2, 2014) – A group of New York home-based childcare providers have filed a federal lawsuit challenging a 2007 executive order that greased the skids for the forced unionization of the state's home-based childcare providers. The providers seek a refund of illegally-seized union dues.

Mary Jarvis and nine other providers filed the suit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

Jarvis and the other providers challenge AFSCME-affiliated Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) union officials' monopoly political representation over thousands of providers in the state outside New York City who operate home-based childcare businesses.

The forced unionization scheme started under a 2007 executive order signed by disgraced former Governor Eliot Spitzer. The scheme was later codified in October 2010.

Home-based childcare and personal care providers, with Foundation attorneys' assistance, have challenged similar forced-unionization-by-government-fiat schemes in several states across the country, including Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Michigan. On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in Harris v. Quinn striking down the Illinois scheme, ruling that individuals who receive state subsidies based on their clientele cannot be forced to pay compulsory union fees. The next day, the Court cleared the path for 50,000 home childcare providers in Michigan to receive a refund of union dues illegally taken during Michigan's now-defunct unionization scheme.

Under the New York scheme, CSEA Local 100A union officials are empowered to confiscate forced dues and fees from over 7,200 childcare providers across the state for this forced "exclusive representation." The providers in this case also seek a refund of dues illegally seized by CSEA union officials over the past two years.

Foundation attorneys argue that such schemes violate the providers' First Amendment right to choose with whom they associate to petition the government. The government does not have the constitutional authority to force citizens to accept government's handpicked political representative to lobby itself.

"Citizens have the power to select their political representation in government, not the other way around," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This scheme, which forces small business owners, and even grandma taking care of her grandchildren, into union political association is a slap in the face of fundamental American principles we hold dear."

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, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Teamster Union Faces Another Federal Charge for Violating a Disney Company Driver's Rights

Teamster union officials showing pattern of workers' rights abuses

Lake Buena Vista, FL (November 17, 2014) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a Walt Disney Company driver has filed a federal charge against a local Teamsters union.

Winter Garden resident Anthony Pirrelli filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Teamsters Local 385 for ignoring his right to refrain from paying union dues. Under Florida's popular Right to Work law, no worker can be required to join or pay fees to a union as a condition of employment.

In August, Pirrelli attempted to resign union membership and revoke his union dues deduction authorization – a document used by union officials to automatically collect dues from workers' paychecks. Despite Pirrelli's efforts, Teamsters Local 385 union officials have refused to stop collecting union dues from his paychecks or provide him a copy of his union dues deduction authorization.

Two other Walt Disney workers earlier filed federal charges against Teamsters Local 385 for ignoring their right to refrain from union membership and union dues payments.

"Teamster union bosses are refusing to honor workers' legally-protected right to cut off union dues," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Much to Teamsters union bosses' chagrin, federal and state statutory protections for workers still apply in the so-called Magic Kingdom."

The charge will be investigated by the NLRB regional office in Tampa.

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, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Local Grocery Union Faces Federal Charges for Retaliatory Forced Dues Confiscations

Case underscores need for Right to Work protections for workers

Burlington, WA (November 12, 2014) – A local Fred Meyer grocery store worker has filed a federal charge against the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 21 union for refusing to follow federal disclosure requirements and confiscating more than the legally-permitted amount of forced union fees from her paychecks.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Deborah Kohut of Mount Vernon filed the federal unfair labor practice charge Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Because Washington does not have Right to Work protections for workers, workers can be required to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. However, under Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court precedent, nonmember workers can refrain from paying for politics and many other union activities.

Under federal labor case law, union officials must also provide workers with an independently-audited financial breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures. This procedural safeguard helps inform workers of how their forced union dues are being spent and makes it less difficult for workers to hold union officials accountable.

Because UFCW union officials failed to provide a breakdown of expenditures that complied with federal disclosure requirements, Kohut, who was recently hired at a Fred Meyer store in Burlington, refused to sign a union dues deduction authorization – a document used by union officials to automatically collect dues from workers' paychecks. In response, UFCW union officials have levied an additional fee on top of Kohut's forced dues payments.

UFCW union officials also threatened her with job termination to force her to pay the full union member initiation fee, even though nonmember workers can pay a reduced initiation fee.

"UFCW union officials are retaliating against this worker for simply exercising her right to refrain from full union dues payments," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores the need for Washington to pass Right to Work protections for its workers."

Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for workers. Recent public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the Right to Work principle of voluntary unionism.

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, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

L.A. School Employees File Class-Action Lawsuit against Local SEIU for Rights Violations

Union officials stonewall workers' attempts to refrain from union membership and full dues payments

Los Angeles, CA (October 22, 2014) – A group of Los Angeles Unified School District workers have filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99 for violating their rights.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation-provided staff attorneys, Los Angeles school district building and grounds keeper Douglas Kennedy; bus drivers Eduardo Berumen and Griselda Moran; and cafeteria worker Magi Shanagian filed the lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

In the complaint, the school employees detail how SEIU Local 99 union officials denied their several requests, in one case dating back to October 12, 2012, to refrain from full dues paying union membership.

Because California does not have Right to Work protections for workers, workers can be forced to pay union dues and fees to an unwanted union as a condition of employment. However, under Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court precedent, workers who refrain from union membership can also refrain from paying for union politics and members-only events.

Despite the workers' requests to refrain from union membership and full union dues payments, the Los Angeles Unified School District continues to confiscate full union dues from the workers' paychecks at SEIU Local 99 officials' behest. The workers are also challenging SEIU Local 99's agreement provision with the school district that illegally restricts workers' ability to resign union membership and dues payments to a period of 30 days over the life of an agreement, which is often for a period of three years.

"SEIU officials are stonewalling workers' attempts to refrain from paying for the union bosses' radical political agenda," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores the need for California to pass a Right to Work law making union membership and dues payments strictly voluntary."

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, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Disney Company Driver Files Federal Charge Against Teamsters Union Officials for Ignoring His Rights

Workers' rights do not magically disappear in "The Most Magical Place on Earth"

Lake Buena Vista, FL (October 20, 2014) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a Walt Disney Company driver has filed federal charges against a local Teamsters union and the company for violating his rights.

Lakeland resident Mike Silva filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Teamsters Local 385 and Walt Disney for ignoring his right to refrain from paying union dues. Under Florida's popular Right to Work law, no worker can be required to join or pay fees to a union as a condition of employment.

Silva, who refrains from union membership, sent two letters to Teamsters Local 385 union officials in August requesting a copy of his dues deduction authorization – a document used by union officials to automatically collect dues from workers' paychecks. The union officials ignored both letters. Then on September 10, Silva sent Local 385 officials a letter revoking his dues deduction authorization. This letter also got no response.

On September 30, Silva attempted to deliver a copy of the revocation letter to Walt Disney's Human Resources Department. A Human Resources representative told Silva he could not deliver his letter in person and indicated that she would probably throw away the letter if she received it.

Despite Silva's repeated efforts to exercise his right to refrain from union dues payments, Walt Disney continues to confiscate full union dues from his paychecks at Teamsters Local 385 union officials' behest.

Last month, another Walt Disney worker filed a federal charge against Teamsters Local 385 for ignoring his right to refrain from paying union dues.

"Teamster union bosses are refusing to honor workers' legally-protected right to cut off union dues," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "To Teamsters union bosses’ chagrin, federal and state statutory protections for workers still apply in the so-called Magic Kingdom."

The charge will be investigated by the NLRB regional office in Tampa.

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, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Hospital Employees File Second Round of Federal Charges against IUOE Officials for Refusing to Provide Financial Disclosure

Union officials failed to provide nonunion workers with necessary information about the calculation of forced union fees

Springfield, OR (October 14, 2014) – With the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, several PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center employee have filed another round of federal charges against International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 701 for failing to provide adequate financial disclosure about the amount of union dues they are forced to pay as a condition of employment.

In January 2014, Rick Wirtz, John Bykerk, and several other Sacred Heart employees sent letters to the union affirming their nonmember status and objecting to the payment of full union dues. Because Oregon lacks a Right to Work law, nonunion employees can be required to pay union fees for workplace bargaining, but they cannot be forced to contribute to activities unrelated to that purpose, such as union political spending, lobbying and members-only events.

Union officials belatedly responded to the employees’ letters in August 2014. Although they offered to reduce the workers’ dues by 13%, IUOE officials included no information about how they arrived at that figure. Under federal labor law, unions are obligated to provide an independently-audited breakdown of their financial expenditures to help nonunion employees determine what dues they are required to pay and to decide whether to challenge the calculation.

According to union officials, Sacred Heart employees could only obtain a financial breakdown if they made an appointment at the union’s office, which is a two hour drive from their homes.

After the first round of unfair labor practice charges were filed in September 2014, union officials finally sent the objecting employees an audit of the local’s expenditures. However, they provided no information about the expenditures of the union’s national affiliates. Moreover, the audit revealed that nonunion employees were being charged for “death benefits,” which are only available to full union members.

The charges will now be investigated by the National Labor Relations Board, a federal agency responsible for administering private sector labor law.

“When Mr. Wirtz and his co-workers asked for information they’re entitled to under federal law, union officials responded with obstruction, obfuscation, and delay,” said Patrick Semmens, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Clearly, the union’s top priority is extracting as much money as possible from nonunion employees.”

“We hope the NLRB will promptly intervene to protect Sacred Heart employees’ workplace rights,” continued Semmens. “However, this type of abuse will persist until Oregon adopts a Right to Work law, which would make union membership and dues payments strictly voluntary.”

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, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Obama Labor Board Issues Ruling to Keep Workers in the Dark after Sitting on Case for Over Six Years

Obama NLRB once again ignores federal court precedent to benefit union bosses

Washington, DC (September 24, 2014) – After sitting on a case for more than six years, President Obama's National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) faces federal court scrutiny once again after it issued a ruling that denies long-held federal protections for workers and allows union bosses to keep workers in the dark about their rights.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a former Crawfordsville, Indiana Kroger worker on September 22 asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the NLRB's decision in her case.

In December 2004, Kroger hired Laura Sands. The next month, United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union Local 700 officials sent Sands a membership application that failed to inform her of the percentage free reduction she would receive if she did not join the union and objected to paying for union activities unrelated to workplace bargaining.

In the Foundation-won Communications Workers v. Beck case, the U.S. Supreme Court held that workers have the right to refrain from paying for union political and members-only activities. Under federal labor case law, union officials must also provide workers with an independently-audited financial breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures before they exercise their rights to refrain from union membership. This procedural safeguard helps inform workers of how their forced union dues are being spent and enables them to decide intelligently whether to refrain from membership and object to paying full dues.

After Sands challenged the UFCW Local 700 union officials' policy of keeping workers in the dark about their rights, her case was appealed in 2008 to the NLRB in Washington, DC. The NLRB then failed to issue a ruling in the case for more than six years.

Sands filed a petition at the DC Court of Appeals asking the court to force the NLRB to act. The court ordered the NLRB to file a brief and even scheduled oral argument on the petition. However, before the argument could be held, the NLRB issued a ruling rubberstamping the UFCW's illegal policy.

The Board's ruling flies in the face of longstanding precedent set by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. The Board's ruling also comes on the heels of a federal court ruling in Pittsburgh in which the judge stated in his decision that the agency's conduct in that case "arguably moves the NLRB from its investigatory function and enforcer of labor law, to serving as the litigation arm of the Union, and a co-participant in the ongoing organization effort of the Union."

"Once again the Obama Labor Board has trampled on workers' rights to bolster union bosses' forced dues powers," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "The Obama NLRB is flaunting long-held court precedent to further expand its legacy as a taxpayer-funded arm for union compulsion."

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, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Grocery Union Bosses Face Federal Charge for Violating Kroger Workers' Rights, Ignoring Right to Work Protections

UFCW bosses stonewall Fort Wayne grocery workers' attempts to cut off forced dues confiscations

Fort Wayne, IN (September 24, 2014) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, two Fort Wayne Kroger workers filed a federal charge Monday against a local grocery union for violating their rights.

Eleanor Haynes and Barbara Peter filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union Local 700 for ignoring their right to refrain from paying union dues.

Haynes and Peter resigned from the union and revoked their dues deduction authorizations -- a document used by union officials to automatically collect dues from workers' paychecks -- effective with the expiration of the union's contract with their employer. Under federal labor law, workers can unconditionally revoke their dues deduction authorizations when a contract between the union and their employer terminates.

Under Indiana's popular Right to Work law, no worker can be required to join or pay any money to a union.

Despite the workers' efforts to exercise their rights, UFCW Local 700 union officials continue to confiscate union dues payments from their paychecks.

"These two Kroger workers followed all necessary procedures to exercise their legally-protected right to resign their union membership and cut off union dues," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores just how important Indiana's Right to Work law is for workers who want nothing to do with scofflaw union bosses."

The charge will be investigated by the NLRB regional office in Indianapolis.

Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for private-sector workers. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the Right to Work principle of voluntary unionism.

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, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Disney World Worker Files Federal Charge Against Teamsters Union Officials for Ignoring His Rights

Workers' rights do not magically disappear in "The Most Magical Place on Earth"

Lake Buena Vista, FL (September 16, 2014) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a Walt Disney World worker filed a federal charge Monday against a local union for violating his rights.

Winter Garden resident Hector Santana-Quintana filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Teamsters Local 385 for ignoring his right to refrain from paying union dues.

On June 1, 2014, Santana-Quintana resigned from the union and revoked his dues deduction authorization – a document used by union officials to automatically collect dues from workers' paychecks – while the union did not have a contract at his workplace.

Under Florida's popular Right to Work law, no worker can be required to join or pay any money to a union. Under federal labor law, workers can unconditionally revoke their dues deduction authorizations once a contract between the union and their employer terminates.

Despite Santana-Quintana's efforts to exercise his rights, Teamster Local 385 union officials continue to confiscate full union dues payments from his paychecks.

"Teamster union bosses are refusing to honor this worker's legally-protected right to resign his union membership and cut off union dues," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "To Teamster union bosses' chagrin, federal and state statutory protections for workers still apply in the so-called 'Magic Kingdom'."

The charge will be investigated by the NLRB regional office in Tampa.

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, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

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