Settlement requires union to refund illegally-confiscated dues
Ofallon, IL (May 4, 2016) – With free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a local bus driver has obtained a settlement from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788 that ensures she will no longer be forced to pay full union dues to keep her job. Under the terms of the settlement, Jennifer Handyside will also receive a refund of union fees wrongfully deducted from her paychecks in 2015 and 2016.
Handyside resigned from the union and opted to reduce her dues payments in March 2015. Despite her resignation and objection, Local 788 continued to charge Handyside fees that included amounts not lawfully chargeable to objecting nonmembers and even resumed collecting full dues in December 2015.
Because Illinois lacks a Right to Work law, nonunion employees like Handyside can be required to pay part of union dues as a condition of employment. However, nonunion workers cannot be required to pay for anything unrelated to workplace bargaining, such as union politics.
Foundation attorneys filed Handyside’s charges against Local 788 in January 2016. Handyside has now obtained a settlement that requires Local 788 to refund the wrongfully-confiscated union fees. Under the terms of the agreement, union officials are also required to post a public notice at the local bus drivers’ office informing all employees of their right to refrain from union membership and the payment of full union dues.
“Although we are happy to report that Jennifer Handyside is receiving a refund from Local 788 union officials, it shouldn’t take legal action to force union bosses to respect the rights of the very workers they claim to represent,” said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Nonunion employees shouldn’t be required to pay any dues at all to a union they don’t belong to or support, which is why Illinois employees need Right to Work protections. Union dues should be strictly voluntary, and not paid simply because union officials would have a worker fired if they refused.”