Union Corruption, Violence and Intimidation 

News Release

Shell Oil Refinery Worker Files Federal Charge in Wake of Steelworker Union Strike Intimidation

Union officials threatening workers who refused to abandon their jobs

Houston, TX (February 24, 2015) – As the highly-publicized United Steelworker (USW) union-instigated strike against oil refineries continues, a Shell Oil Company refinery worker has filed a federal charge against a local Steelworker union for intimidating workers for refusing to abandon their jobs.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Joseph Smith of Friendswood, Texas filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

At Smith's plant in Deer Park, roughly 150 of the approximately 800-large workforce have continued to work during the strike, with many resigning their membership in the USW Local 13-1 union, as is their right under federal labor law and Texas' popular Right to Work law. As the stream of workers resigning union membership and returning to work grows every day, it was reported that USW Local 13-1 union officials turned off their fax machine in an attempt to stop workers from exercising their right to resign and return to work.

Smith's unfair labor practice charge alleges that USW Local 13-1 union officials are resorting to harassing, coercing, and threatening workers for refusing to abandon their jobs. Further, USW Local 13-1 union officials have allowed the union's website and Facebook page to be used to communicate threats against workers who continue to work during the strike.

"USW union bosses are trying to punish workers who have the courage not to toe the union boss line and instead provide for their families," said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work. "It is indefensible that workers who resign their union membership and continue to work to support their families in defiance of the USW boss-ordered strike are now being harassed and threatened for exercising their rights."

In response to the high-profile strike, the National Right to Work Foundation recently issued a special legal notice to workers affected which lays out their rights under federal labor law: http://www.nrtw.org/en/special-legal-notice-usw-refinery-strike-02032015.

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

Teenage Grocery Clerk Wins Federal Case Against Grocery Union Officials Who Violated His Rights

Union officials illegally threatened to have him fired for not joining and paying full dues

San Diego, CA (February 24, 2015) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a teenage part-time Ralphs Grocery clerk has won a federal ruling against a local grocery union for violating his workplace rights.

The teenager filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 135 union after union officials provided him in July 2013, with a membership packet that illegally stated that new hires must join the union and pay full union dues as a condition of their employment.

The teenager eventually learned about his right to refrain from full dues paying union membership and made multiple inquiries about resigning his union membership and paying reduced dues with UFCW Local 135 officials. His multiple requests were denied, stonewalled, or ignored.

In August 2013, union officials again demanded the teenager join the union and pay full dues and initiation fees or get fired. Union officials also sent a letter demanding that he appear at the union hall if he wished to refrain from union membership. They also demanded his social security number in order to exercise his right not to join the union.

Because California does not have Right to Work protections making union affiliation completely voluntary, nonmember workers can be forced to pay part of union dues to keep their jobs. However, workers who refrain from union membership can refrain from paying dues used for union politics and members-only events.

A NLRB administrative law judge ruled that UFCW Local 135 union brass violated the teenager's rights by failing to follow federal disclosure requirements that allow workers to know what amounts they can be forced to pay as a condition of their employment, and explain the union's financial calculations.
The judge also ordered the union hierarchy to rescind its policy requiring new hires to appear in person at the union’s office in order to exercise their rights.

"It took 17 months for this worker to get a ruling holding UFCW union officials accountable for blatantly violating federal law to keep their forced dues gravy train going," 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 affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary."

Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for employees. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the 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

Kroger Workers Win Hundreds in Federal Settlement After Grocery Union Bosses Ignore Right to Work Protections

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

Fort Wayne, IN (February 2, 2015) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, two Fort Wayne Kroger workers have won a settlement after filing federal charges against a local union for ignoring their right to refrain from paying union dues.

In September 2014, Eleanor Haynes and Barbara Peter filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union Local 700.

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 continued to confiscate union dues payments from their paychecks.

Per the terms of the settlement, Kroger and Local 700 union officials will refund Haynes $197.21 and union officials will refund Peter $169.73 in illegally-seized union dues, plus interest. The union hierarchy must also post a notice in the workplace informing other workers of their right to refrain from dues-paying union membership.

"These two Kroger workers followed all necessary procedures to exercise their legally-protected right to resign their union membership and cut off union dues to no avail," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Local 700 union officials relented and acknowledged these workers' rights only after the workers filed federal charges."

"This case underscores just how important Indiana's Right to Work law is for workers who want nothing to do with scofflaw union bosses," added Mix.

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

Kaiser Permanente Nurse Files Federal Charge Against Union for Violating Disclosure Guidelines

Case underscores need for Right to Work protections to make union membership and dues payment strictly voluntary

Sacramento, CA (January 29, 2015) – A local Kaiser Permanente nurse has filed a federal charge against the California Nurses Association (CNA) union for violating her rights and failing to follow federal disclosure requirements.

With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento nurse Elizabeth Wilber filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

On November 16, 2014, Wilber sent a letter resigning her union membership in the CNA union. Her letter also objected to paying full dues.

Under federal labor law, workers have the right to refrain from formal union membership. However, because California does not have Right to Work protections for workers, nonmember workers can be forced to pay a part of union dues and fees or be fired from their job.

As a result of the Foundation's U.S. Supreme Court victory in Communications Workers v. Beck, employees can refrain from paying for politics and many other union activities. Union officials must also provide workers with an independently-audited financial breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures and the opportunity to challenge the amount of forced union fees before an impartial decision maker.

Despite Wilber's union resignation, the CNA union hierarchy has refused to follow the federal disclosure requirements outlined under Beck and its progeny.

"CNA union bosses are keeping this nurse in the dark about their forced-dues expenditures by skirting federal disclosure guidelines," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case demonstrates that California desperately needs a Right to Work law, which would make union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary."

Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for employees. 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

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

Worker Advocate Urges Labor Secretary: Apply Federal Disclosure Law to German Union and VW Works Council

Foreign union boss groups conspire to force workers into union ranks without complying with federal disclosure requirements

Washington, DC (November 17, 2014) – Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, is urging U.S. Labor Department Secretary Thomas Perez to apply federal labor disclosure law to German union and Volkswagen (VW) officials involved in an international push to unionize workers at VW's Chattanooga, Tennessee facility.

The Foundation – the nation's premier advocate on behalf of workers who suffer from the abuses of compulsory unionism – assisted several workers who were subjected to coercive card check unionization tactics and pressure from VW management during the United Auto Workers (UAW) union's multi-year campaign to unionize the workers. The Foundation also assisted some of those workers in filing a federal suit that challenged the company's assistance to UAW union officials during the unionization campaign as an illegal exchange of "thing[s] of value" under the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA).

In a letter to Perez, Mix spells out how officials from the German-based IG Metall union, VW's Global Group Works Council (GWC), the UAW union, and VW Germany have participated in "high-profile public activities...that trigger Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) reporting requirements." Mix notes that the U.S. Department of Labor has thus far ignored this fact, and if it continues to do so, union and company officials "may receive de facto immunity for their possible violations of the LMRDA's criminal and civil protections."

The LMRDA requires union officials to make comprehensive and detailed disclosure of union financial data, prohibits persons convicted of serious crimes from serving as union officers, forces full reporting by union officers of any personal conflict-of-interest transactions, and prohibits the channeling of bribes and improper influence through middlemen.

"As it stands now, American employees of Volkswagen do not know what inside arrangements exist among UAW, IG Metall, Global Works Council, and VW," Mix states in the letter to Perez. "I call on you to immediately use your authorized powers to demand [disclosure reports] from IG Metall and the Global Works Council."

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

Truck Driver Files Federal Charge Challenging UAW Scheme to Intimidate Workers Exercising Their Right to Work

Union officials stonewall workers' attempts to exercise their rights under Michigan’s Right to Work law

Detroit, MI (October 10, 2014) – A local truck driver has filed federal charges against a local United Auto Workers (UAW) union for using intimidation and coercion to stop her from exercising her rights under Michigan's Right to Work law.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, CEVA Logistics U.S., Inc. truck driver Kathleen Sulkowski filed the charge Wednesday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Detroit.

According to the charge, Sulkowski sent a letter in August exercising her right to resign UAW union membership and refrain from paying union dues. Under Michigan's Right to Work law, no worker can be forced to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of employment.

On September 18, 2014, a UAW Local 600 union official sent Sulkowski a letter denying her request. Further, the UAW union official demanded that she show up in person and provide photo identification in order for her to exercise her rights.

"Across the state, union officials are pulling out all the stops to keep workers from exercising their rights under Michigan's Right to Work law," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "UAW union officials' latest tactic to show up in person and furnish photo identification is designed to dissuade or intimidate workers from exercising their rights to refrain from membership."

"On the UAW's website, the union hierarchy opposes what it calls 'outrageous voter ID laws' but apparently union officials have no problem requiring ID for workers who want to resign and cut off union dues, including dues money spent to promote the union boss position on voter ID legislation," continued Mix.

Foundation staff attorneys are assisting several workers in cases across Michigan challenging union officials' schemes to stonewall workers attempts to exercise their rights under the state's Right to Work law.

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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