Union Corruption, Violence and Intimidation 

News Release

Arizona Fry's Employees Take Federal Challenge to Illegal Union Dues Scheme to DC Appeals Court

Obama Labor Board rubberstamps years of suspected widespread abuse

Washington, DC (April 22, 2015) – Seven Phoenix-area Fry's Food Stores employees have appealed their federal case filed after United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 99 union and company officials refused to honor their legal right to refrain from union dues payments.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Shirley Jones of Mesa; Karen Medley and Elaine Brown of Apache Junction; Kimberly Stewart and Saloomeh Hardy of Queen Creek; and Tommy and Janette Fuentes of Florence – acting for other similarly situated employees – filed federal unfair labor practice charges in December 2009 that spurred the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to investigate and issue a statewide complaint against UFCW Local 99 union officials.

In the midst of a well-publicized UFCW Local 99 union-threatened strike in November 2009, the employees resigned their UFCW union membership and revoked their dues deduction authorizations – a document used by union officials to automatically withhold dues from employee paychecks – while the UFCW union did not have a contract at their workplaces. Despite the employees' best efforts to halt the dues seizures, Fry's continued to illegally deduct dues from the employee's paychecks for the UFCW union hierarchy.

Under Arizona's popular Right to Work law, no worker can be required to join or pay any money to a union, and under federal labor law, if there is no longer a bargaining agreement in effect between a union and an employer, employees can revoke their dues deduction authorizations at any time.

After a four month long investigation, the Phoenix NLRB regional director initiated a prosecution against UFCW Local 99 union officials for enforcing illegal dues deduction authorizations that do not allow employees to revoke them during contract hiatus periods, contrary to federal law. However, an NLRB administrative law judge rubberstamped the scheme. The NLRB in Washington, D.C. now has upheld the ruling on appeal a second time. The NLRB previously rubberstamped the ruling in a decision later invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in Noel Canning that the Board lacked a valid quorum after President Obama's unconstitutional 2012 NLRB "recess appointments."

The seven Fry's employees are again appealing the NRLB's ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

"The Obama NLRB has rubberstamped UFCW Local 99 bosses' years of suspected abuse and violation of thousands of workers’ rights across the state of Arizona," said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "We applaud these workers' pursuit for justice on behalf of thousands of workers who may have been illegally forced into paying union dues in violation of Arizona'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.
News Release

Local Sheet Metal Factory Workers File Federal Charges against Machinist Union and Company

Case underscores need for Wisconsin's new Right to Work law

Allenton, WI (April 22, 2015) – Three Maysteel, LLC sheet metal fabrication factory workers have filed federal charges against a local Machinist union and the company for violating their rights.

With the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Daniel Sarauer of Campbellsport, Dan Zastrow of Mayville, and Daryl Bartsch of Oakfield filed the charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Milwaukee.

International Association of Machinists (IAM) Local Lodge 2053 union officials currently enjoy monopoly bargaining control over the Maysteel workers' workplace. Previously, the three workers resigned their union membership and exercised their right upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Foundation-won Communications Workers v. Beck case to refrain from paying for union political activities and member-only events. Even though they are not union members, they have still been forced to accept the union hierarchy's so-called representation and pay union fees as a condition of employment.

Under Wisconsin's Right to Work law making union dues payments completely voluntary, contracts entered into after the law went into effect must respect workers’ right to refrain from the payment of any union dues.

The three workers have since made multiple requests of the IAM union and the company for copies of their union dues deduction authorizations – a document union officials use to take dues or fees from workers' paychecks. IAM Local 2053 union officials have refused to provide the workers with copies of their dues deduction authorizations. Meanwhile, company officials have maintained that they do not have any copies of the forms.

"To keep their forced-dues gravy train going as long as possible, Machinist union officials are stonewalling these workers' requests to learn when they will be able to refrain from paying union dues or fees under Wisconsin's new Right to Work law," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Schemes like this underscore the importance Wisconsin's new Right to Work law has for workers who want to exercise their right to refrain from union affiliation once the law applies to their workplaces."

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

Fort Leonard Wood Food Service Employees Win Refunds in Federal Settlement over Illegal Union Dues Seizures

Company and union officials obstructed workers from exercising rights to refrain from union membership and dues payments

Fort Leonard Wood, MO (April 14, 2015) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, two Fort Leonard Wood food service workers have won a federal settlement from a local union for violating their and several of their coworkers' rights.

In November 2014, Kimsha Rosensteel, an 11-year employee with the Overland Park, Kansas-based food services provider EDP Enterprises, Inc., and coworker Stephanie Fenton filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) Local R14-139 union. Rosensteel later filed a charge against the company.

Because Missouri 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 union boss politics and many other activities unrelated to bargaining and contract administration.

Rosensteel, a former NAGE Local R14-139 union president, and Fenton filed the federal charges after NAGE union officials stonewalled several workers' requests to refrain from formal, dues-paying union membership and refused to follow federal disclosure requirements designed to better inform workers of their rights.

Company management entered into a settlement with Rosensteel after the NLRB initiated a prosecution in November 2014 against the company and the union based on her charge.

Under the terms of the settlement with NAGE Local R14-139 union officials, the union hierarchy will refund 14 EDP employees dues illegally seized from their paychecks, totaling $1,580.70.

"It is sad that workers have to resort to federal legal action in order to exercise their rights," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores the need for Missouri to pass Right to Work protections for its workers."

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 Federal Charge for Violating Machinery Manufacturing Company Worker’s Rights

Teamster union officials retaliate against workers who exercise rights under Texas' popular Right to Work law

Longview, TX (April 14, 2015) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a Crosby Group/Lebus Manufacturing Company worker has filed a federal charge against a local Teamsters union for violating her rights.

White Oak resident Sammie Monroe filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Teamsters Local 568 for threatening her for exercising her right to refrain from paying union dues. Under Texas' popular Right to Work law, no worker can be required to join or pay fees to a union as a condition of employment.

Even though Monroe resigned her formal union membership and now refrains from paying dues, she must still accept Teamster Local 568 union officials’ so-called "representation." Because Teamster union officials have claimed monopoly bargaining privilege to speak for and control all workers, including nonmembers like Monroe, they must fairly represent all the workers in the bargaining unit.

However, Teamster Local 568 union officials have threatened Monroe and other workers in the workplace who refrain (or are considering to refrain) from union membership, stating that they will refuse to represent the workers if they have a grievance against the company unless they pay the union hierarchy a fee.

"Teamster union bosses are retaliating against workers who are exercising their legally-protected right to resign from dues-paying union membership under Texas' popular Right to Work law," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Much to Teamsters union bosses' chagrin, if they insist on having monopoly bargaining powers over workers, then they cannot punish those workers for exercising their Right to Work."

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

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

Electrical Worker Files Federal Charge Challenging Union Intimidation of Workers Exercising Their Right to Work

Autoworker union bosses back down in face of federal prosecution for using the same tactic

Croswell, MI (April 14, 2015) – An eastern-Michigan electrical worker has filed a federal charge against a local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union for using intimidation and coercion to stop workers from exercising their rights under Michigan's Right to Work law.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Paramount Industries employee Ryan Greene filed the charge last week with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Detroit.

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.

However, under a new policy issued October 1, 2014, IBEW Local 58 union officials require workers to show up in person and provide photo identification to exercise their rights under Michigan's Right to Work law. According to the charge, Greene, who resigned his IBEW union membership and revoked his dues deduction authorization discovered the new policy through an arbitration the union brought against Paramount to force Greene to continue to be a dues-paying member.

Greene's charge comes on the heels of a federal settlement won by CEVA Logistics U.S., Inc. truck driver Kathileen Sulkowski. Sulkowski filed a similar charge with the aid of National Right to Work Foundation attorneys in 2014 after United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 600 union officials denied her request to resign her union membership and dues payments unless she show up in person and provide photo identification to exercise her right to refrain from union membership. Earlier this year, the NLRB initiated a prosecution of the UAW Local 600, spurring the settlement.

"Union officials continue to pull out all the stops to prevent workers from exercising their rights under Michigan's Right to Work law," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "IBEW union officials' latest tactic requiring workers to show up in person and furnish photo identification is designed to dissuade or intimidate them from exercising their rights to refrain from membership."

Foundation staff attorneys are assisting several workers in cases across Michigan challenging union officials' schemes stonewalling 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.
News Release

State Troopers File Federal Lawsuit against Connecticut State Police Union

Union bosses violate Connecticut state police troopers' rights by failing to comply with U.S. Supreme Court protections for nonmember employees

Hartford, CT (March 30, 2015) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, four Connecticut state troopers have filed a federal lawsuit against the Connecticut State Police Union (CSPU) and the state for violating their rights and refusing to follow federal disclosure requirements.

State trooper Marc Lamberty resigned from formal union membership in the CSPU and invoked his right to refrain from paying full union dues in June 2011. Troopers Joseph Mercer, Carson Konow, and Collin Konow did so in November 2014.

The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that workers have the unconditional right to refrain from union membership at any time. Even though the state troopers are not CSPU members, they must still accept union officials' monopoly bargaining "representation," and because Connecticut does not have a Right to Work law, union officials can compel the troopers into paying union fees as a condition of employment.

The Supreme Court ruled in the Foundation's Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson case that union officials must provide nonmember public employees with an independently-audited breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures and the opportunity to object and challenge the amount of forced union fees before an impartial decision maker. These minimal safeguards are designed to ensure that workers have an opportunity to refrain from paying for union political activities and member-only events.

Despite these limited protections, the state continues to deduct, and union officials continue to receive, full union dues from the officers' paychecks as if they are union members. Further, despite the officers' requests that union officials acknowledge their rights and provide them with the financial breakdown of union expenditures, union officials refuse to comply with Hudson's requirements.

The troopers seek refunds of the amount of forced union dues payments illegally taken from their paychecks and to enjoin future collection of any dues or fees until union officials follow the law.

"Once again, union officials are keeping rank-and-file state troopers in the dark to keep their forced-dues gravy train going," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "To prevent these types of forced unionism abuses in the future, Connecticut needs to pass a Right to Work law making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary for all of its workers."

Twenty-five 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

NJ Public Safety Deputy Attorney General Files Federal Suit against IBEW Union

IBEW union officials fail to follow federal disclosure guidelines while requiring deputy AG to pay mandatory union fees

Trenton, NJ (March 20, 2015) – A New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety Deputy Attorney General has filed a federal lawsuit against a local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) affiliate for violating his rights and refusing to follow federal disclosure requirements.

James Bennett filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

Even though Bennett is not a member of the IBEW Local 33 union, he must still accept union officials' monopoly bargaining "representation." Further, IBEW Local 33 union officials force him and other nonmembers at his workplace to pay the equivalent of 85 percent of full union dues, the maximum amount allowed under state law, as a condition of employment.

The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that workers have the unconditional right to refrain from union membership at any time. However, because New Jersey does not have a Right to Work law, union officials can compel nonmember workers into paying union dues and fees as a condition of employment.

The Supreme Court ruled in the Foundation's Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson case that union officials must provide nonmember public workers with an independently-audited breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures and the opportunity to object and challenge the amount of forced union fees before an impartial decision maker. This minimal safeguard is designed to ensure that workers have an opportunity to refrain from paying for union political activities and member-only events.

Bennett's suit alleges that although Local 33 union officials purportedly charge him the maximum amount of forced union fees allowed under state law, they have failed to follow the federal disclosure requirements outlined by the U.S. Supreme Court in Hudson.

Bennett is asking the court to stop the illegal union deductions from his paychecks and order a refund of all illegally-seized union dues and fees, plus interest.

"To keep their forced-dues gravy train going, IBEW union officials are keeping public servants in the dark about their rights," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores why New Jersey needs to follow the example most recently set by Wisconsin and pass a Right to Work law making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary."

Twenty-five 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

Worker Advocate Offers Legal Aid to Wisconsin Workers Seeking to Exercise Rights under New Right to Work Law

Foundation has long history of assisting workers seeking to refrain from union membership and dues payments

Washington, DC (March 10, 2015) – The National Right to Work Foundation is offering free legal aid to Wisconsin private-sector workers seeking to exercise their right under Wisconsin's newly-enacted Right to Work law to refrain from union membership and union dues payments.

On Monday, Governor Scott Walker signed the nation's newest Right to Work law, effective Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Under the law, workers will no longer be required to pay union dues as a condition of employment once the current union monopoly bargaining agreement in their workplace expires.

The National Right to Work Foundation has a long history of assisting employees seeking to exercise their Right to Work rights, most recently under Right to Work provisions enacted in Indiana and Michigan. Foundation attorneys also provided free legal representation to Wisconsin public-sector employees who sought to refrain from paying union dues or fees under Walker's 2011 public-sector union reforms, commonly referred to as "Act 10."

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, issued the following statement:

"No worker should ever be forced to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of their employment. That is why Wisconsin's new Right to Work law is a great advance for worker freedom. Today, workers in Wisconsin finally have Right to Work protections.

"Unfortunately, union officials won't give up their forced dues power easily. In addition to fighting Governor Walker in court, it won't be surprising to see them make it difficult for workers to exercise their rights. Workers who try to exercise those rights may encounter stonewalling, intimidation, or harassment at the hands of union officials.

"In response, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a charitable organization that provides free legal assistance to employees nationwide, has created a special task force to defend workers seeking to exercise their Right to Work.

"Affected employees are encouraged to call the Foundation's legal hotline toll-free at 1-800-336-3600 or contact the Foundation through its award-winning website at www.nrtw.org."

The National Right to Work Foundation issued a special legal notice to Wisconsin workers, which can be viewed here: www.nrtw.org/WisconsinRTW.

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

More Oil Refinery Workers File Federal Charge in Response to Steelworker Union Strike Intimidation

Union officials threatening workers who exercise their rights to continue working during union boss-ordered strike

Houston, TX (March 4, 2015) – In the wake of a recent federal charge filed against a local Steelworker union for intimidating Shell oil workers for refusing to abandon their jobs during the ongoing, highly-publicized United Steelworker (USW) union-instigated strike, three additional Houston-based oil refinery workers have filed a federal charge against the union.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, LyondellBasell Industries employees Yvonne Hendrix, Richard Jackson, and Kyle MacDonnell filed the unfair labor practice charge Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The charge alleges that USW Local 13-227 union officials are resorting to harassing, coercing, and threatening workers for refusing to abandon their jobs. Over the course of several meetings, a USW Local 13-227 union official has threatened workers who continue to work during the strike with job termination and other retaliation. Further, USW Local 13-227 union officials have allowed a union Facebook page to be used to communicate threats against workers who continue to work during the strike, and against employees who are contemplating returning to work.

Last week, Foundation attorneys also assisted Joseph Smith of Friendswood, Texas in filing a federal charge against the USW Local 13-1 union on similar grounds. 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.

"As USW union bosses lose support from rank-and-file workers, they have resorted to threats and intimidation against workers who have decided 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

Worker Advocate Urges Supreme Court to Take Case to Overturn Government Union Bosses Forced Dues Powers

Case builds on Foundation-won Supreme Court precedents

Washington, DC (March 2, 2015) – National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have filed a "friend of the Court" brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, urging it to hear a challenge to public-sector union officials' power to force America's civil servants into dues-paying ranks. Foundation attorneys filed the brief late Friday in support of the challenge, titled Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, brought by ten California teachers supported by the Center for Individual Rights.

Nearly 40 years ago, the Court ruled in the Foundation's Abood v. Detroit Board of Education case that public-sector workers can be compelled to pay union fees as a condition of employment, but have a constitutional right to refrain from the part used for union political and members-only activities. Since then, National Right to Work Foundation-assisted workers have repeatedly challenged government union officials' power to force public employees into union fee payments as a job condition.

In 2012, the Court suggested in the Right to Work Foundation-won Knox v. SEIU ruling that it was ready to reassess whether union officials' forced dues powers, which it called "something of an anomaly," violate workers' First Amendment rights. Responding to that suggestion, many workers have filed lawsuits seeking to eliminate forced unionism in America. Several of those cases are Foundation-supported.

In Knox's wake, the Court ruled last year in another Foundation-won case that individuals who indirectly receive state subsidies based on their clientele cannot be forced to pay union fees. This victory in Harris v. Quinn, a class-action suit filed by several Foundation-assisted Illinois homecare providers, renders unconstitutional similar homecare unionization schemes in at least 13 other states, freeing roughly 500,000 providers from forced union dues nationwide. Moreover, in Harris, the Court criticized Abood's allowance of any forced fees for public employees as "questionable on several grounds."

Foundation staff attorneys also are assisting nine airline fleet employees who are suing the Transport Workers Union of America to establish railroad and airline workers' right to refrain from paying any union dues or fees. In December 2014, a federal district court judge granted the case class-action status. Underscoring the case's significance, the Department of Justice then intervened in the case to defend the constitutionality of forced union fees.

In their Friedrichs brief, Foundation attorneys explain why the Court should take the case and strike down union officials' forced dues powers, describing the lessons learned from many cases involving workers who have struggled to stop paying for union politics against their will.

"Union bosses have abused their extraordinary government-granted power to compel workers to fund their political activities unless workers object – a power granted no other private organization in our country – for far too long," said Mark Mix, president of National Right to Work. "The First Amendment right of workers who refrain from union membership to automatically not pay union dues at all, especially 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.

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