Union Corruption, Violence and Intimidation 

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.
News Release

Construction Worker Files Federal Charges Against LIUNA Union and Company for Illegal Firing

Thuggish union boss behavior underscores need for Colorado Right to Work law

Colorado Springs, CO (September 9, 2014) – A former Michels Corporation construction worker has filed federal charges against the company and a local union for violating his rights and illegally firing him for refusing to pay union dues.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Paul Castle of Fountain filed the federal unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Shortly after Michels hired Castle in August 4, 2014, Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 578 union officials demanded he join the union and pay union dues as a condition of his employment.

Because Colorado does not have Right to Work protections for workers, nonmember workers can be forced to pay union fees as a condition of employment. However, because of a Foundation-won Supreme Court precedent, Communication Workers v. Beck, workers cannot be compelled to pay the portion of union dues used for the union's political and member-only activities. Union officials are also legally obligated to inform workers of these rights and to provide workers with an independently verified audit of chargeable and non-chargeable expenses.

Castle alleges that when he notified LIUNA Local 578 union officials that he was refraining from union membership and full dues payments, union officials stated that they would not comply with the procedural requirements established under Beck. Furthermore, union officials refused Castle's good faith efforts to pay the union for dues they claimed he owed.

On August 19, union officials sent a letter to Castle demanding he pay union dues for the months of August and September 2014 or he would be fired. Despite Castle's efforts to pay the union the full dues he supposedly owed, he was fired at LIUNA union officials' behest the next day. Adding insult to injury, Michels automatically deducted union dues from his final paycheck.

"No worker should be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This thuggish refusal by union officials to follow even the basic federal statutory protections for workers underscores why Colorado needs to pass a Right to Work law making union membership and dues payments completely voluntary."

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

Local Security Guards Win Federal Settlement to End Illegal Forced Union Dues Payments

Case underscores need for Maryland Right to Work law

White Oak, MD (September 9, 2014) – Four local Coastal International Security, Inc. security guards have won a federal settlement from a local union and their employer for illegally forcing them into paying union dues and fees.

The settlement comes in the wake of federal charges filed by the security guards with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

In December, Coastal security guard Karif King, who has been employed by Coastal International since 2008, and his coworkers voted to deauthorize the "Union Rights for Security Officers" union, thus revoking the union's power to force nonmember workers into forced dues payments. Federal law requires that union officials cease forcing nonmember workers into forced dues payments upon request if a majority of workers vote to deauthorize the union's forced dues powers.

King and his coworkers Pius Eroraha, Obi Orji, and Grace Rayemo filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after union officials continued to force the workers into forced dues payments despite the workers' effort to revoke the union hierarchy's forced dues powers.

Coastal International also faced charges for its role in assisting the union in the collection of union dues payments despite the workers' repeated requests for the union dues and fees payments to cease.

The settlement requires the union hierarchy to return all illegally-seized union dues, plus interest, and to post informational notices in the workplace informing workers of their right to refrain from union dues or fees.

"These security guards had to file federal charges to force union officials and Coastal International Security management to back off from forcing workers into illegal union dues payments," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores why Maryland needs to pass a Right to Work law making union membership and dues payments completely voluntary."

Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for 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

Labor Day Statement: "Despite Big Victories for Worker Freedom, More Work Remains"

Gains threatened by union bosses' power grabs via government fiat

Washington, DC (August 29, 2014) – Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and National Right to Work Committee, released the following statement regarding this year's Labor Day holiday:

"This Labor Day, many workers will enjoy a well-deserved long weekend. But as we celebrate the gains for workplace freedoms workers have made across the country, union officials are working aggressively to protect and expand their forced dues powers through government fiat.

"This year, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have assisted tens of thousands of workers nationwide achieve victories for workplace freedom. In America's newest Right to Work state, a growing number of workers from across Michigan are joining the fight to protect their Right to Work free from union compulsion.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, when given a chance to vote, staved off unwanted unionization, overcoming a coercive card check campaign, pushed by company management and United Auto Workers union officials.

"And in Illinois, parents and other family members of special needs individuals successfully challenged a government unionization scheme at the U.S. Supreme Court. In that case, now-imprisoned former Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich and current Governor Pat Quinn issued executive orders forcing home-based personal care providers into SEIU ranks. The effects of that ruling are reverberating across the nation, and thousands of home-based personal care and childcare providers have been freed from forced union dues or fees.

"Despite these big victories for worker freedom, more work remains. Millions of American workers are still compelled to pay dues or fees to union officials as a condition of getting or keeping a job. And millions more workers are required by law to accept a union's so-called 'representation,' even if they would rather negotiate with their employer on their own merits.

"Not satisfied with these unique coercive powers, union officials continue to spend billions of workers’ money on politics and lobbying seeking to expand their reach over American workers.

"That's why the National Right to Work Committee and its 2.8 million members are leading the fight for a National Right to Work Act making union affiliation completely voluntary – a principle supported by three out of four Americans.

"Although union officials have powerful friends in the Obama Administration, the National Right to Work organizations will continue to fight back against government-backed union boss power grabs and the resulting injustices they inflict upon American 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

Three Years Later, Workers Ask for Secret Ballot Vote After Obama Labor Board Kills Card Check Protections

NLRB's ruling removing workers' protection against card check unionization exposed as a farce

Houston, TX (August 12, 2014) – Three years after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) eliminated workers' right to challenge union card check recognition with a secret ballot vote, the very workers involved in that case have petitioned for an election to remove the unwanted union from their workplace.

In 2007, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys secured a new NLRB precedent in Dana Corp. which held that workers may collect signatures to request a secret ballot election during a 45-day window period following notice that their employer has recognized a union based on a card check organizing drive. The ruling was intended to counteract coercive practices frequently associated with card checks, which allow organizers to bully or mislead employees into signing cards that count as "votes" toward unionization.

In 2011, the Obama NLRB overturned the Dana precedent in Lamons Gasket. In that case, the NLRB denied the gasket and bolt manufacturing workers, and thousands of workers nationwide since, the right to challenge union card check recognition with a secret ballot vote. As a result, workers currently must wait up to three years after the date of the first monopoly bargaining agreement between their employer and union officials before they can file a petition for a secret ballot vote.

Now, almost three years to the date since the NLRB overturned Dana, Lamons Gasket workers, with the help of Foundation attorneys, filed for a secret ballot election to remove the United Steelworker union bosses who obtained control over their workplace through a coercive card check campaign. The election is now scheduled for August 20, 2014.

"The Obama NLRB has denied justice for these Lamons Gasket workers for three years," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Now that these workers finally have the overdue opportunity to determine their own union representation, this case proves once again that the Obama Labor Board's contorted ruling to kill the Dana Corp. precedent is a complete farce designed to further empower union operatives to steamroll workers into union ranks."

"President Obama and his hand-picked bureaucrats, operating under the guise of upholding federal labor law that purports to protect worker rights, are striving to make it next to impossible for independent-minded workers to stand up for their rights or remove an unwanted union hierarchy," added Mix.

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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