News Release

Legal Action Forces Plumbers Union to Refund Illegally Seized Funds

Cincinnati, OH (February 13, 2003) — Responding to charges filed by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has forced the Plumbers, Pipe Fitters and Mechanical Equipment Service union Local 392 to return $4,500 that it illegally seized from employees of Fluor Daniel Fernald’s uranium plant in Hamilton.

Foundation attorneys originally filed the charges on behalf of seven company workers, led by Rick Wilson, after the union threatened to fire them for refusing to pay an illegal fee, which amounted to as much as $750 per worker. The Plumbers union must refund, with interest, the so-called “re-instatement fee” they illegally charged the workers as a condition of keeping their jobs.

“This type of shakedown is a common tactic used by Big Labor to keep workers' money pouring into their forced-dues coffers,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation.

In addition to refunding the illegal fee, the settlement also forces union officials to post a notice alerting employees of the Hamilton plant of their right to refrain from formal union membership and the payment of full union dues. Under law, an employee may resign from formal union membership, pay a reduced fee to cover only the union’s collective bargaining costs, and further challenge the veracity of the union’s calculations.

The case arose after Plumbers union officials violated the workers’ rights established by the U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck, a case that Foundation attorneys argued and won, workers may halt and reclaim forced union dues spent on politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining.

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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