News Release

NLRB Orders Union to Respect Worker’s Right to Know How Confiscated Dues Are Spent

Richland, Wash. (February 19, 2003) — After International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 280 violated previous settlement agreements, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued an order requiring the union to stop forcing non-union employees of Fluor Daniel Hanford Inc. to pay full union-dues, including dues spent for politics.

The NLRB issued the decision in response to charges filed by attorneys with the National Right to Work Foundation on behalf of Jeanne Olsen, an employee of Fluor Daniel Hanford. Since November 1996 union officials have violated Olsen’s rights by illegally seizing compulsory union dues from her without observing her due-process rights, including providing an audited statement of how forced dues are spent.

As a non-union member Olsen cannot be forced to fund non-bargaining activities, such as political activities. On October 25, 2001 Olsen, the NLRB’s general counsel and IUOE Local 280 union officials entered into an agreement in which the union agreed finally to follow the law. However, union officials ignored the agreement and continued illegally to seize dues from Olsen.

The full NLRB has now approved the agreement. If IUOE Local 280 does not obey the board’s order then the union will be prosecuted in federal court.

“What incredible arrogance. For years these union officials just thumbed their noses at the government’s prosecutors and the employees the union claims to represent,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This shows the lengths that union officials will go keep workers’ mandatory union dues flowing into their coffers.”

As part of the decision, the NLRB mandated the posting of a notice alerting employees of Fluor Daniel Hanford, Inc. of their right to refrain from formal union membership and payment of full union dues.

The actions of IUOE Local 280 officials violated Olsen’s 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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