News Release

Settlement Forces Teamsters Union to Stop Discriminating Against Non-union Employees

Chattanooga, Tenn. (May 5, 2003) — Responding to charges brought by an employee of Van Heusen Company, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) forced Teamsters Local Union 515 to eliminate key contract provisions that violated the rights of non-union employees.

Enjoying free legal aid from attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Sheila Elliot filed unfair labor practice charges against the Teamsters union.

As part of their contract with Van Heusen, Teamsters officials required the company to encourage all associate employees to become and remain full union members – despite the existence of Tennessee’s Right to Work law. Teamsters Local Union 515 officials attempted to use the clause to force workers into joining the union and to waive their right to refrain from union activities.

“This settlement will give Elliot, and her coworkers, the freedom to decide for themselves if they want to join the union, without being forced into it by Teamsters union bosses,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “It is clear union officials were using these tactics to try and get around Tennessee’s Right to Work law.”

Under the state’s highly popular and effective Right to Work law, non-union employees are freed from paying membership dues to an unwanted union as a condition of employment.

In an attempt to undermine Right to Work laws around the country, Teamsters union officials are enlisting companies to help them pressure workers into joining the union. Employees laboring in America’s 22 Right to Work states have the right to refrain from union affiliation without interference from officials of a union or an employer.

“Teamsters officials wrote this agreement as a direct assault on Right to Work laws around the country,” stated Gleason. “As more workers enjoy the benefits of a Right to Work law, union bosses are turning to more strong-arm tactics to take away their freedoms.”

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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