Alpena, Mich. (September 4, 2003) — Obtaining free legal aid from attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a Besser Company employee filed federal charges against local officials of the Boilermakers union for illegally forcing him to pay full union dues, including dues spent for politics.
James Martin, an employee at Besser Company’s Alpena plant, filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB) Union Local D-472. The NLRB is responsible for investigating the charges and will decide whether to prosecute the union for unfair labor practices.
“These union officials’ actions show they care more about stuffing their coffers than respecting the wishes of rank-and-file employees they claim to represent,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation.
Within the past six months, Martin notified IBB union officials of his resignation from the union and intention to pay only those costs directly related to collective bargaining. Union officials have illegally continued seizing full union dues from Martin, despite never having provided a legally mandated audit to prove his dues were not funding unrelated activities.
The actions of IBB union officials violate the Foundation-won Communications Workers v. Beck U.S. Supreme Court decision. Under Beck, workers are allowed to resign from formal union membership and halt and reclaim the portion of forced union dues spent on activities unrelated to collective bargaining, such as union politics, lobbying, and public relations. In addition, objecting workers are entitled to an independent audit to verify they are not subsidizing such activities.
“No one should be forced to pay compulsory dues to a union, especially when its officials continually abuse that federally granted special privilege,” stated Gleason. “Until Michigan workers enjoy the protections of a Right to Work law, workers will continue suffering this type of abuse at the hands of self-serving union officials.”