Legal Foundation to Assist Non-Striking L.A. Transit Workers Targeted by Union Violence and Harassment
Los Angeles, Calif. (October 15, 2003) – With a disruptive public transit strike underway, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation today announced that it will offer free legal aid to non-striking Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) workers who are targeted for illegal harassment or violence by their union in retaliation for staying on the job.
Since 1975, the National Institute for Labor Relations Research has collected more than 9,000 reports of documented union violence--many of which have come as a direct result of strike-related activities.
“With union officials ordering workers off the job, employees who courageously continue to work often face violence and other ugly forms of retaliation,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The Foundation and its staff attorneys are ready to provide free legal aid to workers who are victims of union coercion.”
For example, in Los Angeles County in 2001, Matthew Kahn, an employee of Labor Ready, faced an apparently premeditated attack by union militants for providing replacement workers during a strike by the Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees (UNITE). The attack left Kahn with several head lacerations and other injuries.
The MTA union’s strike centers, in part, on union officials’ attempts to secure a taxpayer-funded bailout of the union health fund -- despite reports that the union’s own mismanagement led to the fund’s bankruptcy.
In addition to a documented history of violence, union officials have a long history of fining and suing employees who continue to work to support their families. The only way to escape these fines and union lawsuits is for non-striking employees to resign from formal union membership before returning to work. However, union officials frequently deceive employees about their right to resign, or they simply refuse to honor employees’ resignations from membership.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation emphasizes the importance of employees learning about their rights if they desire to return to work without union retaliation. For more information, workers can find a special advisory for the L.A. transit strike on the Foundation’s web site at www.nrtw.org or call 800-336-3600 and ask to speak to an attorney.