Hartford, Conn. (December 30, 2003) — A federal administrative law judge today awarded an employee of Colt Manufacturing nearly $31,000 in compensation plus interest for pay lost after he was illegally fired at the request of union officials. The award ends a more than decade-long legal battle that resulted from the worker’s firing for refusal to pay union dues while the union failed to meet its obligation to notify workers of their right to pay less than full dues.
Enjoying free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, George Gally originally filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the United Auto Workers (UAW) Union Local Lodge 376 for ordering his termination in 1991.
Despite being reinstated after the NLRB issued a complaint in the case, Gally received no restitution from UAW union officials for lost pay during the 18-month gap. His case was later consolidated with dozens of others into a nationwide case against the UAW union, and his claim languished within the NLRB bureaucracy for more than six years.
“UAW union officials made an example of George Gally in order to keep other workers from defying their edicts,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Though long overdue, this award is a small step towards holding UAW officials accountable for trampling the rights of rank-and-file workers.”
The actions of UAW union officials violated workers’ rights recognized in the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck and subsequent rulings, workers have to right to refrain from full dues-paying union membership, pay a reduced fee to cover only the union’s collective bargaining costs, and refuse to pay for union ideological activities -- such as politics. Union officials must also notify workers of these rights.
Despite winning back the lost salary, Gally filed another round of unfair labor practice charges against the UAW union earlier this year. Gally is challenging the union’s requirement that he renew his objection to paying for union politics as a nonmember every year.
Gally originally objected to full union membership more than a decade ago, but under rules set by UAW union officials, he is required to renew his objection every single year in order to avoid full dues payment. Though Gally renewed his objection to being a full-dues-paying member in response to a union notice to do so, union officials recently disregarded his objection and demanded that he tender full dues in order to keep his job.