**Landover, MD (May 10, 2007)** – A group of 13 ex-employees of Giant Foods, Inc. filed federal charges at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against two Carpenter union affiliates for failing to inform the employees of their rights and fining them $2,500 each after working for a nonunion employer. The employees worked under union monopoly contracts for over 20 years without union officials informing them of their rights.
Led by Clark Bowling, all 13 are former metal workers at Giant’s Landover warehouse where they performed various jobs for the Mid-Atlantic area grocery chain. Attorneys from the National Right to Work Foundation helped Bowling and his coworkers file the charges after officials from the Millwrights and Machinery Erectors Local 1548 and Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters (MARCC) unions told the employees they were required to be full union members. Union officials then levied retaliatory fines after the employees went to work for nonunion employers.
Union officials demanded that the workers join the Carpenter union affiliates despite failing to inform the employees of their right to refrain from formal union membership and to withhold all forced dues except those spent on union monopoly bargaining.
After the Giant warehouse closed in August 2005, Bowling and his coworkers were unemployed for weeks before securing new employment. Upon learning the workers had chosen a nonunion employer, union officials imposed internal union disciplinary fines against the employees despite the fact that they were not voluntary members of the union.
“It’s despicable for union officials to drive workers towards the poor house, especially after they failed to protect their jobs from being eliminated,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “In states like Maryland, with no Right to Work law that makes payment of union dues strictly voluntary, union officials seem to have a tremendous sense of entitlement to workers’ wages.”
In the Foundation-won *Communication Workers of America v. Beck* decision in 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employees laboring under the National Labor Relations Act are entitled to resign from formal union membership and withhold forced dues for activities other than union monopoly bargaining such as union political activities and organizing. And only truly voluntary union members can be subjected to internal union discipline, such as fines.