**Washington, DC (May 3, 2007)** – Following unfair labor practice charges filed by Catholic University employee Jerry Evans, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has agreed to prosecute the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) for forcing Evans’ firing.
Evans, a grounds keeper/landscape technician at Catholic, originally filed charges against the union and the university in January 2007 with help from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys. Now, after investigating those charges, the NLRB Region 5 Director in Baltimore has issued a complaint against the union for initiating the illegal firing and violating Evans’ due process rights.
In early November 2006, union officials demanded that Evans pay a $100 “initiation fee” and then pay $259 in dues. When Evans did not immediately pay, IUOE union officials sent a letter to Catholic University demanding that Evans be terminated, despite the fact that union officials failed to notify him of his right to refrain from formal union membership and failed to provide an adequate breakdown of how they would be spending Evans’ forced dues.
In 1988, National Right to Work Foundation attorneys argued and won *Communication Workers of America v. Beck*, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employees are entitled to resign or refrain from formal union membership and cannot be forced to pay for costs unrelated to collective bargaining, such as union political activities or organizing. The decision also requires union officials to provide employees with verified financial disclosure of union expenditures, so that employees can cut off the seizure of forced union dues used for such activities.
Despite the long-standing *Beck* ruling, union agents sent Catholic University a letter demanding that Evans be fired only a few days after they had demanded that he pay the unsubstantiated forced dues. Because of union officials’ illegal termination request, Evans has been out of work for nearly 5 months.
“Time and time again, union officials send workers to the poorhouse unless they fork over money to the union,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “It is sickening for union officials to threaten the livelihood of employees who refuse to toe the union line.”
In the wake of the NLRB charges, union officials backtracked and sent a letter to Catholic asking that Evans be rehired – presumably to limit the amount of back wages that union officials would be liable for due to the illegal firing. However, Evans is not yet back on the job, and the NLRB has set a hearing date for July 23 to prosecute the union.