Federal Labor Board to Prosecute Union for Retaliatory Fines Against Five Former Landover Giant Foods Employees
**Landover, MD (September 5, 2007)** – A group of five ex-employees of Giant Foods, Inc. have prompted the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to prosecute a Carpenter union affiliate for illegal coercion and fining them $2,500 each because they found new jobs at nonunion employers. Union officials also levied the fines because the workers refused to serve as union “salts” (plants that surreptitiously work to unionize a nonunion work place).
All five employees are former carpenters at Giant’s Landover warehouse where they performed various jobs for the Mid-Atlantic area grocery chain until that facility shut down. Attorneys from the National Right to Work Foundation helped the workers file federal charges at the NLRB in May against the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters (MARCC) union.
Union officials had demanded that the workers join the Carpenter union affiliate over the past 20 years and have lied to them about their right to refrain from formal union membership and to withhold all forced dues except those spent on union monopoly bargaining. Ultimately, the employees learned independently of these rights and sought to exercise them.
After the Giant warehouse shuttered in August 2005, all of the employees were unemployed for weeks before securing new jobs. Upon learning the workers had chosen a nonunion employer, union officials insisted they work to organize a union in the workplace. When they refused, the union brass imposed vicious internal union disciplinary fines against the workers. However, since the employees were no longer union members, they cannot be legally subjected to union discipline.
“Union officials tried to drive these workers towards the poor house simply for exercising their freedom to find new jobs and for honorably refusing to thrust a union upon their new employer,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Because Maryland does not have a Right to Work law making unions voluntary, union officials have little accountability to the workers.”
In the Foundation-won *Communications 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 but can still be forced to pay for activities related to union monopoly bargaining. However, they cannot be compelled to pay for other activities such as union political activities.
The NLRB has scheduled a hearing on November 7, 2007 at its Region 5 headquarters in Baltimore to prosecute the union.