Hanson Trucking Driver Hits Butte-Based Teamsters Union with Federal Charges for Illegal Threats to Job
**Butte, MT (October 29, 2007)** – A Kalispell-based employee of Hanson Trucking and Resin Haulers Inc. filed federal charges against the Teamsters Local 2 union to protect himself from illegal threats to his job.
Michael Weller, a timber trucker for the resin hauling company, filed the charges at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with help from attorneys at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The charges cite that Teamsters Local 2 union officials are attempting to collect ongoing and back forced union dues, and have failed to provide Weller with a verified audited breakdown of union chargeable and non-chargeable expenses, as required by law.
After learning of his right to refrain from formal union membership independent of Teamsters Local 2, Weller sent letters to union officials asserting his right not to be forced to pay more than the documented cost of monopoly bargaining. In response, Teamsters union officials acknowledged Weller’s request, but calculated that the mandatory dues requirement would be reduced by only 69 cents.
Moreover, although union officials failed to provide Weller with any of the legally-mandated financial disclosures, union officials sent Weller written notice that his position would be terminated if he failed to pay the reduced fees. Under duress, Weller had no choice but to pay hundreds of dollars in forced union dues by money order, just to keep his job.
“Union officials are making an example of Michael Weller in order to stifle dissent,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “In states like Montana where there is no Right to Work law to ensure payment of union dues is strictly voluntary, union officials commonly trample the rights of employees to keep their coffers filled.”
In the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court decision Communications Workers v. Beck, the Court affirmed workers have the right to refrain from formal union membership and halt and reclaim the portion of forced union dues spent on activities unrelated to collective bargaining, such as union political activities. Unfortunately, they can still be forced to pay for monopoly bargaining costs, even if they do not want union “representation.” However, employees have the right to have an independent third party audit the union expenditures and verify that the percentage of dues that non-members are forced to pay does not include political spending and other non-collective bargaining expenses.
The NLRB’s Regional Office will now investigate the charges and decide whether to issue a formal complaint and prosecute the union.