Butte-Based Teamsters Union Backs Down After Timber Trucker Files Federal Charges for Illegal Threats to Job
Union officials threatened trucker’s termination in retaliation for his refraining from formal union membership
Butte, MT (January 16, 2008) – To avoid federal prosecution by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a local union had no choice but to withdraw illegal termination threats against a Kalispell-based employee of Hanson Trucking and Resin Haulers Inc. and return all forced dues plus interest to the timber trucker.
The agreement, won by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys, requires Teamsters Local 2 union officials to reimburse Michael Weller full union back dues plus 10 percent interest on all dues paid. Teamsters officials also promised to provide full financial disclosure of the use of Weller’s forced dues, as required by law.
With help from Foundation attorneys, Weller filed charges in October 2007 at the NLRB against the Teamsters Local 2 union to protect himself from union threats that he would be fired from his job for refusing to join the union. The charges cite that Teamsters Local 2 union officials attempted to collect ongoing and back forced union dues, while failing to provide Weller with a verified audited breakdown of union chargeable and non-chargeable expenses.
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. Because the union responded with threats against his job, Weller had no choice but to pay under protest hundreds of dollars in forced union dues – using a money order.
“This legal battle would never have been necessary if the State of Montana did not have an outrageous policy of forced unionism,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Until Montana passes a Right to Work law that ensures that payment of union dues is strictly voluntary, union officials will inevitably continue to victimize and extort money from dissenting employees.”
In the Foundation-won Communications Workers of America v. Beck decision, which applies to forced unionism states, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employees working 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 costs such as union political activities.
Additionally, a union collecting forced dues must have an independent third party audit its 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.