Judge Strikes Down Nationwide UAW Union Policy Forcing Employees to Object Annually to Political Expenditures
Federal agency finally rules after sitting on case for five years
Hartford, CT (March 6, 2008) – A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) administrative law judge has heeded a Colt Manufacturing employee’s request to strike down a nationwide union policy intended to stonewall employees from obtaining a reduction of their forced union dues.
With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, George Gally, a nearly 50-year veteran Colt employee, originally filed unfair labor practice charges at the NLRB in March 2003. Gally challenged the United Auto Worker (UAW) union’s nationwide policy. The policy forced non-union members to object annually if they did not want to fund union political and other non-bargaining activities.
The ruling requires the UAW union to “cease and desist” from requiring employees to object annually, as well as notify all non-member employees across America that it will not subject them to this burdensome process. The UAW union must also post notices at certain union halls and publish a notice in a forthcoming “Solidarity” newsletter.
In the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court CWA v. Beck decision, the court affirmed that workers have the right to refrain from formal union membership but can still be forced to pay a reduced fee for union monopoly bargaining in their workplaces. But UAW officials have tried to hinder employees from getting their dues reduction by requiring them to renew their objections every year.
In issuing the ruling, Administrative Law Judge Joel Biblowitz noted that, “Further, the [union] Respondents do not require yearly renewals of union membership cards, dues authorization checkoff cards or notice of resignation from the union. Yearly renewals are only required of Beck objectors, and the Respondents have not satisfactorily explained this inconsistency.”
“UAW officials have fought tooth and nail to hamstring employees wishing to exercise their legal rights,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “This outrageous situation underscores why the best solution to the misuse of compulsory union dues is a Right to Work law. Ending forced unionism would make union affiliation and dues payment strictly voluntary.”
George Gally has endured 17 years of illegal conduct by UAW officials. In December 2003, ALJ Biblowitz awarded Gally nearly $31,000 in compensation plus interest for pay lost after he was illegally fired for non-payment of forced dues at the order of UAW Local 376 union officials in 1991. Subsequent to his damage award, Gally filed this separate unfair labor practice charge challenging the UAW union officials’ annual objection scheme.