NLRB To Prosecute CWA Union Local for Illegal ‘Annual Objection’ Policy Designed to Force Workers to Pay Full Dues
CWA officials used bureaucratic requirements to hamstring workers’ rights
Cleveland, Ohio (June 4, 2008) – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has just issued an official complaint against Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 4309 union officials in response to charges filed by the National Right to Work Foundation on behalf of an AT&T employee.
CWA Local 4309 union officials are accused of committing unfair labor practices by requiring nonunion employees to annually object to mandatory dues payments unrelated to collective bargaining. An NLRB administrative law judge will rule on the federal complaint.
Under the Foundation-won precedent Communication Workers v. Beck, nonunion employees can be required to pay union dues germane to collective bargaining. But employees who object to paying full union dues have the right to withhold funds attributable to other union activities such as politics, lobbying, or member-only activities. Employees are also entitled to an audited financial breakdown of all union expenditures.
CWA Local 4309 union bosses required nonmember employees to annually object to making full dues payments within a short window period, despite the fact that these employees had already signaled their unwillingness to pay for activities unrelated to collective bargaining by refusing to join the union. Federal labor prosecutors agreed that the annual objection requirement represents an unnecessary burden that frequently results in nonunion workers paying more than they owe.
The case is one of many in which National Right to Work attorneys have helped employees challenge union policies that require workers to annually object to paying for nonrepresentational activities. With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, workers have successfully challenged both the International Association of Machinists’ (IAM) and the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) annual objection policies.
“Union bosses exploit these illegal annual objection requirements to seize even more compulsory union dues,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This case demonstrates the injustices workers face every day under forced unionism.”