Union Officials Reneged on Settlement Agreement, Forced Nonunion Employees to Object Annually to Paying Union Dues
Salisbury, Maryland (October 16, 2008) – National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have filed unfair labor practice charges against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters/Graphic Communications Conference District Council 9 union for compelling nonmember employees to annually object to the payment of union dues unrelated to collective bargaining.
Four days after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the union agreed to a settlement that eliminated the Teamsters’ annual objector policy, Teamsters officials issued a letter to nonunion Standard Register employees in Salisbury, Maryland indicating they would still have to annually opt-out of and object to paying certain union fees each year.
District Council 9/Graphic Communications Conference union officials are the monopoly bargaining agents for companies across the Mid-Atlantic region. The Foundation’s unfair labor practice charges were filed on behalf of ten workers in Maryland and seven in Pennsylvania, many of whom fear that the union will reverse or ignore its earlier promise to end the annual objection policy.
Nonunion employees can be forced to pay union dues for workplace representation as a condition of employment, but under the Foundation-won Supreme Court precedent Communication Workers v. Beck they cannot be legally required to pay for union activities unrelated to collective bargaining. As a result of previous Foundation unfair labor practice charges, the NLRB’s settlement eliminated a requirement forcing nonmember employees to annually renew their objections to excessive union dues. Despite this settlement agreement, Salisbury-area union officials maintained an annual objection policy designed to make it difficult for employees to exercise their Beck rights.
Although the NLRB issued its decision as a result of an unfair labor practice charge in Philadelphia, the settlement applied to the entire local. In that settlement, union officials agreed to remove their annual objector policy, as well as refund several nonmember employees for payments unrelated to collective bargaining.
“This is a scoff law union that has developed a disturbing reputation for pushing nonunion workers around,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The incident demonstrates the fundamental injustice of forced unionism. If union bosses were stripped of their special powers to force employees into unions and their forced dues ranks, this type of abuse couldn’t happen.”