AT&T Mobility Employees File Federal Charges Against Union for Threats if They Should Refuse to Strike
CWA union officials threaten financial penalties against independent-minded workers; national group announces offer of free legal aid
Morristown, NJ (February 9, 2009) – Responding to employee reports across America of union intimidation, a national organization announced today that it will provide free legal assistance to AT&T Mobility employees who are threatened with fines for exercising their right to go to their jobs during an imminent national strike.
Communication Workers of America (CWA) union officials may order 20,000 AT&T employees to abandon their jobs at any moment. Numerous employees across America have contacted National Right to Work Foundation attorneys for advice after being falsely informed that they have no right to resign from formal union membership and will face hefty fines as union members if they choose to do their jobs during the strike.
Foundation attorneys have already helped two New Jersey AT&T employees file unfair labor practice charges against the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1101 union for this misconduct.
Under the Supreme Court decision Pattern Makers v. NLRB, workers have an absolute right to resign from formal, full dues-paying membership at any time. Union officials’ attempts to block workers from resigning clearly violate this precedent. Union officials have no legal power to punish nonmember employees for honoring their commitments to their employer.
Union officials have told CWA union members in Washington, Michigan, Ohio and New Jersey that any attempt to resign from union membership is prohibited. In Ohio, CWA bosses responded to one worker’s inquiry by telling him that he was employed in a “forced union” state. Foundation attorneys anticipate filing additional unfair labor practice charges for these union-abused workers in the coming weeks.
Moreover, union officials informed workers that anyone who refuses to follow strike orders will be subject to exorbitant financial penalties. In previous Foundation cases, union strike fines have exceeded thousands of dollars per worker per day.
The charges filed by Foundation attorneys seek an immediate injunction from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to prevent CWA union bosses from stopping workers’ voluntary resignations. The charges also call for a rescission of any disciplinary action taken against workers attempting to resign, a repeal of the union’s illegal rules preventing workers from resigning union membership and a notice informing all employees of their legal right to resign from the union at any time.
“It’s particularly despicable to threaten workers with fines if they refuse to abandon their jobs in the midst of an economic crisis,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “All workers should be free to support their families, free from ugly threats by union bosses.”
“The National Right to Work Foundation stands ready to defend the rights of any AT&T employee who is being illegally threatened or coerced by CWA union bosses,” added Gleason.