Teamsters Union Bosses Renege on Legal Settlement, Illegally Force Nonunion Employee to Pay Excessive Dues
Union bosses threaten firing of nonunion worker objecting to paying for union ideological activities
Butte, MT (February 5, 2008) – National Right to Work Foundation attorneys have filed a new round of unfair labor practice charges for Michael Weller, a union-abused employee of Hanson Trucking and Resin Haulers, Inc.
As detailed in the charges, Teamsters union officials hindered Weller from opting out of payments for union activities unrelated to workplace bargaining, failed to provide him with a federally-mandated disclosure of union expenditures, and threatened to get him fired for failing to pay the union’s onerous fees.
Under the Foundation-won Supreme Court precedent Communication Workers v. Beck, nonunion employees cannot be forced to pay for union activities unrelated to workplace negotiation. Foundation attorneys originally filed charges at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for Michael Weller after International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 2 union officials threatened him with termination for failing to pay union dues unrelated to collective bargaining. The NLRB announced it would prosecute, but Weller withdrew his unfair labor practice charges after Teamsters officials agreed to stop threatening him and to refund all illegally-seized forced dues.
Unfortunately, Teamsters officials promptly reneged on their agreement, failing to provide adequate disclosure of union financial expenditures and imposing an onerous annual opt-out requirement on any worker who attempts to withhold payments for activities unrelated to workplace negotiations. The union bosses’ extensive and often-contradictory opt-out processes – as well as their failure to provide an adequate breakdown of what workers’ dues are actually paying for – made it nearly impossible for Weller to refrain from paying for union activities outside the workplace, as is his right.
Moreover, Teamsters bosses again threatened Weller with termination if he refused to comply with their excessive financial demands. Under protest, Weller paid the contested fees to Local 2 to keep his job.
“Teamsters bosses are frequently repeat offenders, and this incident demonstrates a profound disrespect for the rule of law and employee rights,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The only way to protect Montana’s workers is to ensure union membership and dues payments are completely voluntary through passage of a Right to Work law. Anything less leaves the door open to continued abuse of Montana’s employees.”