Attorney General Thurbert Baker Ignores Georgians’ Pleas, Stands Idly by While Union Bosses Force Workers to Pay Union Dues
Atlanta, GA (March 12, 2009) – National Right to Work Foundation president Mark Mix called upon Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to defend Georgia’s cherished Right to Work law that is in danger of becoming a dead letter as a result of a sloppy Georgia appellate court ruling and an Attorney General who has so far refused to defend the law.
“On behalf of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the union-abused Georgia employees it is assisting, I urge you to use the power granted to you by the laws of the State of Georgia to ensure that Georgia’s longstanding and popular Right to Work law is enforced,” Mix urged Governor Perdue.
“Moreover, in this time of economic crisis, the last thing workers in Georgia should have to worry about is being forced to pay money to self-interested union bosses as a condition of getting or keeping their jobs. And the last thing Georgia needs is for union bosses to flex their muscles and scare away new job opportunities,” continued Mix in the letter.
Attorneys at the National Right to Work Foundation are providing free legal aid to eleven dockworkers at the port of Savannah who are forced to pay a significant portion of their paychecks to Longshoremen union bosses as a condition of obtaining employment. Longshoremen Local 1414 union bosses have demanded that the eleven nonmember employees pay so-called “fees” – as much as $1.33 per hour worked – just for obtaining jobs through a union-controlled hiring hall.
But Georgia’s longstanding and popular Right to Work law unambiguously states that “[n]o individual shall be required as a condition of employment or continuance of employment to pay any fee, assessment, or other sum of money whatsoever to a labor organization.”
Nonetheless, in late January, the Georgia Court of Appeals, affirming a lower court ruling, took the surprising and arbitrary ruling that the Georgia Right to Work law does not apply to a hiring hall scenario, and federal labor law somehow does not permit states to prohibit unions from forcing workers to pay monies to an exclusive union hiring hall. Foundation attorneys have pointed out that the Peachtree State’s Right to Work law unambiguously prohibits any mandate on employees to pay a union for the privilege to work, and state Right to Work laws cannot be preempted by federal law in this regard.
The case, Perry v. International Longshoremen Association 1414, is currently on appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Foundation attorneys asked Attorney General Thurbert Baker to intervene to defend the Right to Work law before the Georgia Supreme Court and to criminally enforce the Right to Work law at the port of Savannah (violations of the Right to Work law are misdemeanor offenses under Georgia law). Thousands of Georgians have also written to the attorney general, but he has taken no action to defend the law.
The download the full text of the letter, click here.