CWA union bosses told worker they would “take him to court” for refusing to go on strike
St. Louis, Missouri (April 13, 2009) – A St. Louis-based AT&T worker has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against a national union for illegal threats in the run-up to an impending national strike.
With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation, David McBride of Granite City, Illinois filed charges alleging that Communication Workers of America (CWA) union officials threatened him with legal action if he refused to go on strike and failed to provide him with a federally-mandated audit of union expenditures.
CWA union officials appear to be on the verge of ordering 20,000 employees to abandon their jobs as part of a nationwide strike against AT&T Mobility. However, numerous employees across the United States have contacted the National Right to Work Foundation for legal advice after being falsely informed by CWA officials that they are obligated to participate in the union’s upcoming work stoppage or face severe penalties.
Foundation attorneys have already helped three New Jersey AT&T employees file unfair labor practice charges against CWA Local 1101.
In St. Louis, union officials demanded that McBride sign a “strike assignment form” despite his previous decision to resign from the union. Union officials threatened to “take [him] to court” if McBride refused to participate in the union-instigated strike.
Under the Supreme Court decision Pattern Makers v. NLRB, workers have an absolute right to resign from formal, full dues-paying union membership at any time. Union officials have no legal power to punish employees for resigning from the union and refusing to abandon their jobs during a strike.
Additionally, CWA Local 6300 union officials refused to provide McBride with a financial breakdown of all union expenditures. Because nonmember employees in non-Right to Work states can still be forced to pay union dues for collective bargaining, this disclosure is required to allow nonunion workers to opt-out of union dues unrelated to workplace negotiations.
Union officials have also told CWA union members in Washington, Michigan, Ohio and New Jersey that any attempt to resign from union membership is strictly 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.
“It’s particularly despicable to threaten workers with legal retaliation 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 officials,” added Gleason.