Studio Teacher Hits Union with Federal Labor Board Charges After Being Fired for Not Paying Union Dues
Union bosses retaliated against studio teacher for non-membership despite her efforts to join the union
Los Angeles, California (May 13, 2009) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, a Venice-based employee of Hesher Productions, LLC has filed unfair labor practice charges against the company and the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 884 union for her illegal termination.
Mandy Diassellis was formerly employed as a studio teacher by Hesher Productions in Santa Monica. Thinking she had an obligation to do so, she tried to join IATSE Local 884, but she was refused membership and subsequently fired for not joining the union. The charges will now be investigated by the National Labor Relations Board.
Because California does not have a Right to Work law making union membership and dues payment voluntary, workers are routinely forced to pay union dues or lose their jobs. However, federal labor statutes do not impose a forced dues requirement until workers have been employed in the same bargaining unit for at least 30 days. Further, under federal law, when an employee is barred from union membership for a reason unrelated to nonpayment of dues, the union loses its special legal privilege to compel any dues payment whatsoever.
Diassellis was not a member of IATSE Local 884 and had not been employed by Hesher Productions for more than 30 days, and therefore could not yet be legally forced to pay union dues or join the union. However, Diassellis did attempt to join the union, not understanding that formal membership was not required by law, but was then rebuffed by IATSE union officials anyway. After rejecting her attempt to join the union, union officials ordered her employer to fire her for not having joined the union or paid dues.
The charges filed by Foundation attorneys seek the immediate reinstatement of Diassellis to her job, as well as payment of back pay owed her since the day she was fired.
“For whatever reasons, union bosses wanted Mandy Diassellis fired, and they flagrantly broke the law in doing so,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Union bosses in the entertainment industry have routinely ignored federal labor laws in an effort to maintain monopoly control of who is hired and who is fired. We intend to challenge and stop this flagrant violation of employee rights.”