Union officials attempted to illegally force worker to pay dues after the union’s contract expired
Mayville, WI (July 28, 2009) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, a Mayville-based AT&T employee has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against a local union for a series of illegal demands.
In charges filed last Friday at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), John Scott of Campbellsport, Wisconsin details a litany of abuses involving the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 4622 union and its national affiliate, including an illegal attempt to force workers to continue to pay dues after the union’s contract with their employer expired. Union officials’ previous agreement with AT&T contained a provision requiring nonmember employees to pay certain union dues or be fired from their jobs, but now that the agreement has lapsed, nonunion workers cannot be compelled to pay any dues whatsoever.
These allegations follow several other reports of unlawful coercion of AT&T workers at the hands of CWA operatives. AT&T employees in St. Louis recently filed similar charges, indicating that CWA officials forced them to pay dues after their contract with AT&T expired.
Scott also alleges that CWA officials refused to recognize his right to refrain from paying union dues unrelated to collective bargaining. Under the Foundation-won Supreme Court precedent Communication Workers v. Beck, nonunion workers can be forced to pay certain dues as a condition of employment, but they cannot be compelled to fund any union activities unrelated to bargaining, such as political activism, lobbying, and public relations.
Although union officials never formally acknowledged Scott’s right not to pay certain dues, they also insisted that any worker who opted-out of fees unrelated to workplace bargaining must annually renew their objections. Despite several adverse rulings from administrative law judges, CWA officials continue to force workers to annually renew their objections to union dues.
With AT&T contracts expiring nationwide, union bosses appear to be ramping up their efforts to keep unwilling employees in line. Other charges filed with the assistance of National Right to Work Foundation attorneys in St. Louis and New Jersey allege that CWA operatives attempted to force nonunion workers to abandon their jobs at the drop of a hat in the event of a CWA strike.
“It’s absurd that AT&T employees are forced to jump through this many hoops just to reclaim their forced union dues,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “No worker should be forced to pay tribute to a union boss just to get or keep a job.”