CWA union officials refuse to stop union dues seizures without legal basis
Albion, Nebraska (October 1, 2009) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, a local worker has filed unfair labor practice charges against the Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 7476 union for blocking his attempt to stop paying union dues after resigning from union membership.
James Getzfred, an employee of Source Gas, resigned from the union and attempted to revoke authorization for union dues deduction on September 9, 2009. Instead of complying with his request, CWA bosses told Getzfred that he’d have to wait for a union-designated “window period” before he could opt out of union dues.
Nebraska is a Right to Work state, which means workers cannot be forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Prior Supreme Court precedents have also established that employees have the right to resign from union membership at any time. However, CWA bosses now argue that an obscure legal technicality prevents workers who have resigned from union membership from ending dues payments until they explicitly opt-out during a union-prescribed window period.
Under federal law, this window period requirement can only be enforced if an employee explicitly agrees to it when he or she first authorizes the payroll deduction of union dues. So far, CWA bosses have been unable to produce Getzfred’s original authorization to demonstrate that he agreed to the CWA’s window period.
Moreover, the CWA local’s current dues authorization form includes no language that obligates union members to adhere to a window period if they resign from union membership and wish to stop paying union dues.
Getzfred’s charges seek an immediate end to further forced dues collection and a retroactive reimbursement of union dues from the date of his resignation. The charges also demand that CWA officials notify all Source Gas employees of their right to resign from union membership and stop paying union dues at any time.
“CWA union bosses seem more interested in exploiting rank-and-file workers and extracting union dues than respecting their rights,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “James Getzfred wants nothing to do with this union, but these union bosses are thumbing their noses at Nebraska’s popular, job-creating Right to Work law with the hope of preventing other workers from exercising their rights as well.”