Union officials misled, discriminated against nonunion employees
Hudson, OH (December 8, 2009) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, a local worker has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) Local 791 union. The charges allege that union officials intentionally discriminated against nonunion employees and failed to inform workers of their right to refrain from union membership.
Janet Barlow is a driver employed at First Student, whose contract with OAPSE gives union officials monopoly bargaining privileges in her workplace. Barlow alleges that union officials failed to notify employees of their rights to opt-out of union membership and the payment of full union dues.
Although workers can be forced to pay certain union dues as a condition of employment, full union membership is strictly voluntary. Moreover, the Foundation-won Supreme Court precedent Communication Workers v. Beck holds that nonunion workers cannot be forced to pay dues earmarked for union activities unrelated to workplace bargaining, including member-only events and political lobbying.
OAPSE officials are also charged with intentionally discriminating against nonunion workers by circulating a notice stating that full union members do not have to pay dues until September 1, 2010, but nonmember employees must begin payments immediately. As a result of this threat, many employees joined the union who otherwise would not have.
Barlow’s charges seek an end to these discriminatory practices and the return of illegally-seized dues. Her allegations will now be investigated by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Barlow has also filed a formal deauthorization petition with the NLRB to remove the unpopular forced dues clause from the union’s contract.
“OAPSE bosses are forcing workers to pay union dues and using discriminatory practices to shove unwilling employees into union ranks,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Although we hope to help Janet Barlow and her coworkers rectify these injustices, the best way to prevent further abuse of this nature would be for Ohio to pass a Right to Work law, making union membership and dues payment strictly voluntary.”