Fearing a lack of support, union bosses abuse process to prevent employee vote
Auburn, Washington (December 7, 2009) – In a desperate attempt to stall an employee vote at Alan Ritchey, Inc. which would rescind their forced dues privileges, Teamsters Local 117 union bosses filed unfair labor practice charges against the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, asking the federal labor board to block an election sought by the employees.
Stefan Gleason, vice president of National Right to Work, released the following statement regarding the Teamster Local 117 officials’ charges:
“Teamster Local 117 union bosses’ desperate attempt to abuse the process to strip employees of their rightful vote to remove the Teamsters’ forced union dues privileges is outright frivolous. Sensing a lack of support from the employees, Teamsters Local 117 union officials are using procedural gimmicks to keep their forced-dues gravy train going.
“National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys have represented several independent-minded employees who have been targeted by Local 117 union brass during their ongoing campaign of retaliation and harassment against employees who exercise their legal rights to refrain from funding union political activities. It’s downright ludicrous to suggest that a legal foundation located on the other side of the country is somehow coercing the employees who contacted us on their own for help.
“Forced union dues is an outrageous violation of employees’ freedom of association, and it leads to an unaccountable union hierarchy. Union officials don’t want to have to earn the support of rank and file workers, instead preferring to possess the power to get employees fired for nonpayment of union dues.”
With help from Foundation attorneys, Alan Ritchey, Inc. employees Gayle May and Patricia Allen – acting for dozens of other similarly-situated employees of the mail transportation equipment repair and service center – filed unfair labor practice charges against Local 117 last month.
The employees received a letter from union officials giving them only a few days to exercise their Foundation-won legal rights to refrain from paying union dues spent for non-bargaining activities like political activism, lobbying, and member-only events – even though the employees had already exercised these rights – or be fired from their jobs. At about the same time, other Alan Ritchey employees also filed a petition seeking a deauthorization election which would void the forced union dues clause in the contract with their employer.