Union Bosses Levy Retaliatory Strike Fine Against Worker After Telling Him to Continue Working During Strike
Worker fined over $7,300 for exercising his right to refrain from formal union membership
Kansas City, MO (May 9, 2012) – A Honeywell nuclear assembly worker has filed a federal charge against a local union for retaliating against him with a $7,361.36 fine for exercising his right to refrain from union membership and continue to do his job during a union boss-instigated strike.
With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys, Daniel Gudde filed the charge with the National Labor Relations Board regional office in Overland Park, Kansas on Friday.
Gudde began working at Honeywell in late September believing he had to join the International Association of Machinist (IAM) Local Lodge 778 union. In early October, IAM Local 778 union officials instigated a strike. Gudde and three of his coworkers were unsure if they had to go on strike as union members or if they had to fulfill a required 30 day probationary period of employment.
Union officials told Gudde and his colleagues to continue to work to complete the 30 day probationary period. After the probationary period, union bosses obligated Gudde and his coworkers to leave their jobs at the nuclear facility. Union members bound by the union's constitution and bylaws can be fined for continuing to work during a strike.
After the 30 day period, Gudde learned of his right to resign from full dues paying union membership at any time. He notified the IAM union hierarchy that he was resigning from formal union membership when his 30 day period ended and returned to work after a couple of days. Workers who refrain from union membership are not subject to a union's constitution and bylaws and cannot be fined or otherwise disciplined for working during a strike.
However, because Missouri does not have a Right to Work law, Gudde is still forced to pay a certain amount of union dues and fees to the union.
In mid-March, IAM union bosses fined Gudde $7,361.36 for working during the strike. Moreover, three coworkers who did not resign from the union but also worked during the 30 day probation period were not fined, thus suggesting the fine was in retaliation for Gudde exercising his rights.
"Cynical IAM union bosses are retaliating against a worker for exercising his rights to continue providing for himself and his family during a strike, even after they told him to keep working," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "These types of compulsory unionism injustices will continue to occur until Missouri passes Right to Work protections for its workers."