Local Union Faces Charges for Illegally Collecting Dues from Nonmember for Politics, Union Strike Fund
School custodian files charges with the National Labor Relations Board
Flushing, NY (October 29, 2013) – Kennedy Richards, a local custodian, has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against the 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU) after union officials illegally forced him to contribute to a union strike fund and union political activities. Richards is receiving free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.
In New York and other states without Right to Work laws, nonunion employees can be forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment. However, nonunion workers cannot be required to pay dues for union activities unrelated to workplace bargaining, such as union politics and the provision of members-only benefits.
Union officials are obligated to provide independently-audited financial disclosures to nonunion employees to help them determine what dues they have to contribute. According to financial disclosure forms Richards received from 32BJ SEIU, he was being charged for contributions to a union strike fund – a fund nonmembers are ineligible to draw money from – and for union political activity.
Richards is also challenging an SEIU policy that requires nonunion employees to annually renew their objections to paying union dues unrelated to workplace bargaining.
The charges will now be investigated by the National Labor Relations Board, a federal agency responsible for administering private sector labor law.
“Instead of respecting the rights of nonunion employees, SEIU bosses forced Kennedy Richards to subsidize their political agenda and a union strike fund he can’t even receive payments from,” said Patrick Semmens, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “They also require nonunion employees to go through an onerous opt-out procedure every year if they want to continue to pay less than full union dues.”
“We hope these charges will allow Richards to reclaim some of his hard-earned money, but the only way to ensure that nonunion workers aren’t forced to pay union dues is a New York Right to Work law, which would make union membership and dues payments strictly voluntary.”