Union officials threaten worker to join union or lose her job
Indiana, PA (December 4, 2013) – An Indiana Regional Medical Center nurse has filed a federal unfair labor practice charge against her employer and a local nurse union for violating her rights.
With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Joanna Smith of Clymer filed the charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Starting in August 2003, Smith worked as a per diem float nurse, a position subject to the representation of the Indiana Registered Nurses Association (IRNA) Local 5120 union hierarchy. In June 2011, Smith was moved to a patient advocate position, which was not under the union monopoly bargaining control. Then, in November 2012, Smith returned to a float nurse position.
In her charge against the union, Smith alleges that in September 2013, an IRNA Local 5120 union official illegally demanded that she join the union as a condition of her employment.
Under federal law, no worker can be forced to formally join a union. However, because Pennsylvania is not a Right to Work state, workers can be forced as a condition of employment to pay certain fees to a labor union.
IRNA Local 5120 union officials never informed Smith of her right to refrain from full-dues-paying union membership, a right upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Right to Work Foundation-won Communications Workers v. Beck case.
Smith also received a letter from her employer, which accompanied a union packet of IRNA Local 5120 union membership forms, which stated that she needed to return the union membership forms to her employer "ASAP."
In her charge against the union, Smith requests that the NLRB order the IRNA Local 5120 union brass to inform all nurses under union monopoly bargaining control of their rights to refrain from union membership and retroactively allow workers to resign union membership and full dues payments.
"No worker should ever be forced to join or pay dues to an unwanted union just to get or keep a job," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores why Pennsylvania needs to pass a Right to Work law making union membership and dues payments completely voluntary."
Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for employees. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the Right to Work principle of voluntary unionism.