Jackson, MI (October 28, 2009) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, three local employees have filed unfair labor practice charges against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 164 union for obstructing their attempts to opt-out of forced union dues.
Michael Vetrovec, Robert Harris, and Larry Kunk are employed by Perfection Associates L.L.C. in Jackson, Michigan. All three employees object to Teamster membership and attempted to opt-out of paying full union dues.
Because Michigan lacks a Right to Work law, employees can be forced to pay certain union dues as a condition of employment. But the Foundation-won Supreme Court decision Communication Workers v. Beck guarantees the right of workers to opt-out of forced dues intended for purposes other than workplace bargaining, including lobbying, political activism, and members-only activities.
However, Teamsters officials have not stopped collecting forced dues from Vetrovec, Harris, and Kunk earmarked for non-chargeable activities. Union officials have also failed to provide them with an independently audited breakdown of union expenditures, which is required by law to ensure that workers are not being compelled to pay for objectionable activities.
Moreover, union officials told Vetrovec that he would have to sign another check-off form authorizing the automatic payroll deduction of union dues if he wanted to opt-out of dues unrelated to collective bargaining. Previous Foundation-won precedents have also established that non-members cannot be required to authorize automatic dues deduction.
The charges will now be investigated by the National Labor Relations Board.
“While we’re confident that this dispute will be resolved in favor of the workers, no one should have to file federal charges just to keep their hard-earned salary from being diverted to fund a union’s radical politics,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The best way to end this type of abuse would be for Michigan to adopt a Right to Work law, making the payment of union dues strictly voluntary.”
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.