Philadelphia, PA and Baltimore, MD (December 16, 2009) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, four workers forced to pay fees to a regional Teamsters union council have filed unfair labor practice charges against the union for providing inadequate financial disclosure and illegally threatening to have workers who didn’t pay fired.
Under the Foundation-won Supreme Court precedent Communication Workers v. Beck, nonmember employees can be forced to pay certain union dues as a condition of employment, but they cannot be compelled to pay for politics, lobbying, and member-only events. Union officials are also legally obligated to inform workers of these rights and to provide workers with an independently verified audit of chargeable and non-chargeable expenses.
Graphic Communications Conference/International Brotherhood of Teamsters, District Council 9, union bosses have exclusive representation power over employees at Perfecseal, Inc. in Philadelphia, PA, and Standard Register in Salisbury, MD, but have not provided nonmember employees with the level of disclosure Beck requires. Nonmembers’ “agency fees” paid to the union council have increased by a greater percentage than corresponding increases in dues amounts for union members, and union bosses are demanding that the nonmembers pay the increased fees or be fired without providing an adequate breakdown of expenditures.
Additionally, the union maintains an illegal policy requiring nonmembers to renew their objection annually or be converted to full union member status and thus be forced to pay full union dues. The National Labor Relations Board Regional Directors in Philadelphia and Baltimore will now investigate the charges and decide whether to prosecute the union before an administrative law judge.
“If Pennsylvania and Maryland adopted Right to Work laws banning forced unionism, independent-minded employees would be able to defend their freedom of association,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The only way to stop future abuse is to make all union dues voluntary.”
The charging parties are Michael Lee Jones at Standard Register and Awa Ereforokuma, Huan Tang, and Thomas Wells at Perfecseal for themselves and other similarly situated employees.
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.