**Pensacola, FL (October 2, 2007)** – After nearly a four year delay, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has agreed to prosecute the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union for requiring employees at Vertex Aerospace, LLC to object annually to prevent union officials from spending their compulsory union dues for political activities.
The case puts in the spotlight a common union tactic used to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in forced union dues spent on Big Labor’s political agenda.
National Right to Work Foundation attorneys helped Robert Prime, an employee at the Naval Air Station, originally file unfair labor practice charges in December 2003 against the IAM union, as well as District Lodge 75 and Local Lodge 2777. The charges allege that union officials violated his rights by forcing him to renew every single year his objection to funding union political advocacy. The NLRB has scheduled a hearing that will take place before an Administrative Law Judge on December 10.
In November 2003, Prime had filed an objection with IAM union officials to funding their political activities, as the Foundation-won Communications Workers of America v. Beck decision permits. The Beck decision recognized that workers have the right to refrain from formal union membership and cannot be forced to pay for activities unrelated to collective bargaining. However, when Prime asked union officials to honor his request as a “continuing objection,” IAM officials refused, claiming that Prime and his coworkers must object annually because they are not subject to the Railway Labor Act (RLA).
In 2000, a U.S. District Court struck down the IAM union’s nationwide policy requiring annual objections from employees seeking a rebate of dues spent for activities unrelated to collective bargaining. However, the ruling technically only applied to employees covered by the RLA. IAM union officials maintain that employees working under the National Labor Relations Act are, therefore, still required to object annually even though the policy is discriminatory and arbitrary, as three federal courts have held.
“Thumbing their noses at a federal court ruling, IAM union officials are forcing employees to jump over hurdles to stymie them from reclaiming their forced union dues,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
Florida’s highly-popular Right to Work law, on the books since 1944, is one of 22 state laws that secure the right of employees to decide for themselves whether or not to join or financially support a union. However, because Vertex Aerospace employees work on federal property under “exclusive federal jurisdiction,” the state’s Right to Work law does not protect those workers from being forced to pay union dues in order to keep their jobs.
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.