Jeffersonville, Ind. (November 7, 2003) – A Jeffboat factory worker at the company plant outside Louisville, Kentucky, today filed a second round of federal charges against the Teamsters union for failing to provide employees with a legally mandated independent audit of both the local and international unions’ books and records.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to pursue a related case after finding that the union illegally demands that employees to sign union membership forms and agree to payroll deduction of union dues.
Enjoying free legal aid from attorneys with the National Right to Work Foundation, Jeffboat worker Michael Bell filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Teamsters Union Local 89. Meanwhile, the NLRB has scheduled a January 14th hearing to prosecute the union for the earlier charges.
“Teamsters union officials have tried to make an example of Michael Bell so that other workers will think twice before defying their edicts,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This kind of abuse is inevitable until Kentucky passes a Right to Work law which would prohibit union officials from forcing employees to pay union dues in order to keep a job.”
In July 2002, Bell resigned his formal membership from the union and asserted his right to pay only a reduced fee to the union for its proven collective bargaining costs. Teamsters union officials retaliated by banning Bell from ever rejoining the union while continuing to demand that he pay dues and fees – a practice that the courts and the NLRB have repeatedly found to be illegal.
The actions of Teamsters union officials violate worker protections recognized by the Foundation-won Communications Workers v. Beck U.S. Supreme Court decision. Under Beck, workers are allowed to resign from formal union membership and halt and reclaim the portion of forced union dues spent on activities unrelated to collective bargaining, such as politics, lobbying, organizing, and public relations.
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, is assisting thousands of employees in almost 200 cases nationwide.