**Batavia, IL (November 2, 2007)** – The bus company First Group, Inc. and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1028 have been hit with federal labor board charges for illegally bargaining over employees who the union does not even represent. First Group employee Russell Haasch filed the charges at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) earlier this week with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys.
As Haasch details in his charges, ATU union officials have been negotiating a contract with First Group, despite the fact that Haasch and his coworkers had successfully ousted the union earlier this year. According to First Group’s website, on October 1 the UK-based transit company completed the purchase of Haasch’s employer, Laidlaw Transit.
In Spring 2007, Haasch collected signatures from an overwhelming majority of his co-workers and in June presented the petition to their employer Laidlaw Transit, which legally and properly ended its recognition of the ATU union as the monopoly bargaining agent for the approximately 160 employees. Only recently did Haasch and his co-workers realize that their new employer, First Group, was negotiating a contract with ATU officials, despite the fact that the employees had successfully shown that the union did not have their support.
According to the National Labor Relations Act, by bargaining over the contracts of employees that the union does not legally represent, the union and First Group are engaging in illegal “pre-recognition” bargaining. As part of their negotiations, the union is once again seeking a forced-dues clause in the contract that makes payment of union dues a job requirement. Indeed, union officials have been given access to First Group facilities and are now demanding that employees pay union dues or be fired.
“Union officials and First Group management are illegally attempting to force this unpopular union down employees’ throats,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “With the lack of respect these union officials have for the employees, it is not surprising that workers rejected the union last June.”
The unfair labor practice charges ask the NLRB to seek an injunction to immediately stop First Group from continuing to negotiate a contract with the rogue ATU union and to cease all demands for union dues. The NLRB Regional Director will now investigate the charges and decide whether to prosecute the charges and seek injunctive relief.
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.