FLINT, Mich. (August 22, 2001) – A Brighton Interior Systems employee today filed class-action charges against the United Auto Workers (UAW) union after union officials illegally coerced hundreds of workers into joining the union.
Stephen Yokich, UAW International president, was among the union officials served.
With the assistance of National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys, Erik Daly, an employee at the Brighton auto parts factory, filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the UAW Local 599 union and the UAW International union.
“UAW bullies are forcing these workers to join the union under the threat of being fired from their jobs,” said Randy Wanke, Director of Legal Information for the National Right to Work Foundation.
In violation of the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court decision Communications Workers v. Beck, UAW officials demanded that all employees formally join the union and pay full union dues as a condition of employment. Under Beck, union officials may not compel workers to pay for politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining activities. The UAW union, which admits that at least 21% of each member’s union dues goes toward politics and similar activities, issued an illegal ultimatum to Brighton employees telling them to sign membership cards or “join the unemployment line.”
The charges state that since UAW Local 599’s monopoly bargaining contract at Brighton went into effect in July 2001, the union has (with the support of its International union parent) “engaged in a campaign of misrepresentations, coercions, and omissions” such that “not a single employee in this bargaining unit can be considered to be a voluntary member.”
Not only are the union’s demands blatantly unlawful, but under numerous precedents, including Pattern Makers v. NLRB, unions must specifically inform employees of their right to refrain from formal, full dues-paying union membership before seizing any forced union dues.
Foundation attorneys are asking the NLRB to issue a formal complaint against the UAW Local 599 and UAW International unions and declare all union membership and dues deduction cards at Brighton to be null and void. The Foundation is also demanding that union officials provide retroactive refunds of all dues improperly collected and that they be prohibited from collecting any additional dues until they inform employees of their rights and halt their systematic violations of law.
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.