Union officials collected thousands in forced fees ignoring U.S. Supreme Court mandates
Los Angeles, CA (July 25, 2019) – A Disneyland stage technician has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 504 union and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts for demanding and seizing union fees from his paycheck in violation of his legal rights. The charges were filed at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.
The employee asserted his rights under the Foundation-won Communications Workers of America v. Beck U.S. Supreme Court decision, which requires unions to reduce the compulsory fees charged to workers who refrain from union membership so they are not forced to fund activities such as lobbying and political activism. The Beck decision additionally requires union officials to provide nonmember workers an independently verified audit justifying the amount of the mandatory union fees.
Because California private-sector employees lack the protection of a Right to Work law, they can be fired for refusing to pay fees to a union. However, union officials must charge as a condition of employment only the part of dues Beck permits and follow the Beck procedures before seizing such forced union fees from workers who are not union members.
Mark Stacy is not a member of IATSE and notified the union that he objects to paying the lawfully nonchargeable part of its dues. His charges filed with the NLRB Region 21 office allege that, at IATSE officials’ behest, Disneyland has nonetheless violated Stacy’s rights under federal law by continuing to seize union fees from Stacy’s pay without reducing the fees as Beck requires.
According to Stacy’s charges, IATSE union agents have also never provided him with the financial disclosures Beck requires. Further, neither Disneyland nor IATSE has a dues deduction authorization signed by him, making any and all deductions from his wages illegal.
Other Disney employees in recent years have obtained free legal aid from the Foundation to halt the illegal seizure of dues. Last June, Foundation staff attorneys secured a favorable NLRB ruling for several Walt Disney World employees who had their requests to cut off dues ignored by Florida Teamsters officials. For months, full dues were illegally deducted from their wages by Disney and accepted by Teamsters agents in a blatant breach of federal law and Florida’s Right to Work law.
“The ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ can’t be very happy if its owners and union are violating federal law by ignoring worker rights when it comes to union dues and fees,” observed National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Cases like this show why the workers of the Golden State deserve the protection of a Right to Work law to ensure that union membership and financial support are strictly voluntary.”
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.