Case highlights need for Right to Work protections for Minnesota workers, to ensure union membership and dues payment are strictly voluntary
Minneapolis, Minn. (May 16, 2019) – An ex-employee of CRH Companies Midwest Region, a building materials supplier, has filed unfair labor practice charges against the Teamsters Local 120 union and his former employer with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after being illegally fired. According to the charges, the worker was told – falsely – by both a Teamsters official and a company representative that he was required to join the union as a condition of employment.
James Connolly was first misinformed by union officials on April 2, when he inquired in an email to a Teamsters Local 120 Agent whether or not he would be compelled into joining the union as part of the job. The union’s reply came the same day, with an official wrongly telling Connolly, “Sorry James but yes you do have to join.” Later, on May 1, a representative of CRH Companies reiterated the same false information to Connolly. Connolly responded to the company in a May 9 email in which he expressed his desire not to join the Teamsters.
The next day, Connolly was fired in an email from his employer, specifically because he did not join the union. He then obtained free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, whose staff attorneys helped him file the NLRB unfair labor practice charges.
Minnesota is not a Right to Work state and thus allows unions to force nonmembers to pay some union fees as a condition of employment. However, all workers have a right not to formally join a union, and termination based on union non-membership is a clear violation of federal law.
Connolly’s charge also requests that the NLRB go to federal court and seek a “Section 10(j)” injunction against both the company and the Teamsters remedying the illegal termination.
“James Connolly is fighting for his rights against union boss bullies who have violated longstanding federal law,” said National Right to Work President Mark Mix. “While this termination is blatantly illegal, it also underscores the need for Minnesota workers to have the protection of a Right to Work law, which would ensure that union membership and financial support are completely voluntary, and at the sole discretion of each individual employee.”
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.