Greenbrier employee’s case demonstrates tactics used by union bosses to extort forced dues
White Sulphur Springs, WV- A Greenbrier Hotel employee has filed a federal unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Laborers’ International Union of North America, Local 1182. Reginald Gibbs filed the charge with free legal representation provided by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys. The charge states that union officials violated his rights by using mandatory union fees for lobbying efforts and failing to provide necessary disclosures of spending by union affiliates.
Gibbs, a slot machine technician at West Virginia’s historic Greenbrier Hotel & Resort, previously turned to National Right to Work Foundation attorneys for help in filing a motion to intervene in a court case defending West Virginia’s Right to Work law. That law ensures that union membership and financial support are completely voluntary. In that lawsuit, the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the law should go into effect, with the Chief Justice calling a lower court’s decision to grant a preliminary injunction against the Right to Work law a “monumental failure of legal reasoning.”
Although the state Supreme Court’s ruling means that the Right to Work law is currently in effect, forced dues contracts entered into before the law’s enactment, such as that at the Greenbrier, are exempted from the law. Thus, Local 1182 officials can have Gibbs fired for not paying union fees. However, even absent full Right to Work protections, workers are entitled to certain protections under the National Labor Relations Act as interpreted in the 1988 Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court case Communications Workers v. Beck.
After receiving his Beck-mandated notice and audit that should explain in detail how forced union dues were being spent, Gibbs noticed several discrepancies that violate his rights. Specifically, as his NLRB charge notes, union officials improperly used dues for political lobbying efforts and failed to adequately disclose how the dues were spent by union affiliates. The NLRB will now investigate the charge.
“Despite U.S. Supreme Court precedent that has been the law for almost 30 years, union officials routinely violate the rights of the workers they claim to represent, to extract extra money from their paychecks,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Fortunately, due to West Virginia’s new Right to Work law, once the current union contract expires, union bosses will no longer be able to play games with the union audit process, because Mr. Gibbs can finally stop all union payments.”
“This case provides another vivid example of why West Virginia workers need the protections provided by the Mountain State’s Right to Work law,” added Mix.
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.