According to news reports, United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union officials have ordered over 30,000 Stop & Shop grocery employees on strike in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
The situation raises serious concerns for employees who believe there is much to lose from a union-ordered strike, which is why workers frequently contact the Foundation to learn how they can avoid fines and other vicious union discipline for continuing to report to work to support themselves and their families.
The fact is employees indeed have the right to rebuff union strike demands under federal labor law, but it is important you read the following before you do so.
You should learn about your rights from independent sources and should not rely on what self-interested union officials tell you. For five decades, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has worked in the courts to expand and protect the rights of individual employees in such situations. It is the nation’s premier organization exclusively dedicated to providing free legal assistance to employee victims of forced unionism abuse.
Stop & Shop employees should know they have the following rights:
1) You have the right to resign your membership in the union. If you don’t support this union, you can send the union a letter resigning your membership.
2) You have the right to go to work even if the union bosses ordered a strike. Union officials can (and often do) fine actual union members who work during a strike. So, you should seriously consider resigning BEFORE you return to work during a strike, which is the only way to avoid these union fines and discipline. See Union Discipline and Employee Rights.
3) You also have the right to revoke your dues check-off and stop allowing the union hierarchy to collect money from your paycheck every week. You can send letters to the union and your employer revoking your authorization to have union dues deducted from your paycheck during periods when there is no collective bargaining agreement in effect.
4) If you wish to eject an unaccountable union hierarchy from your workplace, you have the right to sign a decertification petition to obtain a secret ballot election to do so. See Decertification Election.
A sample letter for employees who wish to resign their union membership and revoke their dues check-off is here. Or you use the specific sample letters for the UFCW Locals involved in the strike:
- Local 328 (Click here for the pdf version)
- Local 371 (Click here for the pdf version)
- Local 919 (Click here for the pdf version)
- Local 1445 (Click here for the pdf version)
- Local 1459 (Click here for the pdf version)
NOTE: If possible, use certified mail, return receipt requested, and save copies of your letters and the return receipt to prove delivery. If you hand deliver a resignation and/or dues deduction revocation, make sure that you have a reliable witness to the delivery. In our experience, it is not uncommon for angry and dishonest union officials to pretend they did not actually receive resignations and initiate proceedings against non-striking workers anyway.
Go to About Your Legal Rights: Private Sector Employee to learn more about your rights.
[Last updated: 4/12/19]