4 Dec 2018

New Jersey Teachers Expose Forced Unionism Scheme as “Un-American”

Posted in TV & Radio

Two New Jersey teachers are challenging a state law that they called out as “un-American” during a recent television interview.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Janus v. AFSCME decision in June declared that public employees should be allowed resign their union membership and stop paying union dues whenever they choose. But union officials blocked teachers Susan G. Fischer and Jeanette Speck from doing just that.

Fischer and Speck recently filed a class action lawsuit, with free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, after school district officials in the Township of Ocean refused to allow them to stop paying union membership dues.

During an interview with NJTV, a PBS affiliate based in New Jersey, Fischer clarified that she is not opposed unions. Instead, Fischer said that she and Speck filed their lawsuit out of a sense of basic fairness.

“I am not anti-union. I am a team player. I’ve been a teacher for 30 years,” Fischer explained. She later added: “You have to pay if you join and pay if you don’t join. That was so un-American to us.”

School district officials had claimed that the teachers could only stop payments and withdraw during a 10-day “window period” every year.

Foundation staff attorney William Messenger explained that this “window period” scheme was allowed under a New Jersey law. Messenger said this “basically means for 355 to 356 days of every year, public employees in New Jersey can’t exercise their Janus rights.”

The lawsuit challenges the New Jersey law as unconstitutional under Janus. The High Court said that union bosses cannot force public-sector workers to pay union membership dues and fees, since this violates the First Amendment.

The teachers are suing New Jersey Governor Phil Murphey, the New Jersey Education Association, and the Township of Ocean Education Association, seeking a refund of membership dues forcibly taken after they resigned their union membership, as well as for all other public employees who attempted to resign following Janus.

15 Sep 2015

National Right to Work Foundation Labor Day Media Roundup

Posted in TV & Radio

Over the Labor Day weekend, National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix spread the message of worker freedom on television programs, in radio interviews, and in newspaper columns across the country.

On C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, Mix made the moral and economic case for Right to Work laws and answered questions about the latest developments in labor law. Watch the video here:

In a column in the Washington Times, Mix discussed an upcoming case at the United States Supreme Court that builds on Foundation-won precedents in which the Court expressed skepticism about the constitutionality of public sector union officials’ forced-dues power.

The incestuous relationship between public-sector unions and politicians busts budgets and erodes democratic accountability. But without ready access to forced-dues cash, government unions’ political influence would decline dramatically. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has just agreed to hear a case that strikes at the heart of public-sector unions’ forced-dues privileges. In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a group of nonunion public school teachers is challenging a union policy that requires them to pay any union dues at all to keep their jobs.

Friedrichs gives the court an opportunity to outlaw all mandatory union dues in the public sector. To be clear, such a ruling wouldn’t end government unions. Employees who genuinely support a labor organization would still be free to join up and pay dues. What it would do, however, is limit government unions’ outsized political influence.

In columns in states with Right to Work laws, Mix invited workers and job creators to “celebrate the Right to Work advantage.” From the Tulsa World:

According to data compiled by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, Right to Work states have enjoyed higher private-sector job growth and larger wage increases over the past decade than their forced-unionism counterparts. No only that, but after adjusting for states’ differing costs of living, residents in Right to Work states enjoy more disposable income than their non-Right to Work neighbors.

The connection between Right to Work laws and better economic performance shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Business experts consistently rank the presence of Right to Work laws as one of the most important factors companies consider when deciding where to expand or relocate their facilities where they will create new jobs.

In Michigan, one of the country’s newest Right to Work states, Mix took to the pages of the Detroit News to educate autoworkers about their newfound rights:

Are you an autoworker? A member of the UAW? Are you tired of paying dues or fed up with your union’s policies? When the UAW’s contracts with the Big Three automakers expire later this month, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin autoworkers will finally have the chance to decide for themselves if paying dues to UAW officials is a good use of their money.

Meanwhile, in states without Right to Work laws, Mix made the case for protecting worker freedom in newspapers including the Chicago Sun-Times:

So as you celebrate the coming three-day weekend, consider the benefits of Right to Work. Consider your unemployed neighbor that might find a job. Consider the new manufacturing plant that might open its doors. Consider what you might do with an extra $2,000 of spending power in your pocket.

Will your state be the next Right to Work state?


The Foundation relies completely on voluntary contributions from our supporters to provide free legal aid. Please chip in with a tax-deductible contribution of $10 or more today to support the Foundation’s programs.

17 Jul 2015

Connecticut State Employees Win Settlement Protecting their Right to Refrain from Paying for Union Politics

Posted in TV & Radio

Hartford, CT (July 17, 2015) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, eight state employees have reached a class-wide settlement with several state officials and the Connecticut State Employee Association (CSEA)/SEIU Local 2001 union that protects their right to opt out of paying dues for union politics. The agreement covers 215 state workers and ensures that employees who resigned from the union and objected to paying dues for union politics but did not have their objections honored will receive refunds pursuant to the terms of the agreement.

In Connecticut and other states without Right to Work laws, employees can be forced to pay union dues or fees to keep their jobs. However, the Foundation-won Supreme Court precedent Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson established that nonunion civil servants are due certain procedural protections of their right to refrain from paying dues or fees for activities unrelated to workplace bargaining, such as union political activism.

15 Jul 2015

Teacher Union Lawyers Threaten Sanctions in Legal Challenge to Contract that Sold Out Teachers for 10 Years of Forced Union Dues

Posted in TV & Radio

National Right to Work Foundation staff attorney attacked for brief calling out contract to circumvent Right to Work protections for teachers in exchange for pay cuts

Taylor, Michigan (July 15, 2015) – Staff attorneys at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation have responded to a motion for sanctions filed for the American Federation of Teachers Local 1085 union.

The motion for sanctions was filed after the National Right to Work Foundation filed an amicus curiae brief in a case involving Local 1085 in which union bosses have been found to have unlawfully rushed into a 10 year forced-dues “union security” contract with Taylor School District after they offered major concessions, including a 10% pay cut for teachers, in a separate monopoly bargaining agreement.

In December 2012, Michigan workers gained new workplace rights when Michigan passed a Right to Work law. Fearing the loss of their forced-dues funded power, Local 1085 union officials entered into a standalone 10 year compulsory unionism agreement and a separate monopoly bargaining agreement in January 2013, hoping that the forced-dues contract would fall under the “grandfather clause” of Michigan’s Right to Work law, which did not take effect until March 2013.

8 Jul 2015

Golf Channel Workers Cleared for Vote on Removing Union Despite Union Boss Attempts to Block Election

Posted in TV & Radio

IATSE union officials unsuccessfully attempted to use bureaucratic hurdles to have NLRB toss out worker’s petition to remove the union as monopoly bargaining representative

 

Atlanta, GA (July 8, 2015) – Workers at the Golf Channel will get to vote on whether or not to remove the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) union as the monopoly bargaining representative for technicians who produce golf tournaments and other programming for the channel, which is part of NBCUniversal and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA). With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation, Golf Channel employee John Gallagher filed a petition requesting a decertification election with the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) regional office in Atlanta, and the petition was granted on July 6 after a two day hearing demanded by union officials.

Gallagher collected the necessary number of signatures from his fellow employees, and filed the petition on June 12th. IATSE union bosses responded by demanding a hearing to try to block the vote from taking place, and asked the NLRB to dismiss the petition on technical procedural grounds. According to the union claims, Gallagher’s petition was tainted because he failed to submit a “Statement of Position form” and a “statement of procedures form” as required by the NLRB’s new convoluted “ambush” election rules that took effect in mid-April.

However, the NLRB Regional Director sided with Gallagher, and agreed that it was a technical oversight, because the union suffered no harm when it did not receive the two forms from Gallagher, but it did receive them from the Region. Thus, Gallagher’s petition was deemed valid.  

 
2 Jul 2015

NRTW Foundation Attorneys Respond to Union Attempt to Silence Pro-Right to Work Employees

Posted in TV & Radio

On May 12, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief defending Wisconsin’s recently-enacted Right to Work law on behalf or four Wisconsin workers. The brief was filed in response to an International Association of Machinists (IAM) union lawsuit challenging the Badger State’s recent labor reforms in Dane County Circuit Court.

However, IAM union lawyers are now asking the court not to accept the brief. Responding to this union attempt to silence the viewpoints of pro-Right to Work employees, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty have now filed another brief with the Court, this time rebutting the IAM’s attempt to keep the four Wisconsin workers from defending their Right to Work law.   

22 Jun 2015

School Bus Driver Files Federal Labor Charges Against Teamsters Union That Had Him Fired For Not Paying Union Dues

Posted in TV & Radio
School Bus Driver Files Federal Labor Charges Against Teamsters Union That Had Him Fired For Not Paying Union Dues
 Foundation staff attorneys file charges with NLRB after union officials disregard Supreme Court protections for nonmember workers and carry out threat to have worker fired
 
Fairbanks, AK (June 22, 2015) – National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys filed federal unfair labor practice charges against Teamsters Local 959 on behalf of bus driver Scott Bracy who was illegally fired from his job for not paying forced dues and fees to the union. Charges were also filed against Bracy’s employer, First Student Management, LLC.

The charges, filed with the National Labor Relations Board, state that Teamsters union officials failed to follow U.S. Supreme Court-required procedures while demanding payment from Bracy, a dispute over which union officials eventually had First Student fire Bracy. The charges also state that Teamsters officials are seeking an illegal assessment.

As an employee of First Student, Bracy worked as a school bus driver in Fairbanks, Alaska. Teamsters Local 959 union officials have a monopoly bargaining contract with Bracy’s former employer. Because Alaska has not yet passed a state Right to Work law, workers can be forced to pay fees to a union as a condition of employment.
16 Jun 2015

Nurse Wins NLRB Settlement Against Union for Illegal Policies Designed to Infringe on Right to Resign

Posted in TV & Radio
Nurse Wins NLRB Settlement Against Union for Illegal Policies Designed to Infringe on Right to Resign
NRTW Foundation staff attorneys asking NLRB to inform other nurses of settlement through union email system to avoid keeping them in the dark about their rights 
 
Olympia, WA (June 16, 2015) – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a unilateral settlement between United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 (UFCW 21) and Sandra Dickson in response to unfair labor practice charges filed by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys for Dickson.

Dickson worked as a registered nurse at Providence St. Peter Hospital. She was not a union member, but because Washington is a forced unionism state, Dickson was required as a condition of employment to fork over a portion of her paycheck to union bosses for so-called “agency fees.”

On December 29, 2014, charges were filed with the NLRB against UFCW 21 regarding an illegal “window period” restriction in the current collective bargaining contract and a requirement that workers provide their social security number in order to exercise their Beck rights to object to paying for activities unrelated to bargaining. “Window period” restrictions limit when union members can resign their membership, contrary to US Supreme Court precedent that union members have the right to resign their union membership at any time, for any reason. 
15 Jun 2015

Nonunion Corrections Officers File Suit against Governor, Teamsters Union over Illegal Forced Dues

Posted in TV & Radio
Nonunion Corrections Officers File Suit against Governor, Teamsters Union over Illegal Forced Dues
Lawsuit challenges forced union dues for Washington State public employees and union failure to provide disclosures mandated by U.S. Supreme Court
 
Tacoma, WA (June 15, 2015) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys and the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation, one retired and four current Washington State correctional officers have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Governor Jay Inslee, two high-ranking state Department of Corrections officials, and the Teamsters Local 117 union. The lawsuit challenges Teamster policies that discourage nonunion correctional officers from opting out of paying full union dues.

Gabriel Forest, Arthur Henderson, Joshua Lenss, and William McLaughlin are currently employed as correctional officers at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center. A fifth plaintiff, Michael Wageblast, retired from the State Department of Corrections in February 2015. All five plaintiffs have exercised their right to resign from the union. However, Teamsters Local 117 officials are empowered by state statute to collect dues and negotiate wages and working conditions for all employees within the plaintiffs’ bargaining unit, including nonmembers.

Teamsters Local 117 officials violated nonunion correctional officers’ rights by failing to provide them with adequate information about the union’s expenditures and sufficient opportunity to opt out of paying full union dues. Under the National Right to Work Foundation-won Hudson Supreme Court precedent, nonunion civil servants are entitled to information about union expenditures and a chance to refrain from paying union dues for anything unrelated to workplace bargaining, such as political activism.
 
10 Jun 2015

School Bus Driver Wins Precedent: Michigan Public Employees Can Stop Paying Union Dues at Any Time

Posted in TV & Radio
School Bus Driver Wins Precedent: Michigan Public Employees Can Stop Paying Union Dues at Any Time
MERC votes that Teamster union officials violated Right to Work law by requiring workers to wait for a “window period” to stop paying dues 
Howell, MI (June 10, 2015) – Yesterday, the Michigan Employee Relations Commission (MERC) unanimously decided to strike down a Teamster Local 214 policy that required Pauline Beutler and other employees to wait for a union-designated “window period” to stop paying union dues. Beutler, a school bus driver with the Livingston Education Service Agency, challenged the Teamsters’ policy with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.
 
Beutler filed charges with the MERC against the Teamsters in October 2013 after she attempted to leave the union and stop paying union dues. Instead of complying with Beutler’s request, union officials told her that she would have to wait until July 2014 before she could revoke her dues deduction authorization and stop paying union dues. A dues deduction authorization is a document union officials use to collect dues or fees directly from workers’ paychecks.
 
Beutler argued that Michigan’s Right to Work law, which went into effect in March 2013, invalidates the union’s window period requirement. Under the new law, employees have the right to resign their formal union membership and stop financially supporting a union at any time.