Foundation Staff Attorneys Appeal NLRB Settlement that Fails to Compensate Victims of Union Discrimination Scheme
Tygart Center settlement failed to provide a complete remedy to employees for its discriminatory practice of paying more per hour to union stewards
Fairmont, WV (May 26, 2020) – National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys have appealed a forced settlement agreement between the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Tygart Center imposed on healthcare worker Donna Harper. Harper objects to the imposed settlement because it fails to provide a complete remedy for her and other workers who were discriminated against under the union bargaining agreement between Tygart Center and Teamsters Local 175.
In the settlement, Tygart Center agrees to stop enforcing an unlawful contract provision under which Teamsters union stewards have been paid more per hour than other employees. However, as Foundation attorneys argue in their appeal to NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb, the settlement does not require Tygart Center to compensate the employees who were denied the additional pay per hour as a result of the discrimination.
“The Employer and Union unlawfully discriminated in favor of Union stewards, granting them an increased wage in the [union contract] while denying that wage to all others,” one portion of the appeal reads. “This action denied a benefit to every employee who was not a Union steward.”
Foundation staff attorneys also filed an amicus brief for Harper with the West Virginia Supreme Court to defend the state’s Right to Work law against a protracted lawsuit brought by several unions attempting to overturn the law and restore union officials’ power to have workers fired for refusing to pay union dues or fees.
The West Virginia Supreme Court on April 21 of this year unanimously upheld the constitutionality of West Virginia’s Right to Work law, which has been in effect during that litigation due to earlier orders issued by that court.
“Union bosses in West Virginia want nothing more than to coerce workers into paying dues either by misleading workers by wrongly telling them they must pay union dues or by trying unsuccessfully to overturn the state’s Right to Work law in court,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Foundation staff attorneys are ensuring that employers and union bosses in the Mountain State do not get away with illegal deals to fill union coffers or unlawfully discriminate against employees who choose to exercise their rights to not engage in union activity.”
Illinois Home Healthcare Provider Hits SEIU Union with Lawsuit for Seizing Dues in Violation of First Amendment Rights
Union requires home healthcare providers to submit photo identification just to exercise constitutional right to stop union dues deductions
Chicago, IL (May 22, 2020) – An Illinois home healthcare provider has filed a federal class-action civil rights lawsuit against the SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana union (SEIU-HCII), for seizing dues from her compensation without her affirmative consent, and for enforcing arbitrary restrictions on her right to cut off dues deductions. The lawsuit, filed with free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, charges the union with breaching home healthcare providers’ First Amendment rights under the Foundation-won Harris v. Quinn and Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decisions.
In Harris, won by Foundation staff attorneys in 2014, the High Court recognized that the First Amendment is violated by schemes to forcibly extract dues from home healthcare providers who assist individuals whose care is subsidized by the government. In the 2018 Janus decision, the Supreme Court struck down mandatory union fees for public sector workers as an infringement of their First Amendment rights, and ruled that the government can only deduct union dues or fees with an individual’s affirmative and knowing consent.
The plaintiff, Hydie Nance, provides home-based healthcare under the auspices of Illinois’ Home Services Plan. This program provides Medicaid funds to people with disabilities so they can hire and pay “personal assistants” to help them with their day-to-day activities. Nance’s complaint points out that the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) deducts union dues from these subsidies at the behest of SEIU-HCII union officials, and does so without notifying personal assistants “that they have a First Amendment right not to financially support SEIU-HCII.”
According to the complaint, Nance sent letters to both DHS and SEIU-HCII officials in November 2019 exercising her First Amendment right to end her union membership and cut off dues deductions. Both union and state officials ignored Nance’s attempt to exercise her rights and continued to deduct full union dues from her subsidies. The lawsuit also alleges that the dues deduction policy the state and SEIU-HCII enforce requires the DHS to “not respond to notices it receives from personal assistants to stop dues deductions unless and until SEIU-HCII instructs DHS to cease the deductions.”
Nance renewed her objection to union membership and dues deductions in March, the lawsuit says. While DHS again did not respond to the letter, SEIU-HCII officials sent an email acknowledging receipt of her request but claiming they “unfortunately cannot process it without your valid photo id,” instructing her to submit a picture of a photo ID in response to the message. SEIU-HCII bosses and DHS officials “do not notify personal assistants that they must submit a photo identification” unless union bosses reject a request to cut off dues, the lawsuit notes.
Nance’s complaint contends that this process “impedes and burdens personal assistants’ First Amendment right to stop subsidizing SEIU-HCII and its speech” and additionally “impinges on personal assistants’ right to privacy and exposes them to the threat of identity theft.” The lawsuit asks that the District Court declare unconstitutional SEIU-HCII’s continuing dues seizures after receiving written objections and that the court forbid enforcement of the policy. The complaint also requests that the union return to home healthcare providers all money it has seized illegally under the policy.
One of the attorneys representing Nance is William Messenger, a veteran National Right to Work Foundation staff attorney who argued and won the Janus and Harris cases at the Supreme Court. The lead plaintiff in the latter case, Pamela Harris, is also an Illinois home healthcare provider who filed suit with free legal aid from the Foundation after the SEIU sought to force her to pay union fees just for receiving state subsidies to care for her son in her own home.
“Individuals cannot be forced to produce a photo ID just to exercise their legal rights, nor does the state of Illinois need the permission of SEIU bosses before respecting the First Amendment rights of healthcare workers,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Years after the Supreme Court in Harris and later in Janus explicitly recognized the First Amendment right that home healthcare providers have to refuse to subsidize a union, SEIU union bosses and their allies in Illinois still are more interested in filling union coffers with forced dues than respecting the constitutional rights of those they claim to represent.”
Lawsuit Secures Additional $31,000 for Michigan Emergency and Medical Workers Subjected to UAW Forced Union Dues Scheme
Previous federal labor board case won $26,000 in refunds of forced dues seized from workers despite Michigan Right to Work law making union membership and payments voluntary
Flint, MI (May 21, 2020) – A Genesee County judge approved a settlement giving more financial compensation to 263 EMTs, paramedics, wheelchair drivers and dispatchers to conclude a class action lawsuit filed by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys for two workers against United Auto Workers Local 708 (UAW) and their employer.
The settlement grants named plaintiffs Skyler Korinek and Donald McCarty and 261 other employees of STAT Emergency Medical Services a total of $31,000 in damages in a lawsuit challenging the union and company’s violation of Michigan’s Right to Work law. Under the settlement, the UAW will pay $12,500 and STAT will pay the balance. Those damages are in addition to $26,000 UAW officials were required to refund to conclude another case filed by Korinek and McCarty with Foundation legal aid.
In the state class-action lawsuit, Foundation staff attorneys argued UAW and STAT violated Michigan’s Right to Work law by requiring employees to become UAW members and financially support the UAW as a condition of employment.
The $31,000 settlement is in addition to an earlier National Labor Relations Board settlement granting Korinek, McCarty and 168 other emergency workers $26,000 in refunds from the UAW. That settlement occurred in April last year after Foundation staff attorneys filed unfair labor practice charges for the two against the UAW and STAT for deducting union dues from the workers’ paychecks without authorization.
STAT and UAW officials entered into a monopoly bargaining agreement on September 3, 2015, that contained a so-called “union security” agreement, which required STAT employees to join and fund the UAW or lose their jobs. At that time Michigan’s Right to Work law, which protects workers from having to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, had already been in effect for more than two years.
As part of the settlement approved Monday, UAW officials and STAT agreed not to include a so-called “union security” agreement that requires workers to join or financially support the UAW in any union contract for as long as Michigan’s Right to Work law is in effect.
“Enforcing Right to Work laws in states like Michigan is a crucial part of the Foundation’s legal aid program, one that is necessary because union bosses repeatedly demonstrate that they will violate workers’ rights to force them to pay union dues,” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “In Michigan, union bosses have been repeatedly caught red-handed violating workers’ protections against requirements that they subsidize union activities.”
Since Michigan passed its Right to Work law, which became effective in March 2013, Foundation staff attorneys have brought more than 120 cases for Michigan workers subjected to coercive union boss tactics.
University of Puerto Rico Employees Hit Union, University with Federal Class-Action Lawsuit for First Amendment Violations
Civil rights lawsuit seeks refunds of up to 15 years of dues seized illegally from workers, end to unconstitutional forced membership and dues scheme
Para leer este articulo en español, haga clic aquí.
San Juan, PR (May 19, 2020) – With free legal representation from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, two employees of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) have filed a federal class-action civil rights lawsuit against the university and officials of the University of Puerto Rico Workers Union. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, charges union and university officials with forcing union membership and dues on employees in violation of their First Amendment rights.
The employees, Jose Ramos and Orlando Mendez, contend that union and university officials are infringing on their rights recognized in the 2018 Foundation-won Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision. In Janus, the High Court ruled that requiring public employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment breaches the First Amendment, and further held that union fees can only be taken from public employees with an affirmative waiver of the right not to pay.
Mendez’ and Ramos’ complaint also alleges that the monopoly bargaining contract’s requirement that all employees become union members violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of association. The lawsuit says university and union officials also broke a contract provision that permits deduction of union dues from employee paychecks only after receiving authorization from employees.
The lawsuit recounts that Mendez and Ramos have been employed by the University as maintenance workers since 1997 and 1996, respectively. From then, the complaint says, university and union officials “have regarded Ramos and Mendez as members of the Union” and seized dues from their paychecks, despite neither ever having signed a union membership or dues deduction authorization form.
In July 2018, less than a month after the Janus decision was issued, Mendez and Ramos both sent letters to the union exercising their First Amendment right to end union membership and cut off dues deductions. The union ignored these requests, and the union and University ignored attempts by both men to renew those demands in March 2020, according to the lawsuit. The complaint says that the University continues to take full dues from their paychecks.
Mendez’ and Ramos’ lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court to declare unconstitutional the contract provisions forcing employees into both membership and dues payments, and to declare that union and university officials breached the monopoly bargaining contract by seizing dues from employee paychecks without written authorization. The lawsuit additionally seeks an order forbidding further enforcement of the unconstitutional schemes, and an order requiring the union to refund to employees dues that were seized illegally “within the…15-year statute of limitations period for breach of contract.”
“For years University of Puerto Rico Workers Union officials have been able to get away with trampling the rights of the workers they claim to represent, not only by illegally filling their coffers with forced dues in violation of Janus, but also by forcing employees into union membership, a practice that has always been unconstitutional,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “They must not be permitted to profit from their past malfeasance, and the Foundation is proud to stand with Mr. Mendez and Mr. Ramos as they fight for their rights and the rights of their coworkers.”
MINNEAPOLIS (May 11, 2020) – Today, six Minnesota state employees sued two of the state’s largest government unions for an estimated recovery of $19 million in union fees paid by state and local employees. The two class action lawsuits claim that because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it is illegal to require public employees to pay union fees as a condition of employment, past fees should be refunded to workers.
The unions, AFSCME Council 5 and Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE) collected fees for years from workers who did not want to join a union. The lawsuit against AFSCME may net $13 million in recovered fees for 8,000 state and local workers who paid fees to the union prior to the 2018 Supreme Court ruling. The lawsuit against MAPE could recover as much as $5.8 million for state employees.
The two lawsuits, Brown et al., v. AFSCME Council 5 and Fellows et al., v. MAPE were filed today by attorneys from the same nonprofit legal foundations that brought the U.S. Supreme Court case ending forced union fees, the Liberty Justice Center and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
“From 1993 to 2018 I was forced to pay AFSCME union dues for a union I never wanted to join in order to work for the state of Minnesota,” said Eric Brown, lead plaintiff of the class action case against AFSCME. “It is time for AFSCME to abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling, return the money that was taken out of my paycheck without my permission, and return money to other Minnesota state employees who were victim to this as well.”
MAPE also took dues as a condition of employment from state workers, and three employees who have worked in a variety of roles are suing the union to reclaim their money.
Mark Fellows, a licensed social worker for the Department of Human Services paid fees from July 2007 through June 27, 2018, and said, “I joined this lawsuit because MAPE took money I didn’t want to pay and shouldn’t have been forced to pay. With the Supreme Court’s ruling, I should be entitled to get my money back.”
“Thousands of employees in Minnesota had millions of dollars illegally taken from them by AFSCME and MAPE and we’re suing to get that money back,” said Patrick Hughes, president and co-founder of the Liberty Justice Center. “Unions around the country have been playing this same game for years, and AFSCME and MAPE need to be held accountable because they violated the U.S. Constitution by taking money from public workers who weren’t union members. Liberty Justice Center is representing these public employees so that their hard-earned money is back in their pockets where it belongs.”
“It’s outrageous that almost two years after the Supreme Court ruled in Janus that requiring public sector employees to pay union dues to keep their jobs is a First Amendment violation, scofflaw union officials still refuse to give back millions and millions of forced fees seized from workers in violation of the First Amendment,” observed National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “The Foundation is proud to fight alongside the plaintiffs in these cases and the countless other workers across the country challenging attempts by union officials to continue to profit from their past unconstitutional behavior.”
Workplace Advocacy Group Informs Biden Field Organizers of Rights, Offers Free Legal Aid After Teamsters Announce Forced Unionism Contract
National Right to Work Foundation President: Organizers in Right to Work states cannot be required to pay any union dues or fees to keep jobs
Washington, DC (May 6, 2020) – News reports indicate that Teamsters Local 328 union bosses have just ratified a union contract covering field organizers on the campaign of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Union officials and the Biden campaign released a joint statement announcing the arrangement earlier this week.
In response, National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix issued the following statement informing Biden field organizers of their rights:
“Given Teamsters union bosses’ notorious reputation it is critical that Biden campaign staffers, who have been unionized without even a secret ballot election, know that despite what Teamsters organizers or their employer might say, they cannot be required to join the Teamsters.
“Biden campaign workers who work in Right to Work states should also know that they cannot be required to pay any dues or fees to the union as a condition of employment. Meanwhile, in states without Right to Work protections, while employees can be forced to pay some fees to keep their jobs, they have the right to cut off the portion of union fees used for politics and other activities not directly related to bargaining.
“Further, campaign staffers should know that it is against the law for either the Teamsters or the Biden campaign to retaliate against any employee who exercises his or her right to refrain from union membership and cut off full union dues. Biden staffers also have the right to file a decertification petition to trigger a secret ballot vote to remove the Teamsters.
“Over the years, countless workers across the country have successfully challenged Teamsters bosses’ coercive tactics with free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys. Biden field organizers, like all workers, should know they can request free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation should they need help challenging union coercion.”
Employees can request free legal aid from Foundation staff attorneys at 1-800-336-3600, or at the Foundation’s website at https://www.nrtw.org/free-legal-aid.
Chicago Educators File Federal Class Action Suit against CTU Union for Dues Seizures in Violation of First Amendment
Complaint seeks to end scheme that blocks teachers from exercising constitutional right to stop union dues deductions, and to require refunds for all affected
Chicago, IL (May 5, 2020) – With free legal representation from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, two Chicago Public School educators have filed a federal class-action civil rights lawsuit against the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and the Chicago Board of Education. The suit challenges a union policy that blocks teachers from exercising their First Amendment right to stop payments to the union outside of the month of August. The lawsuit also seeks refunds of all dues seized as a result of the unconstitutional policy, which the Board of Education enforces.
The complaint, filed for Joanne Troesch, a Technology Coordinator at Jones College Prep, and Ifeoma Nkemdi, a second-grade teacher at Newberry Math and Science Academy, charges CTU officials breached the First Amendment protections laid out in the 2018 Janus v. AFSCME U.S. Supreme Court decision.
In Janus, which was argued for then-Illinois state employee Mark Janus by one of the National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys who is handling Troesch and Nkemdi’s case, the High Court struck down mandatory union fees as a violation of the First Amendment rights of government employees. The Court ruled that any dues taken without a government worker’s affirmative consent violates the First Amendment, and further made it clear that these rights cannot be restricted absent a clear and knowing waiver.
The lawsuit explains that Troesch and Nkemdi “did not know they had a constitutional right not to financially support” the union hierarchy until the fall of last year. While they were researching how to exercise their right to continue working during a strike that CTU bosses ordered in October 2019, the complaint notes, the teachers independently discovered their First Amendment Janus rights. They sent letters the same month to CTU officials to exercise their Janus right to resign union membership and cut off all dues deductions.
According to the complaint, Troesch and Nkemdi received no response until November, when CTU officials confirmed receipt of the letters but said that they would continue to seize dues from the teachers’ paychecks “until September 1, 2020.” CTU bosses relied on the fact that Troesch and Nkemdi had not submitted their letters within a union boss-created “escape period,” which limits when teachers can exercise their First Amendment right to end dues deductions. The suit reveals that to date the Board has continued seizing dues from the teachers’ paychecks and transmitting them to the union.
Troesch and Nkemdi contend in their lawsuit that CTU officials’ attempt to curb employees’ right to stop dues deductions with an “escape period” and the Board’s continued dues seizures both violate the First Amendment. The complaint asks the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to order the CTU union and Board of Education to stop enforcing the unconstitutional “escape period” and notify all bargaining unit employees that they can stop the deduction of union dues at any time and “retroactively exercise that right.” The complaint also demands that the union refund the dues seized because of the unconstitutional policy from Troesch and Nkemdi and all other educators after they attempted to cut off deductions.
“Once again, teacher union officials are violating the First Amendment Janus rights of teachers they claim to represent just so they can keep the teachers’ hard-earned money rolling into their union’s coffers,” observed National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “The Foundation is proud to stand with Ms. Troesch and Ms. Nkemdi, and will continue to defend all educators who simply want to serve their students and community without being forced to subsidize union activities.”
Las Vegas Security Guard Hits SPFPA Union with Charges for Trapping Workers in Union Ranks and Seizing Dues
Union officials misled employees, continue to unlawfully take full dues from nonmembers
Las Vegas, NV (May 1, 2020) – A Las Vegas security guard is charging the International Union of Security, Police, and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA) with seizing union dues from him and his coworkers in violation of their legal rights. His charge was filed at Region 28 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), based in Phoenix, with free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.
According to the charge by guard Justin Stephens, SPFPA officials extended the monopoly bargaining contract with Stephens’ employer, North American Security, on January 31, 2020. The extension occurred one day after Stephens and his fellow employees sent letters to the union stating that they no longer wanted it as a bargaining agent in their workplace.
The charge explains that Stephens later submitted a batch of letters to SPFPA officials in which he and his fellow employees tried to exercise their rights to resign union membership and stop dues deductions from their paychecks. These letters were sent just before the previous contract between North American Security and the SPFPA was supposed to expire, on March 31, within the period when the employees could stop dues deductions. Because Nevada has enacted Right to Work protections for its employees, union bosses are forbidden from requiring any employee to join or pay dues or fees to a union as a condition of employment.
The charge asserts that the union “did not acknowledge the timely revocation the employees made on the anniversary” of the contract, ostensibly because the union officials’ hurried contract extension eliminated any opportunity the employees had to cut off union dues in anticipation of the contract’s March 31 expiration.
SPFPA bosses are still collecting full union dues “from all non-member bargaining unit employees” in violation of their right under the National Labor Relations Act to refrain from all union activities and support, according to the charge. The charge also calls the sudden extension of the monopoly bargaining contract after the workers notified the union about their opposition “an apparent attempt to avoid a decertification” vote to remove the union.
“It is beyond outrageous that SPFPA bosses believe they can play deceptive games with the workers they claim to represent, pretending to care about the employees’ input only to turn around and violate their individual rights,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “These SPFPA union bosses have demonstrated that they care far more about their ability to illegally extort forced dues from those employees than respect their rights not to fund a union of which they disapprove and to free choice of a workplace representative.”
“This case demonstrates why it is time for the NLRB to eliminate non-statutory policies that let union bosses block employees’ right to vote out a union,” Mix added. “Here the union bosses’ rush to agree to a contract appears to be motivated entirely by their desire to trap workers in dues payments and union control despite overwhelming opposition to the union.”
National Right to Work Foundation Urges FLRA to Enforce Federal Law Against Use of Taxpayer Money for Federal Union Lobbying
On Friday the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation submitted comments to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), pressing the agency to issue a policy statement forbidding the use of “official time” for union lobbying purposes. Union “Official time” occurs when federal union officials are paid by taxpayers while doing union business.
The FLRA began accepting comments on March 25, in response to the Foundation’s request in August 2019 that the agency issue guidance on this topic.
The Foundation’s comments point out that previous FLRA decisions justifying the use of “official time” for lobbying the federal government is inconsistent with longstanding federal law. The comments also explain how rampant the problem is and why it necessitates guidance from the FLRA:
“Put simply, the Authority’s prior precedent is inconsistent with [federal law]. This inconsistency has real-world implications. For example, in 2016, union officials throughout the government spent 2,738,363.88 hours of official time on actions they deemed “reasonable, necessary, and in the public interest,” including lobbying Congress…This is an astronomical number of hours, resulting in a significant amount of taxpayer money funding lobbying in violation of federal law.”
In light of this, the Foundation’s comments argue that the FLRA should “immediately and explicitly affirm the prohibitions on using official time for lobbying.”
In fact, one member of the FLRA has already recognized the strength of the Foundation’s argument, and wrote in a dissenting opinion when comments were solicited that the existing justification for this activity was so “strained and contorted” that waiting for comments shouldn’t even be necessary prior to issuing guidance that official time for union lobbying violates the law.
Read the Foundation’s full comments to the FLRA here.
Delaware Poultry Worker Hits UFCW Union Bosses with Charges for Rights Violations, Seeks Refund of Forced Dues
UFCW officials charged with illegally collecting forced union dues and threatening worker for seeking vote to remove unpopular union
Selbyville, DE (April 28, 2020) – With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a Delaware-based employee of Mountaire Farms has just filed federal charges against the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 27 union for threats and other violations of federal law.
The employee, Oscar Cruz Sosa, contends that union officials are violating his and his coworkers’ rights by seizing union fees from them under an unlawful forced dues provision in the union contract. The charges also allege that a union official violated his rights when in March he visited Sosa at home uninvited and threatened him for submitting a petition signed by his coworkers seeking a vote to remove the union from their workplace. His charges were filed at Region 5 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Baltimore, Maryland.
Sosa’s charges come after the NLRB Region 5 Director rejected union arguments that the decertification election requested by Sosa and his coworkers should be blocked. Under a controversial NLRB-created policy known as the “contract bar,” employees’ statutory right to hold a decertification vote to remove a union can be blocked for up to three years when a union contract is in place. However, under longstanding precedent, the “contract bar” to decertification does not apply when the union contract in place contains an unlawful forced dues clause.
In April, the Regional Director found that the UFCW contract with Mountaire Farms contains a so-called “union security” clause which unlawfully mandates that workers’ immediately pay union dues upon hiring or be fired. That meant that, although the contract was adopted less than three years ago, the workers’ vote can still proceed. Despite the longstanding precedent supporting the Regional Director’s ruling, UFCW union lawyers have petitioned the NLRB to overrule the Regional Director. Sosa’s Foundation staff attorneys are also defending the workers’ right to hold a vote in that proceeding.
In light of the Regional Director’s finding that the forced dues clause is unlawful, Sosa’s charge asks that the Regional Director order union officials to refund all dues and fees seized from him and his coworkers under that clause. Although Delaware lacks Right to Work protections for its workers, and thus union bosses can have private sector workers fired for not paying certain union fees used for bargaining purposes, the National Labor Relations Act explicitly provides that newly hired workers have 30 days before they can be required to pay those dues. Under longstanding precedent, a forced fee clause that does not give employees that 30-day “grace period” is invalid and unenforceable.
Sosa’s charge also recites that a UFCW agent came to his house uninvited on March 8, 2020, and warned him “that the decertification process being undertaken was ‘illegal’” and that a court battle was coming. Sosa’s charge asserts that this was “threatening” and “coercive behavior” and a clear attempt to restrain him and his coworkers in the exercise of their NLRA Section 7 right to vote out an unwanted union.
“The threats and dues deductions in this case show how union bosses regularly trample workers’ rights in order to keep forced dues rolling into their coffers,” observed National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “We hope that NLRB Region 5 will immediately prosecute the union for these violations, and ultimately order that the union refund all union dues and fees collected from Mountaire Farms workers under the unlawful forced dues clause.”
Mix continued: “While UFCW officials were caught red-handed in this case, these types of forced union dues abuses will continue until Delaware workers have the protection of a Right to Work law, which ensures that all union membership and financial support are strictly voluntary.”