Grocery Union Bosses Prosecuted for Rite Aid Employee Firing
MOJAVE, Calif. -- When Deena Chacanaca was fired from her job at the local Rite Aid drug store, she wasn't terminated for having a shoddy work ethic or poor work performance. Rather, she was fired because she refused to fund Big Labor's political machine. But Foundation attorneys have now forced the prosecution of the union and employer for violating Mrs. Chacanaca's rights.
"These union bosses stole Deena Chacanaca's livelihood," said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the Foundation.
"Foundation attorneys simply cannot stand by and let that happen."
UFCW local bosses lie to workers
According to Foundation-won court decisions, union bosses can only seize forced dues from workers to cover the unionŐs proven cost of collective bargaining. However, non-bargaining activities like politics, overhead expenses, and public relations are strictly non-chargeable to workers who do not join a union.
Furthermore, in the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court ruling Chicago Teachers v. Hudson, the Court ruled that union officials must provide non-members with independently audited disclosures that demonstrate they are charging non-members only for activities connected to collective bargaining.
In an attempt to swindle money from her paycheck, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1036 officials demanded that Mrs. Chacanaca, as an objecting non-member, pay dues to the union that were only reduced by a laughable 6.89%. They provided no disclosure or proof that her dues would be used only for bargaining-related activities.
As a matter of principle, Mrs. Chacanaca refused to pay any money to the union until her rights were respected and she was given financial disclosure. Providing her with free legal aid, Foundation attorneys filed unfair labor practice charges on her behalf against Local 1036 officials with the NLRB.
Belatedly, union officials sent Mrs. Chacanaca documents they described as "financial disclosures" and demanded she immediately start paying dues reduced 13.82% (more than double their original figure).
"Local 1036's shifting figures clearly showed that their numbers are totally bogus," said Gleason.
Not only did Local 1036's "disclosures" show no evidence of being independently audited; they also showed that union officials were blatantly forcing workers to pay for activities forbidden by U.S. Supreme Court decisions. According to the documentation provided by union officials, workers must pay for all the union's overhead expenses, undescribed activities of the International union (for which no disclosure was provided), and other activities totaling $320,984 that the union cryptically labeled "other expenses" with no further explanation.
Union bosses demand employer fire Chacanaca
Foundation attorneys responded with another round of unfair labor practice charges at the NLRB. Apparently unfazed, the union bosses again demanded that she pay her dues or face termination. Mrs. Chacanaca promptly refused and was fired.
"In typical union boss fashion, Local 1036 officials are making Mrs. Chacanaca an example to other workers who might dare to question their activities," said Gleason. "However, Foundation attorneys are determined to ensure that it is the union that is made the example instead."
Abusive union officials and Rite Aid slapped with federal charges
Foundation attorneys immediately filed a third round of charges against Local 1036 officials and also slapped Rite Aid officials with additional unfair labor practice charges.
In light of the mounting evidence against both UFCW Local 1036 bosses and Rite Aid, Foundation attorneys were able to persuade the union-label NLRB to sock both with a federal labor complaint charging them with violations of workers' Foundation-won rights.
"The violations of Mrs. Chacanaca's rights were so blatant in this case that not even the union-dominated NLRB could turn a blind eye," said Gleason.
A trial has been set for early this year, when an administrative law judge will determine exactly how Local 1036 and Rite Aid officials broke the law.