Union officials to be held accountable for illegally forcing workers to sign misleading payroll deduction forms and intimidating workers seeking to oust union
Washington DC (July 12, 2019) Today the National Right to Work Foundation announced victories in three cases filed by Foundation staff attorneys for workers whose rights were violated by union officials who enforced mandatory dues checkoff authorizations that violate the workers’ rights and harassed workers who sought to oust the union. These cases were on appeal to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel, who prosecutes violations of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
In separate cases, Kacy Warner, a hospital worker, and Shelby Krocker, a Kroger employee, were required to sign check-off authorization forms. After both workers filed charges with NLRB regional offices with free legal aid from the Foundation, NLRB regional directors dismissed their cases. Their Foundation attorneys then appealed to the NLRB General Counsel for both.
The General Counsel sustained the Foundation-filed appeals for Warner in this and an additional charge against the National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC) for illegally intimidating workers seeking to oust the union.
Warner was not a member of NNOC and circulated a petition to hold a decertification vote to remove the union from her workplace. NNOC officials tried to interfere with her decertification efforts. And, after she started the petition, union officials told her and a coworker they must sign a dues checkoff form without providing them an alternative method of payment, as the NLRA requires.
The General Counsel’s decision to sustain Warner’s appeal concerning the checkoff also added to the charges, saying the union violated the NLRA by “maintaining confusing and ambiguous dual-purpose authorization forms that unlawfully restrained employees in the exercise of their Section 7 rights.”
The General Counsel noted that the union’s forms failed to tell workers they can revoke authorization for deduction of union dues after the union’s contract expires, failed to give workers adequate time to revoke authorization, unlawfully required workers to use certified mail to send revocation requests, and failed to give “any indication to employees that payroll deduction authorization is voluntary.”
This came just a week after the General Counsel sustained another Foundation-led appeal for Krocker, who charged United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union officials with illegally forcing her to sign a dues checkoff authorization.
When she was hired, Krocker joined the union because she was told she must join and sign a dues checkoff authorization as a condition of her employment. When she later resigned union membership in 2018, the union accepted her resignation, but continued collecting dues and would not let her revoke her checkoff, claiming she missed a union-created “window” to do so. Because West Virginia is a Right to Work state, the decision to financially support a labor union is supposed to lie with each individual worker.
As he did for Warner’s appeal, the General Counsel added to the charges against union officials. The additional charges are for “failing to provide the Charging Party with the explicit dates upon which she was entitled to revoke her dues checkoff authorization when it rejected her revocation request as untimely,” not being clear with workers about membership and payroll deduction forms, not being clear that workers can revoke payroll deduction authorizations, and for “maintaining language that requires the employee to give Local 400 the authority to transfer an employee’s checkoff obligation to another employer, not limited to a successor employer.”
“The NLRB General Counsel’s rulings in these cases open the door for finally holding Big Labor accountable for the illegal language that is regularly slipped into union dues deduction cards and serves no purpose other than to restrict rank-and-file workers from exercising their legally protected rights,” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “The National Labor Relations Act purports to support workers’ right to refrain from supporting a union, and these dues deductions cards clearly violate that basic principle.”
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.