Employee one of numerous Northeastern United States workers whose rights have been infringed by food service industry union
New York, NY (July 10, 2019) – A former employee of the Stop & Shop supermarket branch in New Hyde Park, NY, has filed an unfair labor practice charge against United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 464A union, reporting that officials falsely told him that he could only resign from union membership by quitting his job. That misinformation is a clear violation of employee rights under federal law. The charge was filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
The former employee, John Smith, reports in his charge that he became a member of the UFCW upon beginning work at Stop & Shop in November 2018 because his manager had told him that union membership is a condition of employment at the branch. Smith’s charge further relates that at the beginning of 2019 he began asking UFCW officials how to resign his union membership.
According to the charge, the first union agent whom Smith spoke with on this matter simply reiterated that the only way to end union membership was to resign his job, but Smith persisted and asked to be directed to the “union constitution.” The charge reports that he was then handed off to another union official who told him again that his employment hinged on his union membership.
Smith is asking the NLRB to issue a complaint against the union for the violations. Under longstanding NLRB precedent, union agents are required to inform employees of their right to refrain from union membership. Moreover, NLRB precedents applying the Foundation-won Supreme Court decision in CWA v. Beck mandate that union agents apprise workers of their right to pay reduced union fees as a nonmember.
Other employees in the New York City area and around the country have obtained Foundation legal aid to mount similar charges against the UFCW in recent months. Beverley Pryce and Carolee Buckley, two employees at Plattdeutsche Home Society retirement home in Franklin Square, NY, filed unfair labor practice charges in May against UFCW Local 2013 because union agents failed to provide a legally-required financial breakdown of the reduced fees that they must pay as nonmembers. Foundation staff attorneys have also assisted other employees victimized by union officials in incidents related to the UFCW-ordered Stop & Shop strike which affected grocery workers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
“Once again UFCW union bosses have been caught violating the rights of the very workers they claim to represent,” commented National Right to Work President Mark Mix. “The increasing number of charges bring into sharp focus the campaign of coercion and misinformation that UFCW officials are perpetrating against rank-and-file workers.”
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.