Former Tygart Center employee says union officials and employer violated her legal rights by demanding she join the union and pay union dues and fees to keep her job
Fairmont, WV (December 24, 2019) – With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, healthcare worker Donna Harper filed a lawsuit against Teamsters Local 175 and the Tygart Center for violating her rights under the State of West Virginia’s Right to Work law.
West Virginia’s Right to Work law prohibits requiring workers to pay union dues or fees just to get or keep a job. In defiance of West Virginia’s Right to Work law, Tygart Center and Teamsters union officials entered into a collective bargaining agreement that required employees to pay union dues and fees as a condition of employment.
When Harper was hired, Tygart Center officials informed Harper that she must become a union member and pay union dues as a condition of employment in violation of her legal rights. Tygart Center officials deducted full union membership dues and fees from Harper’s paycheck and remitted this money to Teamsters union officials.
In March 2019, Harper successfully exercised her legal rights by resigning her union membership. Even then union officials continued taking union dues from her paycheck. Union officials also never fully refunded the union dues unlawfully seized from her wages.
Foundation staff attorneys filed the suit against the Tygart Center and the Teamsters union for Harper in Marion County Circuit Court. Harper worked at the Tygart Center from February 2018 until September 2019 as a Laundry Aide and as a Certified Nursing Assistant.
Foundation staff attorneys also filed an amicus brief for Harper with the West Virginia Supreme Court defending the state Right to Work law against a protracted lawsuit brought by several unions seeking to overturn the law and restore union officials’ power to have workers fired for refusing to pay union dues or fees. That case is scheduled for oral arguments in the Supreme Court on January 15. That court has already rejected the unions’ arguments once, overturning a preliminary injunction against the Right to Work law.
“Teamsters union bosses demonstrated a blatant disregard for the law by illegally demanding Ms. Harper and her coworkers pay union dues and fees just to get or keep their jobs,” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Contrary to Big Labor’s wishes, West Virginia’s Right to Work law is in full effect, meaning all union dues for workers covered by the law must be completely voluntary.”
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.