NLRB Charge: Union bosses illegally failed to disclose financials and restricted workers’ rights to opt out of union political spending
Newark, NJ (October 5, 2020) – With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, William J. Sona is taking his case against the United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA) union Local 171 to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The Paragon Systems employee’s federal unfair labor practice charge states that union officials illegally failed to provide a mandated independent audit justifying union fees, and imposed unlawful restrictions on workers seeking to challenge the calculation of the fees workers must pay as a condition of employment.
Because Sona is employed in New Jersey, a forced-unionism state, he can legally be fired for refusing to pay union fees. However, these forced fees cannot be used for union political activities or lobbying. Union officials must comply with certain legal requirements to justify the amount they can force workers to pay as a condition of employment.
Under the precedent established in the Right to Work Foundation-won Beck Supreme Court case and subsequent California Saw NLRB precedent, unions must provide verification of chargeable expenses through an independent audit, provide escrow if workers dispute charges, and provide an independent system for workers to challenge the fees.
Sona’s case against UGSOA charges that union officials failed to comply with any of these requirements. Additionally the charge states union officials illegally required Beck objectors like Sona to file two separate objections to funding union political activity—one to Local 171 and one to the International.
Union officials at UGSOA have a history of illegally seizing dues from workers. Previously, UGSOA union bosses illegally demanded union dues from nonmember workers while there was no contract in effect between the union and the employer.
With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Sona and five other Paragon employees won $4,000 in illegally seized back dues. That case was settled in 2019 and formally adopted by the NLRB in August of 2020, but Sona’s new charge says union officials have not stopped violating the law.
“Union brass at UGSOA have demonstrated again that they will violate the rights of the very workers they claim to ‘represent’ just to stuff their pockets with more forced dues,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix.
“They use their special government-granted privileges to force workers to pay up or be fired, and then refuse to provide the information needed to confirm that at least these forced fees are not being illegally funneled into union lobbying and campaign expenses. If union bureaucrats are afraid of transparency, there’s probably a reason for that.”
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.