Pro-Worker Organization Secures $31,000 for Michigan Emergency and Medical Workers Under the Thumb of the UAW’s Compulsory Union Dues Scheme

On May 21, 2020, a Genesee County judge allowed a settlement giving financial compensation to 263 EMTs, paramedics, wheelchair drivers, and dispatchers to finish up a class action lawsuit to go through.

The National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys filed a class action lawsuit for two workers against United Auto Workers Local 708 (UAW) and their employer.

According to the settlement, plaintiffs Skyler Korinek and Donald McCarty and 261 other employees of STAT Emergency Medical Services received a total of $31,000 in damages in a lawsuit that challenged the union and company’s violation of Michigan’s Right to Work law. Per the settlement, the UAW will pay $12,500 and STAT will pay the balance. Those damages are tacked on to the $26,000 UAW officials were mandated to refund in order to finish another case filed by Korinek and McCarty with legal aid coming from the Foundation.

In the state class-action lawsuit, Foundation staff attorneys made the assertion that UAW and STAT broke Michigan’s Right to Work law by mandating employees to become UAW members and prop up the UAW financially as a condition of employment.

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This $31,000 settlement follows a previous National Labor Relations Board settlement which granted Korinek, McCarty, and 168 other emergency workers $26,000 in refunds from the UAW. The settlement took place in April of 2019 after Foundation staff attorneys filed unfair labor practice charges for the two against the UAW and STAT for seizing union dues from the workers’ paychecks without consent.

STAT and UAW officials agreed to a monopoly bargaining agreement on September 3, 2015, that contained a so-called “union security” agreement, which required STAT employees to join and pay dues to the UAW or get canned. At that time, Michigan’s Right to Work law, which protects workers from being forced into paying union dues or fees as a condition of employment, had already been in place for more than two years.

As part of the settlement approved on May 19, UAW officials and STAT came to an agreement to not include a so-called “union security” agreement that requires workers to join or financially support the UAW in any union contract as long as Michigan’s Right to Work law stays in place.

“Enforcing Right to Work laws in states like Michigan is a crucial part of the Foundation’s legal aid program, one that is necessary because union bosses repeatedly demonstrate that they will violate workers’ rights to force them to pay union dues,” stated National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “In Michigan, union bosses have been repeatedly caught red-handed violating workers’ protections against requirements that they subsidize union activities.”

Since Michigan passed its Right to Work law, which went into effect in March 2013, Foundation staff attorneys have taken on more than 120 cases for Michigan workers subjected to abusive union practices.