Union Officials to be Held to Account for Forced Union Dues and Intimidation Tactics

On July 12, 2019, the National Right to Work Foundation announced several victories in cases filed by their staff attorneys.

These cases involved situations where union officials violated workers’ rights by enforcing mandatory dues checkoff authorizations and harassing workers who worked to oust the union.

The cases in question were appealed to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel, who handles the prosecution of all violations of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

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In two separates cases, Kacy Warner, a hospital worker, and Shelby Krocker, a Kroger employee, were compelled to sign check-off authorization forms. After both workers filed their charges with NLRB regional offices with free legal assistance from the Foundation, NLRB regional directors rejected their cases.

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In response, their Foundation attorneys appealed to the NLRB General Counsel for both cases.

The General Counsel sustained the appeals for Warner and an additional charge against the National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC) for the illegal intimidation of workers that were trying to oust the union.

Warner was not a member of NNOC and attempted to pass around a petition to hold a decertification vote to get rid of the union from her workplace. NNOC officials attempted to block her decertification efforts.

Once she started the petition, union officials informed her and coworker that they must sign a dues checkoff form without offering them an alternative method of payment, per NLRA requirements.

According to the General Counsel, the union also 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 also noted the following:

“….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 case came a week after the General Counsel upheld another appeal filed by the Foundation for Shelby Krocker, who accused United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union leaders for illegally compelling her to sign a dues checkoff authorization.

Krocker originally joined the union because she was instructed to join and sign a dues checkoff authorization as a condition of her employment. Although she resigned and the union accepted her resignation, the union continued collecting dues and would not let her revoke her checkoff. The union claimed that she missed a time “window” to do so—a period which the union fabricated.

Due to the fact that West Virginia is a Right to Work state, decisions to financially support labor unions lie within each worker. Like he did for Warner’s appeal, the General Counsel added additional 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 clarifying with workers about membership and payroll deduction forms, 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.”

Right to Work has scored big victories over the last decade, with Supreme Court decisions like Janus v. AFSCME and states like Kentucky and West Virginia joining the Right to Work fold. Nevertheless, the Left and its Big Labor appendages never rest and will find whichever way possible to destroy the freedom of association in America.

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