1 Mar 2017

Wisconsin Nuclear Plant Worker Hits Union Officials with Federal Charges for Retaliation and Discrimination

Posted in News Releases

Union officials ordered employee removed and banned from travel assignments for exercising rights under Wisconsin Right to Work law

Green Bay, WI (March 1, 2017) – With free legal representation by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a Wisconsin nuclear plant worker has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against his employer, NextEra Energy, IBEW Locals 204 and 2150, IBEW Local System Council U-4, and the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 555 for illegal discrimination and retaliation in violation of the National Labor Relations Act.

Clifford Teeter of Augusta, Wisconsin, is employed by NextEra Energy at its Two Rivers facility as a Lead Auxiliary Operator. Currently, the workers at the Two Rivers facility are under NextEra’s union monopoly bargaining contract with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2150. NextEra also has an agreement with three other IBEW and UWUA union locals to allow NextEra management to send workers on temporary work assignments at NextEra plants in other states.

In July 2016, NextEra and IBEW Local 2150 sent out an email to Teeter and his co-workers asking for volunteers for a month long travel assignment at NextEra’s facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Teeter volunteered for the assignment and was officially selected by NextEra for the assignment.

On September 12, Teeter notified NextEra and Local 2150 that he had resigned his formal union membership and revoked his dues checkoff authorization. Under federal law an employee can resign his formal union membership at any time, and it is illegal for union officials to retaliate against an employee for choosing to exercise this right. In addition, Right to Work laws in 28 states – including Wisconsin and Iowa – give employees the right to cut off all dues and fees to the union, leaving union membership and dues payment completely voluntary.

Soon after the resignation, Local 2150 officials informed Teeter that they were having NextEra remove him from the travel assignment because he was no longer a member in good standing with the Local. NextEra complied with the request, removing Teeter from the assignment and giving his spot to the next most senior union member.

Teeter was later informed by Local 2150 officials that he would only be eligible for future travel assignments if he rejoined the Local. Faced with this discrimination, Teeter reached out to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation for free legal aid, and filed federal unfair labor practice charges against NextEra and the four unions involved in the agreement, with the help of Foundation staff attorneys.

The federal unfair labor practice charges allege that the resource sharing agreement discriminates against workers who choose to exercise their right to disassociate from a union. The discriminatory actions of NextEra and the associated union local officials deprived Teeter of overtime, incentive, and bonus pay, as well as other career opportunities that he would have earned by going on the travel assignment.

“Unfortunately, even in states like Wisconsin that have Right to Work protections, union bosses are willing to use any tactic, legal or illegal, to retaliate against workers who exercise their right to resign their membership and cut off dues payments to a union they do not support,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “Wisconsin’s Right to Work law is very clear: no worker can be punished for their choice to abstain from union membership. This case shows that vigilance is necessary to ensure that Right to Work protections for employees are vigorously enforced.”

Mr. Teeter’s case is one of many relating to Wisconsin’s Right to Work law, which was enacted in 2015. Foundation staff attorneys have submitted amicus briefs in federal and state court in response to union boss lawsuits attempting to overturn the Right to Work protections for Wisconsin employees. A federal judge upheld the law and the state lawsuit is pending. In addition, since Wisconsin enacted Right to Work, Foundation attorneys have filed 19 actions defending and enforcing Right to Work protections for workers, with 8 actions currently active.

1 Mar 2017

National Right to Work Foundation Staff Attorney Argues Case Before 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Challenging Forced Union Dues

Posted in News Releases

Janus v. AFSCME could be next U.S. Supreme Court case to decide constitutionality of mandatory union fees for public employees

Chicago, IL (March 1, 2017) – On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit will hear oral arguments in Janus v. AFSCME, a case challenging mandatory union fees paid by government workers in Illinois. This case builds on recent Supreme Court decisions Knox v. SEIU (2012) and Harris v. Quinn (2014), both of which were won by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.

In Janus, the plaintiffs are two Illinois government employees who are represented by staff attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the Liberty Justice Center.

Under Illinois law, union officials are empowered to require government employees to pay money to a union as a condition of employment. Although state employees aren’t forced to be full-fledged union members, they are required to pay mandatory dues or fees to a union or be fired. This lawsuit seeks to end that practice on the grounds that these fees violate the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights.

A victory for the Janus plaintiffs would impact millions of government employees who currently can be fired for refusing to pay dues or fees to union officials. The National Right to Work Foundation currently has seven cases across the country on behalf of public employees seeking a ruling that mandatory union fees violate the First Amendment, with Janus most likely to reach the U.S. Supreme Court first.

In 2016, because of the untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the High Court split 4-4 in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case that would have also ended forced dues for public employees. A new justice will be the deciding vote should Janus or another case presenting the issue be taken up by the Supreme Court.

National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix commented, “Hopefully the Seventh Circuit will rule quickly so the case can go to the Supreme Court, which should uphold the First Amendment by ending the injustice of forcing public employees to pay tribute to union bosses as a condition of working for their own government.”

27 Feb 2017

Homecare Providers Coast to Coast Challenge Force Unionism Schemes

Check out this article from the January/February 2017 newsletter. To read the full newsletter and to sign up for your free copy, please click here.

Numerous Foundation cases seek to enforce and build on landmark Harris Supreme Court victory

Washington, DC – In 2014, Foundation staff attorneys argued the case Harris v. Quinn before the US Supreme Court, which chose to strike down the SEIU’s illegal forced dues scheme in Illinois. The opinion of the court stated that individuals who receive state subsidies based on their clientele cannot be forced to pay compulsory union fees.

While the Supreme Court’s decision was clear, unsurprisingly union officials have not willing complied with the precedent. This has impacted the rights of homecare and childcare providers in dozens of states. In order to force unions to comply with the law, a number of cases are being litigated by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys on behalf of providers across the nation, including in Oregon, Washington, New York and Illinois.

Pacific Northwest Providers Challenge Union Schemes

Coordinating with the Freedom Foundation, Foundation staff attorneys recently filed suit in the federal courts of Oregon and Washington for homecare providers who are being forced to pay dues to the SEIU in defiance of the Harris decision.

In these cases, the respective SEIU local officials have refused to honor resignations from the union and have continued illegally deducting full union dues and fees from nonmember workers. The workers have named the union officials as defendants, as well as the states of Oregon and Washington due to government’s seizure of money on the union’s behalf from homecare providers, many of whom are family members voluntarily taking care of sick or disabled relations.

Among other rights violations, union bosses have deliberately obfuscated the resignation process in an effort to coerce more dues money out of homecare workers. Workers seeking to leave the union are being told that they can only resign during an arbitrary two week period that union officials seek to keep from the workers as a means of trapping them into paying dues for another year.

In both cases, the providers and their Foundation staff attorneys seek to reaffirm that providers have the right to cut off dues payment to the union at any time.

New York Childcare Ask Supreme Court to Review ‘Forced Representation’

After the Harris ruling struck down the Illinois scheme, Foundation attorneys have been applying that precedent to many similar cases. One of these cases is working its way through the courts on the opposite side of the country in New York. In 2007, disgraced former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer signed an executive order that named the Civil Service Employees Association Union as the monopoly bargaining power for thousands of childcare providers outside New York City.

Mary Jarvis, a NY home-based childcare provider, with the assistance of Foundation attorneys is challenging this illegal scheme in NY courts. Jarvis and her fellow plaintiffs are currently seeking a writ of certiorari, petition filed in early December 2016, to bring Jarvis v. CSEA before the US Supreme Court, arguing that forced unionism violates their first amendment rights of association.

Also in December, Foundation attorneys argued a similar case (Hill v. SEIU) before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Illinois. The lower court ruled that the state had the right to assign a monopoly bargaining representative to this class of worker, without any input or vote by these providers. Foundation staff attorneys argue that this arbitrary assignment of a “bargaining representative” to handle interactions between the government and the workers is unconstitutional. Under the First Amendment, citizens have the right to petition the government directly for the redress of grievances, and Foundation staff attorneys argue those protections are violated when the government imposes an unwanted representative to speak to the government on their behalf.

“Citizens have the power to select their political representation in government, not the other way around,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “These schemes, which forced home-based childcare providers, even grandmothers taking care of their grandchildren, into paying forced dues to union bosses are a slap in the face of the fundamental American principles we hold dear.”

22 Feb 2017

NLRB Issues Complaint Against Teamsters Officials for Threats in Response to Campaign to End Forced Dues

Posted in News Releases

Teamsters Local 455 officials reprimanded again by the National Labor Relations Board for violating workers’ fundamental rights

Fort Morgan, CO (February, 22 2017) – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a complaint against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 455 union for threatening workers with the loss of their benefits, discharge and a lawsuit because they circulated petitions to end forced union dues and remove the union’s business agents. The complaint was issued after NLRB investigators found merit to charges filed against the Teamsters Local 455 by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys for Francisco Manjarrez.

Late last year, Foundation staff attorneys assisted the worker in filing federal unfair labor practice charges against the union for threatening him for exercising his rights to circulate a deauthorization petition at his workplace. Under the National Labor Relations Act if a deauthorization petition gains the signatures of thirty percent of employees, the workers then get to vote to end union bosses’ power to require them to pay money to the union or be fired.

After Manjarrez refused to back down from circulating the petition, union officials threatened illegal retaliation against him and his co-workers who had signed the petition.

The charges against Teamsters Local 455 in November of 2016 came just weeks after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a decision against the union for violating federal labor law by declining to help all workers under their monopoly bargaining control. The union was also charged with lying to workers that they would not be promoted or represented unless they paid full union dues or fees.

A hearing regarding the new charges against the union is scheduled for May 1 before a Regional National Labor Relations judge.

“It is outrageous that union officials threatened workers benefits and employment for simply expressing their rights under the law,” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “These particular union officials have a disturbing history of belittling and downright ignoring the rights of the very workers they claim to ‘represent.’ Colorado workers need Right to Work protections to help defend workers from this type of behavior.”

21 Feb 2017

Monte Carlo Bartender Hits UNITE-HERE Union with Federal Charges After Being Illegally Fired for Not Having ‘Union Card’

Posted in News Releases

Union ‘representation’ was imposed on workers without a vote, after which non-member employees were fired in violation of federal law

Las Vegas, NV (February 21, 2017) – A Las Vegas bartender has filed federal Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against Aramark and the UNITE-HERE Local 165 union after the Local 165 union officials illegally had her fired from her position for not having a “union pour card.” The ULP charges were filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 28 office in Las Vegas, NV.

In November 2016, Natalie Ruisi was hired by Aramark, a concessions contractor, to be a bartender for the then soon to open Park Theater located in the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino. In December, Ruisi was informed by Aramark management that the Aramark employees at the Park Theater would be represented by union officials from UNITE-HERE Local 165.

The workers at the Park Theater had never voted on whether or not to join the union. As the charge notes, no evidence exists that a majority of the workers support UNITE-HERE Local 165 as their monopoly bargaining agent. It is illegal for a union and company to agree to an exclusive union contract when union officials have not offered any proof that they are supported by at least a majority of the workers in a workplace.

On January 12, 2017, Ruisi and a number of her co-workers were fired. Ruisi was told that she and her co-workers were being fired because they did not possess a “union pour card.” When she was hired, a union card was not a requirement or condition of employment, and Ruisi was never even given the opportunity to acquire a union card. Of course, Nevada’s longstanding Right to Work law makes it illegal for any employee to be forced to join a union or pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

The charges allege that Aramark’s actions in collusion with UNITE-HERE union officials violate Ruisi and her co-workers’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act. Specifically, the charges note that, by recognizing a minority union and firing workers for not possessing prior union certification, Aramark has deliberately provided unlawful assistance to UNITE-HERE union officials, and that. UNITE-HERE union bosses likewise violated the NLRA by accepting monopoly bargaining agent status over workers without any demonstration of majority support.

“As this case shows, Right to Work laws are only words on paper unless they are vigorously enforced. Ms. Ruisi was hired to fulfill a job, and was summarily fired without warning simply for not possessing a union card,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “It is shameful that union bosses fired a worker for simply expressing her long protected rights under Nevada’s Right to Work law which has been in place for over 65 years.”

Foundation attorneys are also assisting Ruisi in a second case, originally filed in 2014, that is currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In that case, Ruisi and her fellow plaintiffs are appealing an NLRB decision upholding an unwritten UNITE-HERE policy that inhibits workers seeking to revoke dues-checkoff.

The union policy at issue in that case requires members to submit a written request for the union to provide them with information about the date that they signed their dues-checkoff authorization cards, which serves no purpose except to obstruct workers from exercising their legally protected rights. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for March 14, 2017.

Including the charges filed for Natalie Ruisi, Foundation staff attorneys currently have over 90 legal actions for employees before the National Labor Relations Board and its regional offices.

15 Feb 2017

Michigan Worker Wins NLRB Decision Against Union Boss Scheme to Undercut Right to Work in Michigan

Posted in Blog, News Releases

Union bosses sought to impose coercive in-person ID requirement on workers seeking to exercise the right to stop paying union fees

Springfield, VA (February 15, 2017) – With legal representation provided by attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a Michigan worker has won a battle against illegal barriers created by union officials seeking to restrict workers from resigning their union membership and exercising their rights under Michigan’s Right to Work law.

In October 2014, after Michigan’s new Right to Work law went into effect, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 58 union officials imposed a new policy governing the procedures for resigning formal union membership and revoking dues checkoff. These procedures demanded that resignations take place in person at the Local 58 union hall in Detroit, Michigan, where the worker would have to present photo identification and a corresponding written resignation and/or dues checkoff revocation.

After the policy was implemented, Ryan Greene, a worker who lives several hours away from the IBEW Local 58 union hall, decided to exercise his right to resign his formal union membership and revoke his dues checkoff authorization. Upon encountering the restrictive policy created by Local 58 union officials, Greene filed a federal Unfair Labor Practice charge with the NLRB alleging that the new policy was unlawful and violated the rights of workers as guaranteed in the National Labor Relations Act.

The ULP charge argued that forcing workers to appear in person with a photo ID violated workers’ rights by illegally hindering their right to resign at any time from the union and to revoke dues checkoff authorizations.

The regional General Counsel for the NLRB investigated and issued a complaint. The administrative law judge who heard the case dismissed the complaint, but the Foundation staff attorneys appealed to the full NLRB for Greene.

After the briefing concluded, the NLRB issued a 2-1 decision determining that the policy set by Local 58 officials infringed on workers rights. The Board’s opinion rules that the policy was an illegal restriction placed by the union on the members’ rights to resign and revoke, because it imposes a significant burden on exercising those rights.

“This case is just another example of union officials’ campaign to prevent the workers they claim to ‘represent’ from exercising their rights under the state’s popular new Right to Work law,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Instead of cooking up schemes to trap workers into paying union dues, union officials should ask themselves why they are so afraid of giving workers a choice when it comes to union membership and dues payment.”

Since Michigan enacted its Right to Work law in 2012, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have successfully worked to defend the law against union challenges and assist workers in exercising their right under the law to resign from union membership and stop all payment of union dues and fees. Since the law was enacted, Foundation attorneys have filed some 28 legal actions for Michigan workers seeking to exercise their rights as protected by Right to Work.

14 Feb 2017

Worker Advocate Testifies Before Congress on Need for Labor Board Reforms

Posted in News Releases

Under Obama, National Labor Relations Board became a promoter of forced unionism powers rather than a neutral arbitrator

Washington, DC (February 14, 2017) – This morning, National Right to Work Foundation Vice President and Legal Director Raymond LaJeunesse testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions. The Subcommittee, which is chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), held a hearing titled “Restoring Balance & Fairness to the NLRB.”

LaJeunesse, who has worked at the Foundation, whose staff attorneys have represented thousands of employees in unfair labor practice and representation cases before the NLRB, for over forty-five years, including as Legal Director since 2001, laid out the damage done to independent-minded workers over the past eight years by the Obama NLRB. From forcing nonmembers to subsidize union politics, barring secret-ballot elections in favor of coercive card-check schemes, imposing “ambush election” rules, and gerrymandering bargaining units into “micro-units” to ensure union victories, the damage has been immense.

“I commend you for investigating the adequacy of the National Labor Relations Board’s enforcement of the rights of individual workers under the National Labor Relations Act to refrain from union associations. Unfortunately, the Board majorities President Obama appointed have in many respects denied or diminished those rights,” testified LaJeunesse.

LaJeunesse provided many recommendations to the Subcommittee on how to bring this about, first and foremost by suggesting President Trump nominate two nominees to fill the vacant NLRB seats who will defend the rights of all workers, including those who prefer not to affiliate with a labor union. Other specific recommendations made by LaJeunesse to the Committee include restoring protections for secret-ballot elections as the preferred process for “certifying” a union as the monopoly bargaining representative, more vigorously enforcing employees’ rights not to fund union politics and lobbying, undoing the Obama NLRB’s biased “Ambush Election” Rule, and ending the NLRB’s discretion to certify micro-units.

National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix commented, “As Mr. LaJeunesse laid out in his testimony before Congress, the past eight years under the Obama NLRB have been dismal ones for the rights of America’s independent-minded workers. I urge Congress to exercise its oversight powers to ensure that the NLRB returns to being a neutral arbitrator rather than, too often, an arm of Organized Labor with the goal of expanding Big Labor’s forced dues ranks.”

13 Feb 2017

National Right to Work Foundation Launches Missouri Task Force to Defend and Enforce New Right to Work Law

Posted in Blog, News Releases

Foundation staff attorneys will provide free legal aid to Missouri workers seeking to exercise new Right to Work protections

Springfield, VA (February 13, 2017) – The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation announced today the creation of a special task force to defend and enforce Missouri’s newly-passed Right to Work law. Foundation staff attorneys will offer free legal advice and aid to Missouri workers seeking to exercise their right to refrain from union membership and union dues payment, as guaranteed by the Right to Work law.

One week ago, on Monday, February 6, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed into law Right to Work legislation, thereby making Missouri the nation’s newest and 28th Right to Work state.

Foundation staff attorneys are prepared to defend the Missouri Right to Work law from any spurious legal challenges brought by union officials. Big Labor, unwilling to give up their forced-dues powers, routinely challenges Right to Work laws in courts despite the fact that Right to Work laws have repeatedly been upheld.

Unfortunately, union officials also often try to stymie independent-minded workers who seek to exercise their rights under Right to Work laws. Any Missouri worker who has questions about his or her rights, or encounters any resistance or abuse while trying to exercise his or her workplace rights, is encouraged to contact Foundation staff attorneys for free legal aid.

“Passing a Right to Work law is just the first step; as these protections for Missouri workers must be defended and enforced,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Union bosses will go to great lengths to keep workers in their forced-dues grasp. The National Right to Work Foundation will fight to make sure that every Missourian’s Right to Work is protected because no worker should ever be forced to pay union dues or fees just to get or keep a job.”

Affected employees are encouraged to call the Foundation’s legal hotline toll-free at 1-800-336-3600 or contact the Foundation online at www.nrtw.org to request free legal assistance or to learn more about their new rights.

Task Force Staff Attorneys Filed Lawsuit Challenging Biased Ballot Petition Language Approved in Political Payback by Big Labor-backed former Secretary of State

Previously, with free legal representation from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys three Missouri workers filed legal challenges in late January against ten separate initiative-petitions that designed to block the Right to Work law that was at the time being considered for final passage by the Missouri Legislature. If approved by the voters in the 2018 general election, the ballot measures would prevent the Missouri General Assembly from prohibiting forced-unionism agreements, essentially overturning the Missouri Right to Work law.

All three of the plaintiffs – a nurse and two Kansas City Police Officers – will be directly affected by the passage of any of the union boss-backed ballot measures because they would lose their Right to Work without being compelled to subsidize a labor union.

With passage of Right to Work looming and Governor Eric Greitens pledging to sign the bill into law, union bosses scrambled to put numerous initiative-petitions to kill the law on Big Labor-friendly Jason Kander’s desk for his approval before he left office. Secretary Kander unsuccessfully challenged Senator Roy Blunt in the 2016 election, with his campaign largely funded by the union boss political machine that submitted these petitions.

Secretary Kander approved all ten just hours before vacating his office on January 9, with the intent of having them appear on the 2018 general election ballot if the measures’ Big Labor-backers obtain the required number of signatures.

Although required to draft summary statements to inform petition signers and voters of the effect of the proposed amendments, former Secretary of State Kander’s midnight actions seem designed to hide from Missouri voters what the ballot measures would put in Missouri’s constitution. None of the proposals even mention the Right to Work law that they are clearly designed to nullify.

National Right to Work Foundation Actively Defending Recently-Enacted Right to Work Laws

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has a long history of assisting employees seeking to exercise their Right to Work rights, most recently under Right to Work provisions enacted in Kentucky, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana

The Foundation created a special legal task force to protect and enforce the newly passed Kentucky Right to Work law. The task force also released a special legal notice to Kentucky workers detailing their rights under the new law and have been taking calls from dozens of workers seeking information.

Late last year with the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys an employee at the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia, Reginald Gibbs, filed a motion to intervene in the ongoing lawsuit concerning the West Virginia Right to Work law that was passed in early 2016. Although the State of West Virginia was already defending the law in the case, the motion noted that Gibbs has a special interest in defending Right to Work and his attorneys can offer legal arguments distinct from those raised by state lawyers. Foundation staff attorneys have also filed several amicus briefs defending the Right to Work law.

In Wisconsin which passed a state Right to Work law in 2015, Foundation staff attorney’s submitted amicus briefs in both federal and state court in response to union boss lawsuits that allege that Right to Work laws constitute an “illegal taking” of union resources. A Federal Judge struck down the Federal lawsuit and the State lawsuit is pending.

In Michigan, which passed both private sector and public sector Right to Work in 2013, Foundation staff attorneys filed two amicus curiae briefs defending the Right to Work laws against two lawsuits. Both lawsuits were eventually unsuccessful. Additionally, Foundation attorneys have filed over 88 actions for Michigan workers seeking to exercise their Right to Work.

After the passage of a Right to Work law in Indiana in 2012, union bosses sought to wipe out the law with two lawsuits in State court and one in Federal court. Foundation staff attorneys submitted amicus curiae briefs in both State court cases and conferred with the State’s lawyers about what legal arguments to make for the State against the union boss challenge to Right to Work in federal court. The Right to Work law was ultimately upheld in all three union boss lawsuits.

8 Feb 2017

Postal Union Bosses Forced to Return $1.1 Million Stolen from Rank-and-File

Union officials outrageously claimed legal right to take additional $7.5 million

This story was published in the January/February issue of Foundation Action. To read this issue or other previous issues please click here. To sign up for your free copy of the newsletter via mail please see the form at the bottom of the page.

Washington, D.C. – In the culmination of a two year long fight, US Postal Service workers receiving free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation have won their battle with the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), forcing the union officials to disgorge over one million dollars taken by the union from money intended for the workers.

In December 2014, over seven thousand USPS workers were awarded a lump payment of back wages as part of an arbitration award. To the workers this was a windfall victory, but to the officials at the APWU, this was an opportunity to pad union coffers. Steven Raymer, an APWU national director involved with the arbitration, colluded with the Postal service to divert over one million dollars from the total award of 8.64 million dollars into the coffers of the APWU.

In April 2016, two postal workers, Louis Mazurek and Scott Fontaine became aware of the award and filed separate NLRB charges against the APWU in NLRB Region 5.

In an affidavit filed with the NLRB during the proceedings, union official Raymer went to some length to attempt to justify his decision to divert that sum from the money intended for the very workers he claimed to “represent.”

Raymer even admitted that he had considered taking more of the funds away from the workers. “I had thought briefly about keeping the entire amount…I think I would have been justified in keeping it all…” His testimony showed that his concern was not for the workers the APWU claimed to represent, and that had he thought he could get away with it, he would have diverted more money away from the workers.

“This battle just emphasizes the disconnect between the workers, and union brass,” said Mark Mix, President of the Foundation. “Sadly, the only reason that these workers saw any money at all was fear of getting caught, not genuine concern and care for the workers.”

As the case proceeded Fontaine and Mazurek approached the Foundation because they were concerned with what would happen to their case in the NLRB. Foundation staff attorneys assisted them in the hearings that were scheduled between the NLRB and union lawyers. A full hearing before an administrative law judge was scheduled for early November.

Less than 24 hours before the hearing, the NLRB came to the rescue of the union officials and issued a settlement in the case sparing union officials’ another round of embarrassing testimony about their sellout of the rank-and-file.

Under the terms of the settlement, the APWU must disgorge the full 1.1 million dollars that it stole from the workers. 70% is ordered to be paid out immediately to workers with each of the approximately 7,200 employees eligible to receive a pro rata share of $770,804.58.

The remaining 30% of the stolen money, $330,326.70, will be placed in a separate escrow account under the direct supervision of the NLRB Regional director for the next three years. Any funds remaining at the end of this three year period will be divided evenly among the workers who received payments as part of the settlement.

“This is an unprecedented victory for union employees. Never before has a union been caught so dramatically taking this large a sum, and then being forced to return the money to its rightful owners,” said Mix. “The workers are fortunate that they were able to take advantage of the free legal aid offered by the Foundation, else they might not have seen any of this money ever again.”

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3 Feb 2017

Worker Files Brief Against Coercive Union Boss Gerrymandering Scheme

Posted in News Releases

Union bosses used controversial rule to gain a foothold in Chattanooga VW plant after previous floor-wide votes failed

Washington, D.C. (February 3, 2017) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a worker in the Chattanooga, Tennessee Volkswagen plant has filed an amicus curiae brief with the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals asking the court to overturn the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision that allowed United Auto Workers (UAW) union bosses to gain access to the plant’s workers through a micro-unit scheme.

In February 2014 workers at the plant rejected UAW union representation in an NLRB sanctioned election. Undeterred, UAW bosses sought to gain a foothold in the plant through a 2011 NLRB decision that allows for what is termed “micro-unit organizing.” The recent NLRB decision allows union officials to gerrymander specific groups of employees into micro-units for union representation votes. In December 2015, the UAW used this tactic to win a vote for a micro-unit, thus imposing a coercive one size-fits-all monopoly bargaining contract on those workers.

Patrick Penderfraft is one of the workers in the VW micro-unit who voted against union representation. He opposed the UAW’s gerrymandering of workers to gain a victory in the vote. The Foundation has now assisted him in filing a brief in D.C. Circuit Court arguing that his vote on union representation was diluted because the micro-unit was substantially made up of pro-union employees rather than the whole workplace which had already rejected unionization.

In previous years, Foundation attorneys assisted workers in fighting back against other UAW union boss schemes to unionize the plant, including through card check organizing.

National Right to Work Foundation Mark Mix commented, “The gerrymandering scheme that union bosses used to gain a foothold in the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant is unfair to the workers who voted against union representation only to have the ground rules changed and now are forced into a monopoly union. All workers should have the right to decide on union membership through a secret-ballot election, like the one that took place in 2014 in which union bosses were rejected, instead of through manipulated micro-unit schemes.”