Labor Board Judge
Rules UAW Violated Ford Worker’s Rights by Seizing Union Dues
Seizure of dues by union officials from Ford employee was a violation of his
rights and “more than mere negligence”
Washington, D.C. (February 26, 2019) – Ford
Motor Company employee Lloyd Stoner won a ruling against the United Automobile
Workers (UAW) Local 600 in Dearborn, Michigan, in his federal labor case with
free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.
Administrative Law Judge Michael A. Rosas ruled that
UAW Local 600 engaged in unfair labor practices, prohibited by the National
Labor Relations Act, by accepting union dues deducted from Stoner’s wages for
two-and-a-half months after he resigned union membership and revoked his
authorization to deduct dues. The union also failed to refund any of the dues
taken without Stoner’s consent for nearly five months after his revocation and
then belatedly failed to refund the entire amount owed him.
Stoner had already won a favorable settlement last
month from Ford, which was charged in a separate complaint for deducting the
unauthorized dues from his paycheck.
ALJ Rosas found that union officials restrained Stoner
from exercising his legal rights. Workers are entitled to resign union membership
at any time under federal law. Furthermore, Michigan’s Right to Work Law passed
in 2012 states that nonmembers cannot be required to pay any union dues or fees
as a condition of their employment. So, failing to promptly allow Stoner to
resign his union membership and stop paying union dues constituted an unfair
Moreover, ALJ Rosas found that upon receiving Stoner’s
resignation and dues deduction authorization revocation, UAW Local 600
Financial Secretary Mark DePaoli “decided to sit on it for a while” instead of
providing a timely notice to Ford about Stoner’s resignation and dues deduction
authorization revocation. This resulted in Ford deducting dues from Stoner’s
paycheck without authorization for an additional 10 weeks, which constituted an
additional unfair labor practice under federal labor law.
DePaoli “provided a vague and less than credible
explanation” for his failure to properly notify Ford to stop remitting dues to
the union, Rosas explained, adding that DePaoli’s inaction represented “more
than mere negligence.”
ALJ Rosas ruled that the dues deduction card that
Stoner signed did not require workers to pay any dues or fees after resigning
membership in the union. Union officials therefore had no legal authorization
to accept any further dues deducted from Stoner’s wages after his resignation.
Under the ruling, UAW Local 600 must refund all dues
taken from Stoner after his resignation, with interest. In addition, union
officials must post notices at Ford’s Dearborn factory acknowledging that the
union violated federal labor law and will honor all requests to resign union
membership and cut off dues deductions.
“This decision in favor of Mr. Stoner is a victory for
all Michiganders who wish to exercise their rights under the state’s Right to
Work Law,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation.
“Union bosses are officially on notice that they cannot continue seizing dues
from employees after they resign their union membership.”
“Big Labor has consistently refused to acknowledge the rights of workers it claims to represent, requiring Foundation staff attorneys to litigate more than 100 cases for Michigan workers since the state’s Right to Work Law was passed in 2012,” added Mix. “As long as Michigan union bosses continue their forced unionism abuses, the National Right to Work Foundation will assist workers seeking to free themselves from these coercive tactics.”