Company and union officials obstruct workers from exercising rights to refrain from union membership and dues payments
Fort Leonard Wood, MO (November 7, 2014) – A local government union and an Overland Park, Kansas-based food services company are facing a federal prosecution for violating Fort Leonard Wood food service workers’ rights.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) prosecution comes in the wake of federal charges filed by two workers with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.
Because Missouri does not have Right to Work protections for workers, employees can be required to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. However, under Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court precedent, nonmember employees can refrain from paying for union boss politics and many other activities.
Kimsha Rosensteel, an 11-year employee with food services provider EDP Enterprises, Inc, was president of the National Association of Government Employees (SEIU-NAGE) Local R14-139 union for about one and a half years. While she was union president, Rosensteel discovered that the union was failing to follow federal disclosure requirements designed to better inform workers about their rights to refrain from full-dues-paying union membership.
In response, the union hierarchy removed Rosensteel from her post and tried to pressure her into accepting a deal that allowed her to refrain from paying union dues and fees in order to keep her quiet about the union’s activities. However, after several other EDP Enterprises workers also requested that they be able to refrain from paying all union dues or fees, EDP management demanded the union resume taking full union dues from Rosensteel’s paychecks.
Another worker, Stephanie Fenton also filed federal charges after NAGE union officials stonewalled several workers’ requests to refrain from formal, dues-paying union membership and refused to follow federal disclosure requirements designed to better inform workers of their rights.
“It is unconscionable that NAGE union bosses are actively obstructing workers from exercising their statutory rights and then work with company management to cover it up,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This case underscores the need for Missouri to pass Right to Work protections for its workers.”
The NLRB scheduled a hearing on the case for January 12, 2015.
Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for workers. Recent public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the Right to Work principle of voluntary unionism.