Indiana News Anchor Threatened by Union Despite No Union Contract

Mitch Daniels’ decision to shutdown Right To Work legislation leaves indiviudals like this WRTV anchor, Patricia Shepherd, battling Big Labor greed. 

From the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation news release:

Union Forced Dues Threats against WRTV Anchor Highlight Need for Indiana Right to Work Law

Union hit with federal labor board charges for demanding TV anchor pay union dues despite lack of valid contract between her employer and the union

Indianapolis, IN (May 19, 2011) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, WRTV anchor Patricia Shepherd has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) union.

Shepherd’s charges allege that AFTRA officials demanded she pay dues despite the fact that she is not a union member and the union has not had a contract with her employer for the past two years.

Because Indiana lacks a Right to Work law, employees can be forced to pay union dues for the purposes of workplace bargaining just to get or keep a job. In recent months, Indiana legislators were considering a law to make union dues payments strictly voluntary, but Governor Mitch Daniels and House Speaker Brian Bosma, despite strong majorities on record in favor of a Right to Work bill in both chambers of the state legislature, ultimately killed the legislation.

In this case, the AFTRA union has not had a contract with WRTV since March 2009 and therefore is not entitled to collect dues for negotiations with management. Moreover, the last contract between the union and the television station indicated that joining AFTRA or paying union dues was not a condition of employment at WRTV.

Although the union’s own contract includes language stating that dues payment is not a condition of employment, AFTRA officials continue to insist that Shepherd pay union dues. The union has gone so far as to refer Shepherd’s name to a professional collections agency in Pennsylvania.

Shepherd’s charges will now be investigated by the National Labor Relations Board.

“The decision by Speaker Bosma and Governor Daniels to block a vote on an Indiana Right to Work law means that union bosses will continue to order employees fired for refusing to pay union dues,” said Patrick Semmens, Legal Information Director for the National Right to Work Foundation. “In this case, union officials broke the law by attempting to collect dues without a valid forced unionism clause, but other Indiana union bosses are still empowered to collect hundreds of millions of dollars from workers who face termination if they don’t pay up.”

Semmens continued: “Ultimately, a Right to Work law for the Hoosier State would be the best way to end this injustice, ensuring that union membership and dues payment are strictly voluntary.”

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in nearly 200 cases nationwide. Its web address is www.nrtw.org.