Retaliatory Firings of Nonstriking Workers Illegal!

If You Quit the Union, Youll Lose Your Job

Grocery Worker Whom Union Boss Threatened Files NLRB Complaint

Early in the afternoon on Thursday, April 11, top bosses of five subsidiaries of the mammoth United Food & Commercial Workers union (UFCW) sent more than 30,000 New England supermarket employees out on strike.

And UFCW bigwigs evidently didn’t believe they could win their battle against roughly 240 Stop & Shop stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island simply by convincing employees to walk off their jobs without fear of reprisals if they didn’t.

Union Boss Fed Grocery Worker Flagrantly False Information About His Rights

Employees who notified the union brass that they were exercising their legal right to resign from the UFCW so they could continue to work and feed their families without being subjected to Big Labor fines and other penalties report they were threatened by union officials.

One employee charges that UFCW Local 1459 officer Dean Ethier explicitly told him, in a text message, that he would lose his job once the strike was over for quitting the union so he could continue working, even though retaliatory firings of nonstriking workers are clearly illegal!

On April 17, the employee, who works at a Stop & Shop store in western Massachusetts and prefers to remain anonymous, filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the UFCW Local 1459 brass.

He is receiving free legal assistance from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.

Nonstriking Employees Allegedly Had to be Escorted By a Security Guard

“Power-crazed and vengeful union bosses can and often do slap onerous fines on union members who disagree with a strike and decide to stay on the job,” said National Right to Work Committee Vice President Matthew Leen.

“But nearly three-and-a-half decades ago, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, in Patternmakers v. NLRB, that private-sector union members have an unqualified right under federal law to resign from a union immediately. Of course, Big Labor cannot impose fines or other penalties on non-members.

“And more than half-a-century ago, the High Court made it clear, in NLRB v. General Motors, that it is illegal to fire an employee simply for not being a union member, although non-member employees in non-Right to Work states may unfortunately be fired for refusal to fork over forced fees to the union.

“But when an employee asked Secretary-Treasurer Ethier about his right to keep working as a union non-member, the union kingpin falsely told him he would lose his Stop & Shop job if he quit the union.

“And later, after the employee saw through Mr. Ethier’s deception, resigned from the union, and returned to work, he was subjected to threats of violence and harassment by, and at the direct instigation of, UFCW Local 1459 agents.

“The threats and harassment were so ugly, reports the employee, he and other nonstriking employees had to be escorted in and out of the grocery store by a security guard.”

Eyewitness reports across New England indicate that employees who defied strike orders were not the only targets of UFCW union thuggery.

Regular Stop & Shop customers who continued to patronize the store during the strike, which ended on Easter Sunday, were reportedly videotaped by UFCW union bullies and subsequently harassed on Facebook. 

Do Special Privileges Spur Union Dons to Believe They Can Get Away With Anything?

Ken Pittman, a radio talk show host in New Bedford, Mass., has reported he saw union radicals throw objects at a shopping mom with a toddler in tow.

“It is reasonable to ask,” observed Mr. Leen, “why there are so many union officers like Dean Ethier and union militants who, it appears, are ready to break the law in broad daylight.

“To Right to Work supporters, the most plausible explanation by far is the extraordinary privileges federal labor law grants Big Labor over employees.

“And by far, the two most egregious of these privileges are the monopoly power to speak for the individual employee on workplace matters, even if the employee chooses not to join the union, and the power to get employees fired for refusal to bankroll the union.

“Is it really so shocking that a union boss who CAN legally get a worker fired for refusing to fork over money to a union the worker doesn’t support would get the idea Big Labor can also get a worker fired for refusing to obey strike orders?”

(source: June 2019 National Right To Work Newsletter)