Teamsters Back Down After UPS Worker Charges Them for Denying Legal Rights

Queens, NY (June 21, 2021) – Teamsters union officials at a UPS warehouse in Queens, New York, settled charges brought by Kamil Fraczek, an employee who was misled by union officials about his legal rights. Fraczek received free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

When Fraczek began working at the UPS warehouse full time, a Teamsters representative told him he must become a union member and sign documents authorizing dues deductions from his paycheck. The official said Teamsters officials would ask UPS to fire him if he did not comply.

Because New York is a forced-unionism state that doesn’t protect workers with a Right to Work law, Fraczek can be required to pay some union fees as a condition of his job. However, under the Supreme Court’s 1988 CWA v. Beck decision, won by attorneys at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, no private-sector worker can be compelled to financially support certain union activities unrelated to bargaining, like political lobbying. Further, under longstanding federal law, workers cannot be required to become formal union members.

When Fraczek independently learned of his rights, he returned to the Teamsters official and asked to become a non-member and a Beck objector. He provided a letter to the representative stating his intention to pay only reduced fees and decline union membership.

The Teamsters official doubled down on his prior misrepresentations, insisting that Fraczek must pay full dues and sign membership documents. The Teamsters official again threatened to have Fraczek fired if he did not comply with these demands. The official falsely claimed that only supervisors can opt out of the union, and that the federal laws protecting workers from funding union political activities only apply in Right to Work states, not in forced-unionism states like New York.

In response, Fraczek filed his NLRB charge asserting his right to pay reduced fees under Beck and not to join the union. Fraczek later was able to free himself from the union altogether by being promoted to supervisor, and Teamsters officials settled Fraczek’s charges. Under the terms of the settlement, Teamsters officials will post a notice to all employees informing them of their right to become a nonmember and pay reduced union fees. The notice also promises that union officials will not threaten to have nonmember employees fired, as the official did to Fraczek.

“Teamsters officials lied to Kamil Fraczek about his legal rights by telling him he would be fired if he didn’t become a full dues-paying member,” said National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix. “Fraczek escaped Teamsters bosses’ clutches on his own by getting promoted, but thanks to the charges he filed Teamsters officials will not get away with their illegal threats, as union bosses are being required to notify other workers in Fraczek’s warehouse about their legal right not to join the union.”

If you have questions about whether union officials are violating your rights, contact the Foundation for free help. To take action by supporting The National Right to Work Committee and fueling the fight against Forced Unionism, click here to donate now.

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