Teamsters Officials Charged after Threatening: Join Union and Pay Dues or Be Fired

Teamsters representative falsely told warehouse workers he could be fired if he did not become a union member and pay full dues.

Teamsters Local 804
Credit: International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Queens, NY (March 22, 2021) – Kamil Fraczek works in a New York City UPS warehouse whose employees are subject to monopoly representation by Teamsters Local 804. On March 15, 2021, Fraczek filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after a Teamsters union official made repeated threats to his job and deceived him about his legal rights. The charge was filed with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

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

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 activities, like political lobbying. Further, under longstanding federal law, workers cannot be required to become formal union members.

Later, Fraczek learned of his rights, and returned to the Teamsters official asking 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.

As the unfair labor practice charge states, the Teamsters official doubled down on his prior misrepresentations, insisting that Fraczek 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. According to the charge, “Local 804’s agent has repeatedly tried to mislead Mr. Fraczek about his rights and has invoked the Union’s power to get him fired, all in an effort to coerce Mr. Fraczek into signing the membership and dues deduction authorization form…”

“Union officials are perfectly willing to tell outright lies to independent-minded workers who object to union membership,” said National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix. “Union bosses blatantly ignore the law just to protect their forced-dues revenue stream, and it is workers like Mr. Fraczek who pay the price.

No worker should be forced to pay dues to a union just to keep their job, and no worker should have to file federal charges just to get union officials to recognize their rights.”