Union Bosses Lie to Workers to Keep Them in Line

Forced Union Dues Promote a ‘Culture of Big Labor Abuse’ in Maine

As national IAM President Robert Martinez boasted about rank-and-file support for the BIW strike, his lieutenants were threatening workers with an array of reprisals if they chose to go back to work. (Credit: AP Photo – Scott Sonner)

On June 22, top officials of Local S6 of the International Association of Machinists (IAM/AFL-CIO) union ordered roughly 4,300 Maine shipbuilders out on a strike that, by Big Labor’s own admission, had nothing to do with securing higher pay or better benefits for employees.

As soon became clear, IAM bigwigs didn’t believe they could win their battle against Navy shipbuilder Bath Iron Works (BIW) simply by convincing employees to walk away from their jobs and not return to them until the strike was over, without fear of reprisals if they didn’t toe the Big Labor line. 

Threatening IAM Message To BIW Workers Referenced Drowning, Hanging by Rope

On July 9, union officials disseminated a written message to front-line employees threatening them with an array of reprisals if they chose to go back to work so they could support their families with their earnings. 

The message approvingly cited bloody-minded early 20th Century socialist writer Jack London’s opinion that workers who disobey strike orders should be drowned or hanged by rope. 

It vowed that union kingpins would, whenever they could get away with it, impose onerous fines on employees who returned to work.

The message even claimed that employees who resigned from the union so they could return to work without being hit by union-boss fines equal to “the total amount of wages” they earned during the strike would still be forced to pay “full union dues” once the strike was over.

Why Are So Many Union Bosses Ready to Break the Law in Broad Daylight?

National Right to Work Committee Vice President John Kalb commented:

“As decades of successful litigation on behalf of employees by the Committee’s sister organization, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, illustrate, power-crazed and money-grubbing union bosses often try to force workers to continue paying full union dues after they resign.

“But multiple U.S. Supreme Court decisions, including most notably the Foundation’s 1988 victory in Beck v. CWA, have clearly affirmed that forcing employees who no longer belong to a union to pay full dues is illegal.”

Mr. Kalb continued: “It is reasonable to ask why top officers of IAM Local S6 and many other union kingpins around the country who make illegal threats to deter workers from striking are ready to break the law in broad daylight.

“Right to Work supporters know one answer: In Maine and the 22 other states where they are still permitted by law, forced union dues promote a culture of Big Labor abuse.

“In the Pine Tree State, a union boss CAN legally get a worker fired for refusing to fork over money to a union the worker doesn’t support. 

“Is it really so shocking that, in such an environment, union bosses would try to get away with threatening to extract from workers, on pain of firing, even more money than the U.S. Supreme Court has found to be permissible?” 

Thousands and thousands of freedom-loving citizens in Maine are determined to put an end to Big Labor’s culture of abuse in their state.

And the grassroots group New England Citizens for Right to Work, which aims to pass laws prohibiting forced union dues and fees in Maine and other states in the region, is now running its 2020 candidate survey for the November 3 elections.

Survey Program Focuses On Right to Work as Election Day Approaches

The New England-based group, advised and supported by the National Right to Work Committee, has contacted state politicians of all stripes to urge them to oppose compulsory unionism across the board.

Now Mainers are urged to contact this fall’s candidates with letters, postcards, and phone calls in support of Right to Work. The goal is to build up support for worker freedom continuously until November 3.

Mr. Kalb commented: “Long, bitter experience has shown that when politicians refuse or neglect to answer their surveys, they tend to vote with Big Labor.

 “The time to turn up the pressure is now, when they are candidates, rather than when they are safely in office.”