United Rock Products Foreman Wins Settlement Challenging Illegal Forced Dues Demands by Union Officials

IOUE officials threatened workers’ jobs to extract dues for period before a monopoly bargaining contract had even been signed with their employer

From the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation website:

Irwindale, CA (January 22, 2021) – Wes Ginier, a foreman with United Rock Products won a settlement in his case at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against International Union of Operating Engineers (IOUE) officials for illegally demanding he and his coworkers join the union and pay union dues before a monopoly bargaining contract was even in effect. He filed the Unfair Labor Practice charges with free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.

As detailed in the charges filed in May 2020, the IOUE signed a monopoly bargaining contract with Ginier’s employer in March of that year. Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), a union monopoly bargaining contract cannot require payment of union dues or fees until after 30 days have passed. Despite this, IOUE officials demanded that Ginier pay dues and become a member of the union on March 26, 2020, prior to the expiration of the 30-day period.

Not only did this demand violate the NLRA, it also violated the 1963 NLRB v. General Motors Supreme Court decision, which protects workers from being forced to become full union members. According to his charge, union officials threatened Ginier, telling him he would lose his job if he did not comply with their demands.

According to the charges, IOUE officials also “demanded and collected dues for a period of time when there was no [monopoly] bargaining agreement.” Workers were also told if they refused to pay these dues from before the monopoly bargaining contract was signed, they would lose their jobs.

Ginier’s charges further stated that IOUE officials failed to explain employees’ rights under CWA v. Beck. In the Supreme Court’s decision in Beck, the High Court declared that employees have the right not to be union members and to pay a reduced fee if they object to funding Big Labor politics and lobbying efforts. IOUE officials failed to inform Ginier and his coworkers of their right to pay this reduced fee, and instead insisted they must pay full dues and become full members, or else lose their jobs.

As part of the settlement, IOUE officials are required to post a notice explaining workers’ rights under Beck, including that they cannot be compelled to pay the portion of regular dues that goes towards union politics and other activities unrelated to the union’s bargaining activities. The settlement also requires union officials to inform new employees of these rights, and to “include sufficient information to enable the employees to intelligently decide whether to object” to membership and full union dues.

“IOUE union bosses were so eager to extract forced dues payments from Wes Ginier and his coworkers that they couldn’t even wait the legally required 30 days before threatening workers to pay dues or else be fired,” said National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation president Mark Mix. “This case demonstrates again the willingness of union bosses to use deception and coercion to line their pockets, even at the expense of the very workers they claim to represent.”

If you have questions about whether union officials are violating your rights, contact the Foundation for free help.

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