Wisconsin AFSCME Union Bosses Face Federal Charges for Illegally Seizing Forced Dues for Politics

National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation News Release:

Wisconsin needs Right to Work law to protect workers from forced unionism abuses

Milwaukee, WI (March 16, 2011) – A U.S. Bank customer service and support employee has filed federal charges against a local union after AFSCME union officials illegally attempted to force him and his colleagues into full-dues-paying union membership.

Peter Quinones of Milwaukee filed the charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Tuesday with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.

After American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 777 union officials were granted monopoly bargaining privileges over approximately 300 U.S. Bank employees, Quinones sent a letter to union officials stating that he was exercising his right under National Right to Work Foundation-won Supreme Court precedent in Communication Workers v. Beck to refrain from full dues paying union membership.

Because Wisconsin is a forced unionism state, workers who refrain from formal union membership can still be forced to pay a certain amount of union dues, but cannot be compelled to pay the portion of union dues used for the union’s political, lobbying, and member-only activities.

Despite his letter, AFSCME Local 777 union officials continued to extract full union dues from his paycheck. After Quinones filed an unfair labor practice charge, union officials still refused to honor his request to exercise his legal rights.

Quinones’ latest charge seeks to prevent the AFSCME union hierarchy from requiring him to pay forced union fees by automatic deduction from his paycheck in violation of federal law.

“As we have seen in recent weeks, AFSCME union officials will stop at nothing to collect forced union dues from workers – whether they are in the public or private sector – to pay for their political activism,” said Patrick Semmens, National Right to Work Foundation legal information director. “Wisconsin’s workers desperately need Right to Work protections to protect them from the very union bosses that claim to care about workers’ rights while violating workers’ rights.”

If enacted, a Wisconsin Right to Work law would end compulsory union dues by making union membership and dues payment strictly voluntary. Polls consistently show that 8 in 10 Americans support the Right to Work principle, that no worker should be compelled to join a union or pay union dues to get or keep a job. Twenty-two states have already passed Right to Work protections for their workers.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in nearly 200 cases nationwide. Its web address is www.nrtw.org.