Worker files claim against unionArea News
-- A New Brighton, Minn. Ford journeyman technician has filed a federal charge against a local Teamster union for allegedly violating his rights.
A New Brighton, Minn. Ford journeyman technician has filed a federal charge against a local Teamster union for allegedly violating his rights.
Dylan McHenry of Hammond, Wis. filed the charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Minneapolis against the Teamsters Local 974 union alleging that the union illegally confiscating union dues payments from his paychecks for political activism and refusing to follow federal disclosure requirements.
Officials with Local 974 were contacted but did not return emails or telephone calls.
Because Minnesota does not have Right to Work protections making union affiliation voluntary, McHenry, who resigned from formal union membership in April, is still forced to pay fees to the union to keep his job.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the “Foundation’s Communication Workers of America v. Beck” case that workers are not required to pay union dues or fees for political activities, lobbying and member-only events.
“I was frustrated watching all of the union money being poured into Wisconsin towards all of the recall elections and began to research ways to not have my money go to support this,” he explained.
Union officials must provide workers with an independently-audited financial breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures. This helps inform workers of how their forced union dues and fees are being spent.
According to the complaint, after McHenry resigned from formal union membership, Teamster union officials allegedly provided him with an incomplete breakdown of union expenditures. McHenry said he found the union was taking money from his paychecks for the Teamster political action committee.
“I am only supposed to be charged fees directly related to collective bargaining as by resigning my membership I can no longer vote in any union matters,” he said.
McHenry said he pursued the federal complaint because he wants all workers to have the choice about whether they want to join a union or not, and whether they want to support union political activities or not.
“For me this is more of a principal issue more than anything,” he said. “I just want to eliminate my dues money that I am forced to pay going to candidates and political organizations that I don't support. If I could I would leave the union altogether.”
Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work organization, said the issue if one of importance across the country.
“Teamster union bosses are illegally charging independent-minded workers for their political agenda and deliberately keeping workers in the dark about how their forced dues are being spent,” Mix said. “To prevent these types of forced unionism abuses in the future, Minnesota needs to pass a Right to Work law making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary.”
Twenty-three states have Right to Work protections for workers, Mix said.
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 rules.