In response to charges brought by hospital employees at St. Elizabeth Health Ctr. in Youngstown, Ohio, the Gen. Counsel of the Nat’l Labor Relations Bd. filed a formal complaint Jan. 15 against Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters Local 377 for unfair labor practices. The workers, with the assistance of Nat’l Right to Work Fdn. Legal Def. Fdn. attorneys, filed federal charges in 2001 against the the local for refusing to accept their resignations and for failing to properly notify them of their right to refrain from paying dues to subsidize union political activities.
“Teamsters officials must now answer for their systematic shaking down of employees,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the NRTWLDF. “Hopefully, this is a signal that the Bush NLRB plans to stand up for union-abused workers.”
Officials of the Youngstown-based union refused to accept employees’ written resignations from union membership and told employees that they must pay all “back dues” before the union would even consider their resignations. Local IBT officials were also charged with using payroll deductions to collect alleged “preexisting debt arrearages” that the union could not lawfully obligate the workers to pay under its forced unionism clause. Under the 1988 Supreme Court decision, CWA v. Beck, workers may resign from formal union membership at any time and pay only for the union’s proven collective bargaining costs, an amount that is only a fraction of full union dues. Unless Local 377 remedies its lawbreaking, the case will proceed to a trial before a NLRB administrative law judge. [NRTWLDF 01/15/02]