Worker advocate assists healthcare workers coerced into forced dues union ranks
Sacramento, CA – With free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys, a Sutter Roseville Medical Center respiratory care practitioner has won a settlement against a statewide union for coercing her and her colleagues into paying forced union dues.
Late last year, Mary Massen filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in San Francisco after Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers – West (SEIU-UHW) officials refused to allow her to exercise her rights.
Because California does not have Right to Work protections for its workers, Massen, who has exercised her right to refrain from formal union membership, is still forced to pay union fees as a condition of employment. However, because of a Foundation-won Supreme Court precedent in Communication Workers v. Beck, she cannot be compelled to pay the portion of union dues used for the union’s political, lobbying, and member-only activities. Union officials are also legally obligated to inform workers of these rights and to provide workers with an independently verified audit of chargeable and non-chargeable expenses.
Union officials failed to provide nonmember employees with the disclosure Beck requires and forced the workers to object annually, a tactic designed to coerce workers into paying full union dues. Additionally, SEIU-UHW union officials required employees to provide their social security numbers to refrain from paying union dues used for union boss political activities, further discouraging workers from exercising their rights.
Union bosses’ misuse of social security numbers to retaliate against workers who refuse to toe the union line is not without precedent. In an ongoing case, Foundation attorneys are assisting 16 employees in North Carolina whose social security numbers and other personal information were publicly posted by union officials in apparent retaliation for exercising their right to not join the union.
The settlement prohibits SEIU-UHW from requiring annual renewal, stops union officials from demanding social security numbers from workers exercising their Beck rights, and requires union officials to post an informational notice in the workplace. Foundation attorneys are appealing a part of the settlement because the NLRB is not requiring union officials post the informational notice on the union’s website.
“This precedent-setting victory defeated a union hierarchy’s scheme to force workers to give away sensitive personal information for no other reason than to discourage them from exercising their statutory rights” said Patrick Semmens, Legal Information Director of the National Right to Work Foundation. “ California needs a Right to Work law to protect workers from these forced unionism abuses in the future.”
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 http://www.nrtw.org/