Two Syosset-based bus drivers have filed federal charges against a local Teamster union for refusing to recognize, without condition, their constitutional right to refrain from formal union membership and instead are intimidating independent-minded workers who exercise that right.
With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, the two Acme Bus Corp. drivers filed the charges late last week with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Brooklyn.
Teamsters Local Union 1205 officials are failing to acknowledge without condition the workers’ rights to refrain from formal, full dues-paying union membership established under Foundation-won precedent in the Supreme Court case Communication Workers v. Beck. Instead, Teamster Local 1205 union bosses are forcing nonmember employees to sign a self-disparaging letter characterizing themselves as “dues complainers.”
In Beck, the Supreme Court held that workers who refrain from formal union membership – while still forced to pay certain union fees as a condition of employment – have the right to refrain from paying union dues spent for activities like political activism, lobbying, and member-only events. Teamster union bosses are further required to provide an independent breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures. So far, they have failed to adequately fulfill that requirement.
Meanwhile, the employees are also being forced to illegally subsidize the union bosses’ strike fund even though nonmember employees are not eligible under union rules to receive payments from it.
“Teamsters Local 1205 union bosses need to stop this illegal behavior immediately and cease violating the rights of rank-and-file workers,” said Patrick Semmens, legal information director for the National Right to Work Foundation. “Ultimately, the best way to protect the rights of workers in the Empire State is for New York to pass a Right to Work law ending union officials’ power to have workers fired for refusing to pay union dues or fees and making union membership strictly voluntary.”