LA Times press workers file charges against Teamsters

Michael P. Tremoglie Jan. 19, 2012, 8:45am

LOS ANGELES -- Two Los Angeles Times printing press operators have filed federal charges with the National Labor Relations Board against a local Teamster union for violating their rights.

Leon Carey Jr. and James Clayton filed Jan. 12

Recently, Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (GCC/IBT) Local 140-N union and LA Times management entered into a contract requiring all employees to be full-dues-paying union members. But full membership is not enforceable under federal law. GCCIBT officials failed to inform workers of their rights, including their right to refrain from full-dues-paying union membership as upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck case.

Instead, Teamster Local 140-N union officials sent the workers a letter ordering them to join the union and pay full dues or face termination. The union officials disregarded the workers' previous letters informing union officials that they were refraining from union membership.

Because California is not a Right to Work state, employees can be compelled to pay union dues and fees as a condition of employment. However, employees cannot be legally compelled to join a union against their will. Furthermore, they cannot be compelled to pay union dues used for union politics and member-only events.

"Teamster union officials have conducted an illegal campaign to extract full union dues from these workers wanting to exercise their rights to refrain from formal union membership, even though union officials can still force these workers under their control regardless of their union membership status," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Making union membership and dues-payment completely voluntary is the only way to prevent this type of abuse in the future, which is why California desperately needs a Right to Work law."

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