SEIU accused again of workers' rights violations

Michael P. Tremoglie Mar. 12, 2012, 10:00am

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) -- A housekeeper for the Osceola Regional Medical Center has filed federal charges, with the National Labor Relations Board's Tampa bureau, against the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Workers East for allegedly violating her right to refrain from dues-paying union membership under Florida's Right to Work law.

Imaculada Camara of St. Cloud, Fla., sent a letter Dec. 8, 2011, notifying union officials that she was exercising her right to resign from union membership. SEIU officials refused to acknowledge her letter claiming it was not sent via registered mail. On Dec. 28, Camara sent a second letter, which SEIU officials again rejected, this time for not being timely.

According to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the SEIU officials' refusal to allow Camara to exercise her right to refrain from union membership clearly violates federal law. NRWF is providing free legal assistance to Camara. The NRWF maintains that any worker has the right to resign from full-dues-paying union membership at any time and is not required to notify the union via certified mail.

Camara's NLRB complaint is also challenging the legality of the union's method to collect dues. They use a document to authorize automatic deductions from employees' paychecks for union dues. This prevents a worker's ability to exercise their rights to resign from union membership.

This is the second complaint filed about the SEIU from an Osceola employee.

Eduardo Lopez, a colleague of Camara, filed a similar charge in January. The charges will be investigated by the NLRB Regional Office 12 in Tampa.

"SEIU officials are just making up excuses to prevent workers from exercising their constitutionally-protect right to refrain from union membership," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Schemes like this show that the ultimate goal of union officials is to collect more forced dues from workers, even when rank-and-file employees want nothing to do with the union."

Complaints against the SEIU have been filed within the past few months by employees in Minnesota, California and Rhode Island.

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