Ore. teamsters guilty of unfair labor practice

Michael P. Tremoglie Apr. 10, 2012, 8:20am

SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) - An Oregon school bus driver has won his case against a labor union that allegedly violated his rights.

The case involved the collection of dues by a labor union from a nonunion employee in a state that does not have a right-to-work law. First Student bus driver Richard Harmon of Sandy, Ore., filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board's regional office in Seattle against Teamsters Local 206 of Portland, Ore., after union officials allegedly violated the terms of a settlement reached with the local bus driver.

Harmon resigned from formal union membership in Teamsters Local 206 in January 2011. Since Oregon does not have a right-to-work law making union affiliation completely voluntary, he must pay a certain amount of union dues to keep his job. Workers who refrain from union membership do not have to pay dues for anything other than collective bargaining activity.

Teamster Local 206 union officials continued to confiscate full union dues from his paychecks. The union also allegedly failed to inform workers of their right to refrain from formal union membership and did not provide the legally required independently audited report of union expenditures used to inform workers of what union dues and fees they must pay.

Harmon reached a settlement with Local 206 union officials, but union officials continued to refuse to provide an adequate and complete audited breakdown of local and other affiliate union expenditures, it is alleged. Harmon filed another complaint with the NLRB in late December 2011.

As a result, the NLRB regional office in Seattle issued a federal complaint on March 30 against Local 206 union officials for violating the terms of the settlement. On April 3, it moved for a default judgment against the union, which was granted.

"Teamster union officials are stopping at nothing to illegally force workers into dues paying union ranks," said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation which provided free legal assistance for Mr. Harmon.

"Oregon desperately needs a Right to Work law making union membership and dues payments completely voluntary. Until then, workers will be forced to pay for unwanted 'representation' from union bosses who claim to have the workers' interests in heart but in actuality do not."

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