Union fines worker for working during strike

Michael P. Tremoglie May 10, 2012, 10:00am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - A Honeywell nuclear assembly worker filed a federal charge against the International Association of Machinist Local Lodge 778 on Friday.

The suit was filed over a $7,361.36 fine assessed for, Daniel Gudde claims, exercising his right to refrain from union membership and continue to do his job during a union boss-instigated strike.

Gudde filed the charge with the National Labor Relations Board regional office in Overland Park, Kansas. Gudde began working at Honeywell in late September believing he had to join the union.

After IAM Local 778 went on strike in early October, Gudde and three of his coworkers were unsure if they had to walkout as union members or if they had to fulfill a required 30-day probationary period of employment. Union officials told Gudde and his colleagues to continue to work to complete the 30-day probationary period.

After the probationary period, union bosses obligated Gudde and his coworkers to leave their jobs at the nuclear facility. Gudde learned of his right to resign from full dues-paying union membership at any time after he completed the probationary period.

He notified the IAM union hierarchy that he was resigning from formal union membership when his 30-day period ended and returned to work after a couple of days. Union members are bound by the union's constitution and bylaws. They can be fined for continuing to work during a strike. Workers who refrain from union membership are not subject to a union's constitution and bylaws and cannot be fined or otherwise disciplined for working during a strike.

IAM union bosses fined Gudde $7,361.36 for working during the strike. Moreover, three coworkers who did not resign from the union but also worked during the 30-day probation period, were not fined.

"Cynical IAM union bosses are retaliating against a worker for exercising his rights to continue providing for himself and his family during a strike, even after they told him to keep working," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation, which is providing free legal assistance to the complainant.

"These types of compulsory unionism injustices will continue to occur until Missouri passes Right to Work protections for its workers."

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