Worker appeals NLRB ruling

Michael P. Tremoglie Aug. 17, 2012, 2:36pm

MINNEAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - A technician for a Minnesota Ford dealer has filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board after the Minneapolis Regional Office partially dismissed his complaint that Teamsters Local 974 violated federal labor laws.

The appeal, filed Aug. 9 on behalf of Dylan McHenry of Hammond, Wis., by attorneys for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, centers around the issue of whether the union used McHenry's dues payments for political activism - a violation of his rights as put forth by the Supreme Court in the case Communication Workers of America v. Beck.

McHenry also alleges the union refused to follow federal disclosure requirements - another labor rights violation originally articulated in another Supreme Court case known Teachers Union v. Hudson. This rule was later adopted by the NLRB.

The Regional office dismissed the allegation that the collection and use of dues for the union's DRIVE campaign - its political action committee - was an unfair labor practice. It was dismissed because the union said the use of McHenry's dues was merely a mistake.

Because Minnesota does not have a right-to-work law, making union affiliation completely voluntary, McHenry is compelled to pay fees to keep his job. However, union officials must provide workers with an independently audited financial breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures. This procedural safeguard helps inform workers of how their compulsory union dues are spent.

McHenry alleges that after he resigned from formal union membership, Teamster union officials provided him with an incomplete breakdown of union expenditures. He claims the union was taking money from McHenry's paychecks for the Teamster hierarchy's political action committee.

The complaint also asks that the money be refunded, collection of dues for political purposes cease, McHenry be notified of the mistake, notices be posted at the workplace and on the Internet, and future fees be reduced to compensate for the error.

"Teamster union officials were caught red-handed illegally taking workers' hard-earned money for the union bosses' political agenda. Yet, the NLRB regional office in Minneapolis is allowing them to get away with it," said Mark Mix, NRTW President.

Teamsters Local 974 declined to comment about the case.

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