Editor's Note: The following article originally quoted from a press release by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The press release incorrectly identified some locals as the subjects of a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board by construction worker John Lugo. The unions involved are Local 697 and Local 601 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Legal Newsline regrets the error.
CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - A nonunion Chicago-area construction worker has filed a federal charge against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and two of its local affiliate unions for allegedly discriminating against him because he is nonunion.
John Lugo filed the charge against Local 697 and Local 601 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers unions with the Region National Labor Relations Board in Chicago on Tuesday, according to an announcement by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which is providing free legal assistance.
The union has claimed monopoly bargaining privileges over all the workers, the NRTW says. Lugo, who refrains from formal union membership, is still forced to accept union officials' so-called "representation" and go through the union's hiring halls to find employment, he claims.
Federal labor law provides that unions must "fairly represent" workers, including those who have exercised their right to refrain from union membership, if the union wants to claim exclusive representational powers over the workers.
However, union officials have made it difficult for Lugo to obtain employment through the union hiring hall, apparently in retaliation for not being a union member, Lugo claims. He says he must complete extra requirements to obtain work and even after doing so he is still obstructed from obtaining work, making it difficult for him to provide for himself and his family.
"If Teamster union bosses have a problem with treating fairly workers who refrain from union membership, then they should not claim exclusive representation over those workers," said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work.
"It is unconscionable that Teamster union officials would stand in the way of independent-minded workers providing for their families - especially in this tough economy."