Truck driver illegally forced to pay for union political activity

| May 3 2013

When company officials gave West Virginia truck driver Jeff Richmond an ultimatum, he knew something wasn’t right. So he stood by his convictions.

“Management took me home because I told them I wouldn’t sign the voluntary check off authorization for the [union’s Political Action Committees] for moral reasons,” explained Richmond.

I didn’t feel that it was right for them to terminate someone because they wouldn’t sign a ‘voluntary’ check off.”

Not only was it not right, it was blatantly illegal.

So Richmond turned to your National Right to Work Foundation for free legal aid, and the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 453 and Penn Line Service now face federal prosecution for violating his rights.

You see, last July, the company began confiscating full union dues from Richmond’s paycheck even though he did not join the union and did not authorize the dues deductions.

A few months later, management asked him to sign a dues deduction form — including a section to authorize “voluntary” contributions to LIUNA’s political action committee, the Laborers’ Political League, and the West Virginia Laborers’ District Council PAC.

Although company and union officials failed to inform him of his right to refrain from union membership, Richmond did so because he believed it was a condition of employment.

But he refused to authorize the political contributions – and company officials literally took him home.

Because West Virginia lacks a Right to Work law, workers who refrain from union membership can be forced to pay some union fees.

But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Foundation-wonCommunications Workers v. Beck case that nonmembers have the right to opt out of paying for union activities unrelated to workplace bargaining, such as union-boss politics, ideological causes, and members-only events.

While federal law provides some recourse to victimized workers, cases like this one demonstrate why forced-unionism states like West Virginia desperately need Right to Work protections.

When management and union officials keep workers in the dark about their rights — and even outright lie — workers must have the wherewithal to discover their rights on their own.

And without your Foundation, they would literally be alone in the fight.

But thanks to your support, workers like Jeff Richmond are not alone.

Unfortunately, I estimate there are hundreds of thousands or even millions of workers who are subjected to illegal forced-dues-for-politics scams, especially during election years like last year when Big Labor went all-out to re-elect Barack Obama.

That’s why your Foundation is committed to fighting schemes like this — in both courts of law and in the court of public opinion.

Our record of stopping illegal use of union dues for political purposes is second to none.

Thanks again for making that work possible.

Sincerely,

Mark Mix

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