In September, Long Beach-area Savage Services employee Nelson Medina charged Teamsters Local 848 union bosses with threatening to have him fired for refusing to join the union, pay full dues, and pay other fees demanded by union officials, the Globe reported. Savage Services in Wilmington, CA near Long Beach is a transportation company.
Now we can report Mr. Medina has won a settlement ordering Teamsters Local 848 union officials to pay back thousands of dollars in illegal dues they seized from Medina and nearly 60 of his coworkers who objected to union membership and to funding the union’s political activity, thanks to the free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation.
The Foundations says because California lacks Right to Work protections, even private sector workers who oppose a union’s presence in their workplace can be required to pay union dues or fees to keep their jobs.
However, according to the NRTW, because of another of their successful cases, CWA v. Beck, the U.S. Supreme Court decision forbids union officials from forcing private sector workers who have abstained from formal union membership to pay for union politics just to stay employed.
As part of the settlement, Teamsters officials are also ordered to refrain from threatening termination on workers who exercise their CWA v. Beck right to opt-out of funding union politics and other activities unrelated to the union’s bargaining functions.
The Globe reported on Mr. Medina in July when he asked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, DC to review an NLRB Regional Director’s decision to cast aside his objections to a mail-in ballot election at his workplace forced by Teamsters Local 848 union officials.
The crux of the issue was that Teamsters officials pushed to have a 2020 union representation vote by mail instead of in-person, according to Medina’s Request for Review brief. Medina found evidence of the union using the system to illegally solicit ballots. “The solicitation of mail ballots casts doubt on the integrity of the election and the secrecy of employees’ ballots,” the brief says.
There were only 126 eligible voters. The vote-by-mail results were 57 for union representation, 49 against, totaling only 106 votes. At the ballot count, several challenges were raised. And the Teamsters Union attorney had immediate access to the tracking numbers for two of the ballots originally thought to be received untimely, the brief says. Following the vote tally, the employer and petitioner Medina filed timely objections.
With the latest win, the NRTW said, “the settlement, in addition to requiring Teamsters bosses to return nearly $6,000 in illegally taken dues to Savage Services employees, also mandates that union officials post a notice in the workplace. The notice declares that the union ‘will not fail to provide non-member employees with a breakdown of dues and fees required for Beck objectors upon request,’ and that union bosses ‘will not threaten employees who have raised Beck objections with termination for failing to complete a union application as a condition of employment.’”
“That Teamsters Local 848 officials illegally siphoned money for politics from almost 60 Savage Services employees and threatened termination of those who dared to stand up for their rights demonstrates clearly that they prioritize power far above the employees they claim to ‘represent,’” National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix said. “Based on the sheer number of employees in Medina’s workplace who are receiving refunds as the result of this settlement, Teamsters officials apparently played fast and loose with the rights of all workers who objected to their agenda.”
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