Union officials make an example of nonmember to discourage other workers from exercising their rights under Indiana’s Right to Work law
Indianapolis, IN (February 12, 2013) – A local AT&T worker has filed a federal unfair labor practice charge against a local union for discriminating against him for exercising his rights under Indiana’s new Right to Work law.
With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Indianapolis AT&T worker James Dawson filed the charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Indianapolis.
In August 2012, Dawson resigned from membership in and exercised his right to refrain from paying dues to the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 4900 union. Under Indiana’s Right to Work law, which was enacted in early 2012, Dawson and other private sector workers have the right to refrain from union membership and dues payments. However, a worker who exercises their rights under the state’s Right to Work law may still be forced to accept an unwanted union’s representation.
CWA Local 4900 union bosses enjoy monopoly bargaining powers over all the workers in Dawson’s workplace, including Dawson. In late January, CWA Local 4900 union officials distributed copies of the union hierarchy’s monopoly bargaining agreement free of charge to union members in Dawson’s workplace. However, as detailed in his charge, when Dawson requested a copy of the monopoly bargaining agreement, union officials denied his request and in front of his coworkers demanded he pay $416 for a copy.
Dawson’s charge alleges that union officials are discriminating against him because he exercised his right to refrain from union membership. Dawson’s charge also alleges that union officials made an example of him to send a message to his coworkers that union members would be given preferred treatment over nonmembers even though nonmembers must accept the union’s “representation.”
“CWA Local 4900 union bosses are illegally discriminating against a worker who had the temerity to exercise his rights under Indiana’s popular Right to Work law,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Union officials are making an example of James Dawson to discourage other workers from exercising their Right to Work.”