Forced unionism is one of the issues that galls right to work advocates the most. How can we, as a free people, be forced by state laws to join a union just to keep a job? Worse, how can one be forced to pay union dues without even joining a union just to keep a job? Is this not America where one has free choice?

Well, the National Right to Work organization has been asking that question for some time and is now attempting to put the question to the courts. At UPS facilities in Dayton, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky, NRTW is assisting several drivers for the United Parcel Service to sue the Teamsters and UPS for having been forced to pay dues to a union they do not wish to support.

Louisville, Kentucky, and Dayton, Ohio (August 19, 2008) – With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation, three UPS employees in Kentucky and two UPS employees in Ohio filed federal lawsuits Friday and Monday, respectively, against national and local Teamsters officials for illegal extraction of forced union dues.

In the lawsuits, the nonmember employees claim that the national and local unions breached their duty of fair representation and violated the employees’ First and Fifth Amendment rights by charging and collecting fees used for organizing nonunion workers throughout the United States and financing a members-only “Strike and Defense Fund.”

This is a situation where these drivers are forced to pay union dues and are also forced to be represented by the Teamsters despite their personal wishes, preventing these employees from being able to represent themselves before their employers.

The fees paid by these drivers also seem to have violated Federal laws.

Since March 2006, the union charged and collected from the nonmembers compulsory fees greater than 80 percent of the full dues and fees paid by union members. Union bosses failed to provide a required notice of Beck rights and disclosure detailing the basis of the fees until this year. The financial disclosure reveals that Teamsters’ compulsory fees include disallowed expenditures for the national union’s efforts to help organize nonunion employees in both the private and public sectors nationwide. The employees have also been forced to contribute to the “Strike and Defense Fund,” which bars benefits flowing to nonmembers.

“It’s bad enough that employees who exercise their right to refrain from union membership are forced to pay fees to a union they do not want,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “But Teamsters bosses are violating the law by compelling nonmembers to fund strikes and organizing activities which seek to corral even more workers into forced unionism.”

Good luck to these brave drivers for taking on the Teamsters, well known for their violent tendencies.

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