Beck Victory for Connecticut Worker

On remand from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Dist. of Columbia Circuit, the Nat’l Labor Relations Bd. provisionally held Dec. 20 that autoworker George Gally is entitled to a make whole order to remedy the violation found by the court. That is the United Auto Workers of Am.  and UAW Local 376 in Hartford, Conn. violated the Nat’l Labor Relations Act causing Gally’s employer Colt Industries to discharge Gally for nonpayment of dues without first informing him of the amount by which his union fees would be reduced if he became an objector under CWA v. Beck. NLRB originally dismissed Gally’s complaint but was reversed by the court.

NLRB accepted the court’s findings and found that UAW and Local 376 engaged in unfair labor practices, it required them to notify the employer in writing, with a copy to Gally, that they have no objection to his employment and that they affirmatively request his reinstatement. NLRB also required the union and the local to notify Gally of his rights under Beck and to inform him that he is not subject to discharge for nonpayment of union dues in the absence of such notification. The notice must include the amount by which Gally’s fees would be reduced were he to become a Beck objector. UAW and Local 376 were ordered to make Gally whole for any loss of wages and benefits he may have suffered as a result of their unlawful conduct, from the date of his discharge until the date of his reinstatement by the employer.

However, NLRB gave UAW and Local 376 the opportunity to litigate, at the compliance stage of this proceeding, that Gally was a “free rider,” who willfully and deliberately sought to evade his union-security obligations. If the union and the local make this showing, Gally will not be entitled to backpay. In the overturned decision, NLRB did not address the free rider issue because it held that the union and the local’s conduct causing Gally’s discharge were not unlawful. [BNA 1/22/02]