Buffalo Teamsters Hit with NLRB Complaint for Illegal Dues Seizures

Responding to federal labor charges filed by attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a complaint to force Teamsters Local 449 to refund dues illegally collected from employees of Laidlaw Transit Services after they were expelled from union membership for voicing opposition to the union.

The case arose when four workers, Alfonso Ditillio, June Reinard, Jill Galluzzo, and Tim Stalker, filed unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB in April 2002.  In October 2001, the employees exercised their right to resign from formal union membership and to pay a reduced fee to cover only the costs of collective bargaining.  However, Teamsters officials illegally refused to accept their resignations and continued charging them full union dues.

In December 2001, Teamsters officials further harassed the workers by expelling them from the union for participating in a decertification election to remove the union from the workplace.  Even after the expulsion, union officials continued to demand that the four workers pay full union dues.

The NLRB seeks an order requiring the Teamster officials to refund all of the union dues collected from the workers since December 2001.  Under law, if an employee is kicked out of a union for any reason other than failing to pay union dues he cannot be compelled to pay any dues whatsoever to the union — despite the existence of a forced unionism requirement in the collective bargaining agreement. [NRTWLDF]