On Friday the Washington Free Beacon posted an article about Jeff Richmond of Meadow Bridge, West Virginia. Mr. Richmond was a truck driver who began working for Penn Line Service, a trucking and construction company, in July 2012.
The article reports:
He never joined LIUNA, which represents other employees at the company, but that did not stop the union from deducting dues from his paycheck. The situation came to a head in October when Richmond refused to make “voluntary” contributions to three PACs associated with the union. He was fired from his job shortly afterward.
…Richmond challenged the forced dues program enacted by the union and the company before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after his firing with the help of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The NLRB issued a formal complaint against Penn Line Service and LIUNA but did not have a chance to rule on the matter before the settlement.
Richmond was not the only Penn Line Service employee to benefit from the settlement. The company and union agreed to reimburse an unnamed employee $600 for forced dues payments and political contributions he made in 2012.
Since the Supreme Court ruled on the Citizens United case, there has been a lot of talk about the amount of money in politics and particularly donations made by corporations. However, if we are going to complain about corporate donations, we need also to look at union donations unwillingly made by union members who do not necessarily support the candidates or causes the money is given to. At least in a corporation, the stockholders will hold the corporation accountable if the Chairman of the Board makes a donation to a cause the other Board members do not support.
The article concludes:
Mix (Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee) said the union’s actions are not surprising given the influence of organized labor in West Virginia. He urged lawmakers to change the pro-union atmosphere in the state to avoid future issues with compulsory union dues.
“West Virginia needs to pass a Right-to-Work law making union membership and dues payments completely voluntary,” Mix said.