Following the filing of federal charges by car dealership employee Remmington Duk against International Association of Mechanics (IAM) Lodge 447, union officials have backed down and agreed to pay Mr. Duk $16,916.
The charges, filed with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation, came after Mr. Duk was fired from his job at Robert Basil Buick GMC at the behest of IAM agents who had illegally threatened to have him fired because he exercised his right not to be a union member.
Mr. Duk’s charge against the union was filed on January 31, 2022, with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal agency responsible for enforcing the National Labor Relations Act and adjudicating disputes among private sector employers, unions, and individual employees. The charge stated that on October 7, 2021, an IAM official demanded Mr. Duk sign paperwork authorizing union membership, threatening that he would be fired if he declined. Mr. Duk refused to sign and Robert Basil Buick GMC then terminated him on October 12, 2021.
Because New York lacks Right to Work protections for private sector employees, unions can force individuals to pay up to 100% of union dues as a condition of keeping their jobs. However, formal union membership cannot be required, nor can payment of the part of dues used for expenditures like union political activities. In contrast, in the 27 states with Right to Work protections, union membership and financial support are strictly voluntary.
To make Mr. Duk’s federal unfair labor practice charge go away, the IAM union will pay him $16,916, post a notice in his workplace which will stay up for 60 days informing other workers of their right not to be union members, and agree to inform future new employees of that right. The check the union will write reflects the amount of money Mr. Duk would have earned through the present time had he not been fired.
Although the NLRB has signed off on the settlement agreement between Mr. Duk and union officials, an additional charge against Robert Basil Buick GMC for its role in the illegal termination remains under investigation by the NRLB.
“Once again, Foundation staff attorneys have caught union officials red-handed violating the rights of the very workers they claim to ‘represent,’” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Mr. Duk was brave to stand up to the union’s unlawful threats even though it meant losing his job, but his case highlights how workers’ less knowledgeable of their legal rights are susceptible to blatantly illegal tactics from power hungry union bosses.”
“The IAM union bosses’ willingness to violate longstanding law shows why all workers, including those in the Empire State, need the protection of a Right to Work law,” Mix added.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in around 250 cases nationwide per year.