Pam Ankeny, an employee in the printing department for Georgia Pacific, has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 651 union. Ankeny’s charges, which were filed with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation, say that Teamsters union bosses illegally collected union dues after she submitted two letters of revocation.
In July of 2021, Ankeny submitted a resignation and dues check-off revocation letter to union officials. The union responded two weeks later by claiming that Ankeny had missed her “window period” for dues check-off revocation.
In response, Ankeny submitted a second letter in August again reiterating her resignation and check-off revocation. She further requested a copy of the authorization union officials were using to block her request. The union acknowledged that Ankeny’s letter constituted a valid check-off revocation and indicated it would stop dues deductions. However, it failed to provide Ankeny with the requested authorization.
Despite the union acknowledging her valid August 2021 check-off revocation, beginning in January 2022 dues deductions resumed without Ankeny’s authorization and have continued as of the filing of her charges. In addition to the charge against the union, a charge was filed against Georgia Pacific for making the illegal dues deductions.
The charges allege that both practices are unlawful under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which safeguards private sector employees’ right to abstain from any or all union activities. Further, in the 27 states with Right to Work protections, including Kentucky, union membership and dues payments are strictly voluntary.
“While Kentucky’s Right to Work law protects workers from being fired for refusing to pay union dues or fees, unless workers are vigilant, unscrupulous union bosses will still attempt to stuff their pockets with illegal forced dues,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Any worker subjected to illegal union dues seizures should not hesitate to reach out to the National Right to Work Foundation for free assistance in exercising their legal rights to cut off dues payments.”