UFCW union bosses begin dropping illegal fines against workers, but union still faces investigation on federal charges

Denver, CO (August 15, 2022) – Grocery store workers at King Soopers are continuing to battle, and win, against the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7 union officials’ illegal attempts to fine workers for exercising their right to work during a January UFCW strike action. While the union remains under investigation by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a series of charges filed by workers with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, several workers have already successfully challenged thousands of dollars in union fines.

In June and July three King Soopers workers, Nick Hall, Marcelo Ruybal and Hope Schaefer, filed federal charges against UFCW in response to union officials illegally threatening to fine the workers, who chose to exercise their right to work during a strike. The workers, whom union bosses are threatening to fine $812, $3,800, and $3,897.36 respectively, stated in their charges that the fines were illegal because the workers were not voluntary union members, and therefore not legally subject to internal union fines for working during the UFCW boss-ordered 10-day strike.

All three NLRB charges are still being investigated by NLRB Region 27 based in Denver.

In Schaefer’s case the union had previously even acknowledged in a 2011 letter that she was not a UFCW union member. However, although the union know she had not been a union member for more than a decade, UFCW union officials still threatened her with the nearly $4,000 fine.

In Hall’s case, the union recently backed down, rescinding the union’s illegal fine threat in a letter dated July 27, essentially acknowledging that it broke federal law. Other workers have also successfully challenged union boss fine threats following the January strike. With free legal representation from Foundation staff attorneys, worker Yen Chan challenged the union’s authority to issue a $3,552.48 fine, with union officials backing down rather than face further legal action.

At least two other King Soopers workers also successfully challenged thousands of dollars in UFCW strike fines using information provided by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys. Any worker facing such fines can still request free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation by calling 1-800-336-3600 or through the Foundation’s website: www.nrtw.org/free-legal-aid

“King Soopers workers are already beating back illegal fines levied by UFCW union officials, even as union officials are still under investigation by the NLRB for three unfair labor practice charges,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Union bosses were caught red-handed in Nick Hall’s case which is why we’re already seeing them back down, but it shouldn’t take the assistance of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys just to force union bullies to abide by federal law and cease violating the rights of rank-and-file workers.”

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.

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