New settlement requires union bosses to provide workers information on how union is spending their money
Buffalo, NY (July 13, 2021) – With free legal representation from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, Lockport, NY-based Student Transportation of America school bus driver Cynthia Roszman has won a settlement in her case charging the Teamsters Local 449 union with failing to provide information about how worker dues are spent.
As part of the settlement, Teamsters union officials must provide Roszman and her coworkers who have refrained from formal union membership sufficient information to decide whether to challenge the union’s dues calculation for nonmembers.
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 3 in Buffalo is enforcing the settlement. Roszman, who resigned her union membership in May 2018, first hit Teamsters bosses with federal charges in September of that same year, asserting that they had not provided her with an independently-verified breakdown of the union’s expenditures and accompanying information about the process for disputing union officials’ calculation of the reduced dues rate for nonmembers.
The NLRB ruled in 1995 that under the 1988 Foundation-won CWA v. Beck case private sector union officials must provide nonmember employees with this information. Beck mandates that private sector union bosses cannot, as a job condition, force workers who have abstained from union membership to pay dues for anything beyond the union’s core representational activities.
In states that have Right to Work protections for their employees, union membership and financial support are completely voluntary and union bosses cannot force workers to pay any portion of dues as a condition of keeping a job. Even though New York lacks such protections, union bosses still must follow the requirements of Beck to justify their forced dues demands.
To avoid prosecution, Teamsters Local 449 officials initially entered into a settlement in the case in January 2019. They agreed to only deduct from Roszman the nonmember dues rate based on the Teamsters national union’s financials, so they could rely on the national union’s breakdown as opposed to providing one themselves. However, after about a year union bosses reneged on this agreement and resumed demanding Roszman pay Local 449’s nonmember rate, yet refused to give her the legally-mandated financial breakdown and information for challenging that rate.
The latest Foundation-won settlement now compels Teamsters Local 449 officials to give Roszman and her coworkers who have decided not to associate with the union “information that is relevant and sufficient to enable the objector to determine whether to challenge the calculation” of the union’s dues amount for nonmembers. Union officials must also post a notice at Roszman’s workplace informing employees of the settlement.
“Although this favorable outcome for Ms. Roszman is good news, no workers should have to battle union bosses for years just to get basic information on how the union is spending their money, and on how they can contest what union officials force them to contribute just to keep their jobs,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “All American workers deserve the protection of a national Right to Work law, which would ensure that no worker could legally be forced to pay dues or fees to a union boss just to get or keep a job.”
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.