Missouri Union Goes on Trial for Forced Dues

Washington Free Beacon | 8/7/2018 | Bill McMorris
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BY: Bill McMorris

A Missouri worker is accusing his union of violating his rights to pay partial union dues.

International - Brotherhood - Electrical - Workers - Local

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 53 will head to trial before the National Labor Relations Board, the federal government's top labor arbiter, to contest accusations that it illegally withheld information about dues from an objecting worker. The complaint, filed by James Feagin, an employee at New-Mac Electric Cooperative, Inc., alleges that the union did not provide adequate accounting explanations for agency fees, which allow workers to pay partial fees to cover representational or grievance costs without funding political or lobbying activities. Feagin was forced to hand over partial fee payments that were the equivalent of 94 percent of dues payments, which came to $38 per month or between 1 and 4 percent of pay. The lack of transparency violated his labor rights, according to the complaint.

"Respondent [the union] has failed to provide the Charging Party … with an adequate explanation" of its spending, the complaint says. "Respondent has been restraining and coercing employees in the exercise of [their] rights."

Brett - Stone - Business - Manager - Local

Brett Stone, the business manager of Local 53, said the union was not surprised with the complaint because Feagin had been a dissenter for several years. The union denies all charges in connection to the case and argues its breakdown of representational and political activities is appropriate.

"We used to operate off of the numbers based on what the national [union] spent for agency fees, but we decided to have an auditor go back and look at what we as local spent," he said. "That's when the fees went up and that's when he complained."

IBEW - Activities - Lobbying - Activities

The national IBEW spent more than $5 million on political activities and lobbying in 2017 compared with $66 million on representational activities, according to its...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Washington Free Beacon
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