Feds Probing Complaint That Mich. Workers Forced Into Union

Monday, 05 Aug 2013 03:09 PM

By Lisa Barron

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The federal government is investigating a complaint made by three security guards at a Dearborn-based Ford plant that a Michigan labor union and their company forced them into the union ahead of the state's implementation of right-to-work laws.

The guards with Allied Barton Security Services filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board after the company signed an exclusive agreement with United Protective Workers of America (UPWA) Local 1, alleging that the agreement forced all employees to pay full dues into union coffers and that membership would play a role in deciding bonuses and promotions, reports the Washington Free Beacon.

"These are bullying tactics unions have chosen to use and obviously an investigation should be launched," said Annie Patnaude, deputy state director of Americans for Prosperity-Michigan. "Unfortunately, a lot of this has been going on, explicit and implied threats if workers exercise the new freedom."

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder made Michigan, which has the nation's seventh-highest percentage of unionized workers, the 24th right-to-work state on March 28, barring companies from requiring employees to join unions as a condition of employment and allows workers to choose whether they will join.

The UPWA and other labor unions have posed repeated challenges to the law in the four months between the bill's signing and its implementation, trying to put lengthy contracts into place because the law does not apply to existing contracts.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which fought to pass the state's right-to-work legislation in December, is reportedly representing one of the three guards.

Foundation President Mark Mix said in a statement, "This case underscores just how important Michigan's new Right to Work law is for Michigan's workers. No worker should ever be forced to pay union dues or fees to a union as a condition of their employment."

The NLRB's Detroit office will hear the case on Tuesday, according to the Free Beacon.

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