Ken Leighton 5 p.m., Jan. 24
Teenage grocery worker files complaint over union dues
Boy finds representation through Virginia-based anti-union group
An Oceanside teenager has filed a complaint alleging unfair labor practices, claiming he was misled to believe that membership in the United Food and Commercial Workers union was compulsory at his part-time job at a Ralphs supermarket represented by UFCW Local 135.
According to a statement from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc., which is representing the minor and describes itself as a “nonprofit charitable institution” with a mission “to eliminate coercive union power and compulsory unionism abuses,” union representatives provided the boy with an illegally-worded employment packet upon hire.
“UFCW Local 135 union officials provided the clerk in July with a membership packet that illegally stated that the clerk and other new hires must join the union and pay full union dues as a condition of their employment while burying notice of his actual legal rights,” the Foundation says. “Information about workers’ right to refrain from full dues paying union membership was located at the back of the packet in fine print.”
When the worker tried to resign his union membership in order to pay reduced dues (a portion of which are indeed mandatory in union-represented workplaces such as Ralph’s), his requests were “denied, stonewalled, or ignored,” according to the National Labor Relations Board complaint filed with the assistance of the Foundation.
Among other alleged injustices are a request that the worker to appear in person at the union hall with his request to resign and that he provide the union with his Social Security number. He was also reportedly threatened with termination if he failed to comply with demands that he join the union as a full member.
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