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Sterling Employment Law

UPS employee wins suit against Teamsters for violating rights

Workers in Michigan, like elsewhere, expect to have their rights honored by their employers and by their unions if they are required to join. Both employers and unions are expected to honor all state and federal laws relating to employee rights.

A woman from Traverse City recently won a victory in her effort to have a local union stop taking deductions from her paychecks after she had left the union 17 years earlier.

The 30-year UPS employee had quit Teamsters Local 406 in 1997 after 4 years of membership but was forced by state employment law at the time to continue paying dues.

When Michigan adopted a right-to-work law in 2013, she again notified the Teamsters that she no longer wished to pay dues, a right afforded to her under the new law. The union claimed there were constraints on her ability to withdraw from union representation that would not allow her to stop paying dues and denied her request.

The woman approached the National Labor Relations Board with allegations that both UPS and the Teamsters were violating her rights as an employee by forcing her to pay fees and dues to the union even though she had quit.

The NLRB decided in her favor and required the Teamsters to reimburse the total in union fees that had been illegally withheld along with interest earned on the total. UPS also was cited by the NLRB for participating in the violation.

Employees who find themselves in similar positions of unfair treatment by employers or discrimination, regardless of their status as union or nonunion workers, should report the situation and seek advice about their situation. A cause of action might be available. A legal professional can offer the best advice on the legal options available to them. The employee might be able to file suit against the employer or find some way to reach a settlement that respects their rights as workers.

Source: UpNorthLive.com, "Traverse City woman wins federal Right to Work case", Roxanne Werly, April 29, 2014

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