A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Union Bullies Workers Exercising Their Rights

List with names of people who opted out of the union distributed to try to intimidate ex-members

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Another union is trying to intimidate some former members by listing their names in a newsletter after they exercised their rights and left the union. 

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 referred to 19 workers from across the state who opted out of the union after the state's right-to-work law went into effect as "freeloaders." The union printed the names in its winter 2013 newsletter under the headline, "RTW FREELOADERS LIST." The union released a smaller list in its summer 2013 newsletter, which had the names of two members who opted out.

The union has a main office in Bloomfield Township and represents mainly food service and transportation employees, janitors and para professionals.

Terry Bowman, a UAW member and president and founder of Union Conservatives Inc., said the members who opted out should take action against their former union.

"Workers should remember that they have rights against workplace threats and from the harassment that comes from the continued poor judgment by union officials," Bowman said. "Any worker who was exposed by union officials and put in danger for simply exercising their rights should consider contacting Michigan's attorney general's office for criminal complaints, as well as civil legal action. Union officials must be held accountable for putting workers and their families in real, substantial danger of retaliation.

"Union officials are so used to using fear and intimidation on their own workers, that they forget how alarming their actions have become," Bowman said. "Any worker who simply exercises their First Amendment right of freedom of association and takes advantage of Michigan's right-to-work law should be able to do so without the danger of retaliation."

Last year, the Michigan Education Association 17-B/C union in the Upper Peninsula also published the names of 16 employees who left the union. 

MEA Union President Steve Cook has referred to former union members who opt out as "freeloaders."

However, in a Senate committee hearing in December, MEA Spokesman Doug Pratt said the teachers union didn't want to lose the opportunity to represent former members who left the union. 

International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 President Scott Page and Vice President Daniel L. Boone did not respond to requests for comment.

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See also:

Union Tries To Shame Ex-Members

Who's the Freeloader? MEA Spends More On Benefits Than Bargaining

August Is 'Get Out of the Union Month' For Teachers

The Union 'Free Rider Problem' Myth In Right-to-Work Debate

Union Will Use 'Any Legal Means' To Combat Members Who Want To Leave