News Story

Union: No Photo Needed to Vote, but Bring ID If You Want to Leave the Union

IBEW throws up obstacles for workers exercising right-to-work

In April of 2012, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) condemned laws requiring an individual to have a photo identification to vote in local, state and federal elections.

“Eleven percent, or over 21 million, of American citizens do not possess a government-issued photo ID,” an IBEW article stated when discussing the argument that photo ID laws suppress voting.

The union pointed the finger at “the ultraright” for pushing for photo identification as a requirement to vote.

However, the same union has no problem demanding a photo ID for something as simple as a member wanting to leave it.

Ryan Greene, who works for Paramount Industries in Croswell in Sanilac County, filed an unfair labor practices complaint on April 2 with the National Labor Relations Board because an IBEW local requires him to present photo identification in order to exercise his right under Michigan's right-to-work law to quit the union. The charges were reported by the Washington Free Beacon.

The complaint states that on Oct. 1, 2014, IBEW Local 58 issued a new policy mandating that all members who want to leave the union must appear in person at the IBEW Local 58 office and show a picture ID. The office is 82 miles from the Croswell plant where Greene works.

Andy Dunbar, president of the IBEW Local 58 didn’t return an email seeking comment.

Patrick Wright, senior legal analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, called the conflicting messages by the union “rank hypocrisy” and said it was just another example of a union trying to hold on to its power.

IBEW is not the only union to come out against photo IDs as a requirement to vote and then demand them of members wanting to leave the union.

The UAW Local 600 union, which represents truck drivers and other private sector workers, was also the subject of an NLRB complaint filed in October 2014. That complaint alleged the union was requiring individuals who want to leave to do so in person, accompanied by a photo ID.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.