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RIGHT TO WORK ATTORNEYS WIN CLASS ACTION RELIEF FOR PORTLAND-AREA GROCERY WORKERS AGAINST FORCED-DUES THREATS

 RIGHT TO WORK ATTORNEYS WIN CLASS ACTION RELIEF
 FOR PORTLAND-AREA GROCERY WORKERS AGAINST FORCED-DUES THREATS
 SPRINGFIELD, Va., May 22 /PRNewswire/ -- In the wake of recent presidential steps to inform federal contract employees of their right to stop the collection and use of their forced union dues for political activities, National Right to Work attorneys have won the same notification for thousands of Oregon retail and grocery workers.
 "Nearly four years ago, we won for workers the right not to pay for union officials' non-bargaining activities," said Rex H. Reed, executive vice president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. "Despite President Bush's recent first steps to implement that right, union officials persist in lying to employees. Now, grocery and retail workers around Portland will know their rights against forced-dues coercion. That's a major step forward."
 Officials of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, Local 555, agreed Wednesday to have notices posted in about 300 grocery and retail stores in Northwestern Oregon, including Fred Meyer and Safeway. Like the notice to be posted in federal contractors' work places, it will inform employees of their right not to join and pay full union membership dues, or to pay for political and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining. Under the settlement, employees hired since March 1990 are eligible for refunds of a portion of their misspent dues.
 UFCW union officials agreed to the notices instead of facing a trial before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for ignoring these rights. The trial and settlement were won for the employees by foundation attorneys.
 The workers whom foundation attorneys represented at the NLRB were led by Mildred Gauderman, a checker for Safeway. Gauderman resigned from the UFCW union around the time of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1988 ruling in Communications Workers v. Beck. In that foundation-won case, the court ruled that employees could not be forced to pay for political and other activities not necessary to collective bargaining, contract administration and grievance adjustment.
 UFCW union officials rejected Gauderman's resignation, denied her Beck rights, and forced her on threat of firing to continue paying full membership dues. Other employees were fired after refusing to pay dues until their rights were acknowledged.
 In addition to acknowledging the Beck decision, UFCW union officials also agreed to refund all dues seized from Gauderman from March 1990 to June 1991. The employees who were fired will receive full back pay and benefits and be reinstated to their jobs.
 Reed pointed out that the union in Beck's case was forced to refund 79 percent of the dues they charged as unrelated to collective bargaining. "Therefore," he said, "I'm very skeptical about the UFCW's claim that 88 percent of their membership dues are bargaining- related. But thousands of workers will now know that they can challenge that claim."
 The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The foundation is representing thousands of employees in more than 400 cases nationwide.
 -0- 5/22/92
 /CONTACT: Tim McConville or David Kendrick of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, 703-321-8510 or 800-336-3600/ CO: National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation ST: Oregon IN: SU:


MH-DC -- DC012 -- 3332 05/22/92 12:59 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 22, 1992
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