UPS worker Gary Frost has sued the Grand Rapids-based Teamsters Local 406, claiming it has interfered with his ability to invoke the state's right-to-work law.
Frost's case is the latest example of a union in a newly-minted right-to-work state placing barriers to workers' efforts to opt of paying union dues.
Right-to-work laws protect workers against being forced to either join a union or pay dues to one as a condition of employment.
Unions insist on these provisions, called "security clauses," in their contracts with employers, even though they are barred in 24 states.
Michigan approved its right-to-work law in January, making it the 24th and most recent state to do so.
There is a catch, though. People previously covered by union contracts typically must affirmatively opt out, and the people in charge of that process are the unions themselves. They do not make it easy for the workers.
As Frost found, that is the case with Teamsters Local 406. The Grand Rapids Press reports:
Frost was told by union officials he would have to wait for a “union-designated ‘window period’” before he could stop paying dues, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation said in a statement.
The union hasn’t provided Frost with a copy of his dues deduction authorization or told him when the “window period” will expire, the foundation said.
Frost filed an unfair labor practice charge against the union with the National Labor Relations Board. The foundation is providing free legal assistance.
In June, I reported two similar cases of workers finding it hard in Indiana to get their unions to agree to release them from paying dues. Indiana passed its right to work law last year.