When you get fired for refusing to join the union

When you listen to the company line espoused by Democrats and their media stenographers, you are regularly assured that labor unions are important because they stand by workers and ensure their rights are honored. One case out of New York State this year demonstrates that those claims aren’t worth the paper they are printed on if the worker in question doesn’t toe the line and fork over their money. A mechanic from the vicinity of Buffalo, New York was working at a car dealership there but had opted not to join the labor union representing their workers, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW). He wound up being directly threatened by a union boss who told him he could either join the union and start paying full dues or he would lose his job. Five days later, the mechanic received his walking papers. And now he’s taking his case to Washington to take on the system. (Free Beacon)

A mechanic in New York says he was fired because he refused to join his workplace’s union after he received threats from its leadership.

Remmington Duk says union bosses at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers illegally threatened him in October, telling the mechanic that his employer would fire him if he did not join their union. Five days after he received the threats, Duk’s employer, the Buffalo-area Robert Basil Buick GMC dealership, terminated his employment, according to charges Duk filed last month with the National Labor Relations Board against the union and his former employer.

Duk told the Washington Free Beacon that it is “outrageous” that union officials pushed for his firing while claiming to protect workers.

Since New York isn’t a right-to-work state, workers can still have union dues extracted from their paychecks to supposedly fund collective bargaining. But they are not required to join the union and pay additional dues that almost entirely go toward political donations to Democrats. There was no mention of any performance issues regarding Mr. Duk, so his termination clearly appears to have been driven by the union. But he was already putting money into the union, though not the same amount that members pay.

Duk has representation and is taking his case to the National Labor Relations Board. The problem with that is the NLRB is almost entirely in the pocket of the unions and finds on their behalf in a majority of cases. Assuming Duk’s case fails at the NLRB, what he (and the state of New York) needs is a court challenge similar to Janus v AFSCME. Frankly, the unions shouldn’t be collecting any money from non-members to begin with. And even if they can legally do it in New York State, they certainly can’t be allowed to force otherwise productive employees to be fired for the “crime” of not joining.

The other question is why the owners of the dealership where Duk worked went along with this plan. Are they just big labor fans themselves or were they cowed into doing it by even more threats from the union bosses? The dealership isn’t returning requests for comment yet, so we may not know the answer unless a more complete investigation is undertaken.

Speaking of the NLRB, keep in mind a few news items involving them over the past year. As soon as Joe Biden took office, he fired some people at the Board who had been appointed by Donald Trump, far ahead of the scheduled end of their assignments there. Some of Trump’s appointees were more interested in holding unions accountable, whereas the member put in place by Democrats largely just kowtow to the labor unions. More recently, the NLRB began the process of “revisiting” some of their previous guidelines involving determinations of whether various workplace rules put in place by employers are lawful. If that decision goes in the expected direction, it will make it far easier to set up shop rules that are more favorable to the unions.

None of this makes the outcome in Duk’s case a foregone conclusion, but it certainly doesn’t do much to inspire optimism. And I get the feeling that he has a long fight ahead of him.

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