Michigan workers who exercise their right to opt-out of union membership are publicly scolded for their disloyalty by Operating Engineers Local 324, which publishes their names and places of employment in a quarterly “Freeloaders List.”
Michigan became the 24th right-to-work state in 2012, granting workers the option to quit union membership and cease paying dues. Many workers who either don’t feel adequately represented or disagree with their union’s liberal politics made the choice to quit.
But at least one union, Local 324, has responded by publishing the names of those who left the union in its quarterly report. The implication of the “Freeloaders List” is that workers who exercised their legal rights not to be affiliated with the union are somehow traitors. The list includes 19 names.
The Daily Caller published a redacted version of the list. The actual list, as it appears in the Local 324 publication, is not redacted.
Terry Bowman, founder of Union Conservatives Inc. and a member of the United Auto Workers, told the Mackinac Center for Public Policy that Local 324’s tactics were putting former union members and their families in danger of harassment and retaliation.
“Union officials must be held accountable for putting workers and their families in real, substantial danger of retaliation,” said Bowman in a statement to the Mackinac Center. “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.”
Local 324 declined to comment.
Other Michigan unions have used similar tactics that invite retaliation against former union members. The Michigan Education Association’s 17-B/C published a list of the names of 16 teachers and school employees who opted to cancel their union membership under the state right-to-work law.
Michigan unions have also attempted to skirt right-to-work at every turn. Some unions deliberately negotiated extended contracts with their employers before right-to-work went into effect — forcing some workers to pay dues for the next several years, regardless of what the law says. (RELATED: Many unions circumvent Michigan’s right-to-work law)