It’s not commonly known, but more often than you might imagine, employers and unions work together.
Such collusion targeted a cafeteria worker earlier this year. Yumiko Traylor works as a cook for SDH Education West, a subsidiary of Sodexo, Inc. The company contracts with Rio Rancho Public Schools to provide lunches. On March 8, it informed Traylor that she’d be fired if she didn’t sign a “Union Membership Application and Check-Off Authorization” that would empower Western States Regional Joint Board Workers United/SEIU to “represent” her.
Traylor refused, and the company warned her, in writing, that she’d be terminated for her failure to comply. On May 5, Sodexo issued a second warning. To her credit, Traylor held out — not only refusing to sign, but asking for help from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. As the public-interest law firm noted, New Mexico is not a right-to-work state, and thus, “nonmember workers can be forced to pay a portion of union dues as a condition of employment.” But that’s it — “employees who exercise their right to refrain from membership cannot be forced to pay the portion of union dues that goes towards union boss politics and lobbying activities.”
With the Foundation’s assistance, Traylor filed an unfair labor practice with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that she was never “given any notice” of her right “to remain a nonmember, not sign a check-off, and pay only reduced financial core fees.” The company’s actions thus violated Section 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(3) (it “threatened, restrained, coerced, and discriminated against Traylor so that she would join WSRJB and authorize union dues deductions from her pay”) and Section 8(a)(2) (it “it aided and assisted WSRJB when it acted as the union’s agent and threatened to terminate her unless she signed the WSRJB membership/check-off card”) of the National Labor Relations Act.
Best of luck to Traylor and her quest for justice. We’ll keep Errors of Enchantment readers up to date as her case moves forward.