A Sconza Candy Company employee has filed federal charges against a local bakers union and her employer for a litany of rights violations regarding mandatory union membership and a subsequent suspension she received for not joining the union in a timely manner.
With the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Sconza employee Athena Manning filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Wednesday, Nov. 5.
“There’s something rotten here with the union and Sconza,” Manning said on Friday, Nov 7. “The union doesn’t take care of their employees or their rights.”
Manning, who worked as a temporary employee in September of 2013, and hired as a full-time employee in March 2014, charges that Sconza management and Bakers Union Local 125 of San Leandro failed to notify her of her rights to refrain from full-dues-paying union membership. She also claims that in May, company and union officials also misled her about her obligations to the union, claiming that joining the union and paying full dues were required as a condition of employment.
Because California does not have Right to Work protections for workers, workers can be required to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. However, workers also have the right to refrain from formal union membership and paying for “union boss politics” and many other activities. Under federal guidelines, union officials must provide workers with an independently-audited financial breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures.
“Unions have a purpose, don’t get me wrong,” said Manning, who has been trying to get a detailed breakdown of their fees, “but they didn’t help me get this job and sure aren’t helping me keep this job.”
Manning who works at the Oakdale plant as a utility worker said on June 9 she was called in by Sconza Operations Assistant Angie Hill and told the union was requesting that she be suspended. Hill told her she had no choice but to suspend her for the next week.
“The clause that was applied is a standard part of any union recognized contract in a non-Right to Work state,” said Sconza President and CEO Ron Sconza. “There was nothing illegal about it and we would never use it to suppress a worker’s rights.”
For the next couple of months Manning sought out where her required union dues would go with the possibility of being a “Beck objector” – where only a portion of the required dues would be paid that cover the costs of collective bargaining performed by the union.
“I want employees here to have information and a choice to prepare for what’s right for them,” Manning said.
For the entire story, read the Nov. 12 Oakdale Leader.