Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Files Suit Against Teamsters Local 214 on Behalf of Four City of Dearborn Employees over Policy Charging Special Fees to Those Who Exercise Worker Freedom Rights

Union policy a ‘spiteful reaction to workers lawfully exercising their independence’

For Immediate Release
Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013
Contact: Derk Wilcox
Senior Attorney
Ted O'Neil
Media Relations Manager

MIDLAND — The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation today filed a lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court on behalf of four employees of the city of Dearborn against Teamsters Local 214 over a union policy that charges a fee for non-union members, who are still forced to be part of the bargaining unit, to file grievances.

The plaintiffs — Shawn Koskyn, Maria Santiago-Powell, Greg Andrews and Fred Armstrong — all exercised their worker freedom rights after Michigan’s right-to-work law took effect and now choose not to support Teamsters Local 214 financially. The union in June adopted a policy charging non-members a minimum of $150 in order to file a grievance.

“This policy flies in the face of seven decades of Supreme Court precedence and five decades of Michigan labor law,” said Derk Wilcox, senior attorney for the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. “Our clients are simply following the law and we think the union should, too.”

The U.S. Supreme Court in 1944 ruled that unions must represent all members of a bargaining unit fairly and without discrimination.

“Unions are granted a monopoly because they are the exclusive representative,” Wilcox said. “The price of that monopoly is that they have to represent all workers equally, even those who exercise their worker freedom rights.”

Even though the four employees — each of whom has worked for the city of Dearborn for at least 11 years — chose to stop supporting the union financially, they must still, by law, surrender their right to speak on their own behalf regarding terms and conditions of employment because they are still represented by Teamsters Local 214 due to its monopoly on exclusive representation.

“Our clients have no confidence that, even if they paid this fee, the union would handle any potential grievances they file in good faith,” Wilcox said. “What the union did here was a spiteful reaction to workers lawfully exercising their independence.”

More information on the case can be found at

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich. The largest state-based free-market think tank in the country celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

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