St. Louis Record

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Paramedic appeals decision to dismiss discrimination, coercion complaint against union

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By John Breslin | Nov 11, 2019


A St. Louis-area paramedic who claims he was intimidated by a union for posting flyers informing fellow workers they could resign their membership and pay lower dues is appealing a decision by regional labor relations officials.

Jarod Aubuchon has appealed to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington following the dismissal of his complaint by regional officials that the union local caused his employer, Medic One, to discriminate against him and that he was charged excessive fees.

The case is now with the NLRB general counsel's office. He is claiming the discrimination occured after he posted the flyers informing fellow workers of the 1988 Beck U.S. Supreme Court decision that stated non-union members pay only that portion of those dues spent directly on collective bargaining.

Aubuchon also filed a complaint against his employer for alleged coercive behavior which he claims was prompted by members of Teamsters Local 610. He claims union members took down his posts and asked Medic One to discipline him.

The complaint against Medic One also was dismissed by the the Region 14 board, according to NLRB documents. That complaint alleged he was brought before management and told to stop posting the flyers, which he claimed ran counter to provisions of the National Labor Relations Act that bars union officials to cause an employer to discriminate against workers in certain circumstances.

“I hope my fellow employees can realize the rights they have and have an opportunity to exercise those rights," Aubuchon told the St. Louis Record following the filing of the appeal on Nov. 6.  "The union preaches how great the union is and tells its members what to think and how to think."

He added that the unions spend the dues on "political activism without consideration of its members."

"We have a right to not have our money used in that manner and in the end I hope employees are better educated on the rights and how to exercise them," Aubuchon said.

John Scully, a staff attorney with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which is representing the paramedic, confirmed the appeal papers were sent to the NLRB general counsel last week.

On the reasoning by local board officials for dismissing the action, Scully told the St. Louis Record: "Only they can respond as to why they made the decision, all we know is that the decision is wrong.”

The foundation noted that the general counsel recently reversed a decision by Region 14 officials in a case similar to the one brought by Aubuchon. A Kansas City-area hospital worker accused the National Nurses Organizing Committee of interfering with her attempt to de-certify the union.

Missouri's lack of what is described as a "right to work" statute means "private sector employees can still be fired for not paying some union fees," according to the foundation. The statute was struck down last year, with 67.5 percent of the electorate voting to overturn a law passed by the legislature.

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