Is this intimidation from a union?


A recent article from Michigan Capital Confidential about a hospital union. Several individuals decided to opt out of the union and here’s the union’s response to members exercising their right to opt out.

In response, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1603 union posted his name on a list at the hospital to serve “notice” that he exercised his rights under state law and opted out of the union.

VanDenHeuvel and three other workers names were posted on a bulletin board in a public area near the hospital cafeteria. Michigan’s right-to-work law no longer requires workers to pay dues or fees to a union as a condition of employment.

Here’s the statement from the hospital’s administration.

The Hurley Medical Center released a statement saying it was not getting involved in union business.

“While Hurley Medical Center is always appropriately concerned with legal rights pertaining to workforce members and issues, the administration of Hurley Medical Center does not get involved in internal union business,” the statement read.

It sounds like this is happening at other workplaces with unions.

Unions from around the state have been posting the names of workers who opt out. The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 referred to 19 workers from across the state as “freeloaders” in its newsletter that it also published online.

A local affiliate of the Michigan Education Association in the Upper Peninsula did the same thing with 16 employees who opted out.

As leaders how should we respond to tactics these unions used? Should we be involved? Was what the union did justified? They used this public announcement as a way to prevent freeloading or shirking, but is this the best tactic to counter this problem? I doubt it. Public shaming and intimidation typically don’t produce the desired results organizations want.


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