UnionRefund.org - Who We Are
“UnionRefund.org” is a special project of the Oxford Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) under the rules and regulations of the Internal Revenue Code.
UnionRefund.org is NOT a political action organization. It is not tied to any political party. It does not run candidates for election, and it does not financially support or endorse candidates. It neither opposes nor endorses legislation.
UnionRefund.org is a project designed to help educate, organize and assist union members nationwide in exercising their “Beck rights” as set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1988, the U. S. Supreme Court decided the landmark case Communication Workers v. Beck, which established the rights of employees working under union contracts to pay only those union dues or fees necessary for performance of a union’s employee representation duties. Under Beck, fees to support union expenditures unrelated to workplace representation, such as political, social, or charitable contributions, are not mandatory.
Several states, including Idaho and Washington, have enacted a measure known as "paycheck protection" to remedy these deficiencies in Beck rights enforcement. Paycheck protection safeguards worker rights by requiring unions to obtain up-front, written approval from individual workers before they spend dues money on political or other non-workplace-related activities.
Where the so-called “paycheck protection” legislation has NOT been passed, union workers are required to affirmatively exercise those rights in writing to their appropriate union local.
Freedoms of speech and association are important and fundamental employee rights protected by the Beck decision. Many workers, however, do not fully enjoy these freedoms because they are not aware that they have the right to withhold the portion of their dues expended on political, social, or other non-chargeable activities to which they object or are not interested in funding.
Neither unions nor employers recognize sufficient incentive to inform workers of these rights. Union leaders do not want to do anything that would risk losing precious dues money, and employers do not want to do anything that will antagonize the union leaders and possibly cause labor unrest.
The Beck decision merely respects each employee’s individual right to decide if he wants money deducted from his paycheck for non-workplace union activities. Exercising one’s “Beck rights” does not inhibit a union’s ability to solicit contributions and donations voluntarily by convincing workers that the union’s political activities are in their best interests. Union politics are not necessarily compatible with those of individual employees, who should have ultimate control over their own money.
The decision of a union member to exercise his or her Beck rights would allow workers the freedom to preserve their civil rights without sacrificing their economic interests or infringing upon the speech or association rights of other union members. It would guarantee a worker’s right to withhold his dues at their source, before they are transmitted to the union.
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