Are union employers exempt from wage law?

I work as an hourly employee for a local union. In addition to my 40 hour work week, I am required to work at least another shift without pay, cold calling or knocking on doors for the Democratic Party and its candidates, because I was told that being “political” was part of the job. I was forced to “volunteer” for a party that I don’t support. Is this legal?

Posted  12-09-2014

Steve Duggan replies:

Unfortunately, we hear of these types of cases every election time. The answer is the same, NO! Neither a union nor any other employer can require an hourly employee to work “off the clock”, doing anything, and refuse to pay them for the time. Employees cannot be required to “volunteer” their time for any personal or political interest of any employer, whether it’s to work for a local charity (i.e. Food Bank) or a political party.

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Steve Duggan graduated from the Law School at the University of Notre Dame while on active duty in the Air Force. He has extensive experience representing management litigating cases of wrongful termination, employment discrimination, and sexual harassment. Steve also has experience in all phases of administrative litigation of unfair labor practice charges, and class and individual complaints of employment discrimination. He has been an instructor of seminars for supervisors and managers on labor management relations and other personnel issues, and for lawyers in basic and advanced trial advocacy courses. Steve came on board with Fair Measures in 1998.