The CVS store at 3333 Central St. in Evanston.

A national right to work group is claiming credit for the rehiring of a worker at an Evanston CVS store allegedly fired for refusing to pay full union dues.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation says Lynn Gray started working part time at the CVS at 3333 Central St. in October and was fired by CVS earlier this month after she contested a demand by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union that she pay full dues to the union and become a union member.

Gray, represented by the foundation, filed federal unfair labor practice charges on Dec. 16 at the National Labor Relations Board against both the union and her employer, stating that CVS management illegally fired her after UFCW officials sent her letters threatening termination if she did not become a union member.

The National Labor Relations Act forbids unions from having workers fired for refusing formal union membership.

Three days later, CVS reinstated her.

Although forced union membership is prohibited under the NLRA, Illinois lacks right to work protections for its private sector workers, meaning unions can force workers to pay for representation.

However, the 1988 CWA v. Beck Supreme Court decision prevents union officials from forcing nonmembers to pay for any activities beyond the union’s bargaining functions, such as political and ideological expenses.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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