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Latest News - August 2010

August 10, 2010
3 Boeing workers file labor charges against UAW
Source: Contra Costa Times
By: Kristopher Hanson, Staff Writer

Three Boeing workers have filed labor charges against the United Aerospace Workers after alleging they were punished by the union for crossing a picket line during a monthlong strike at the C-17 plant.

The trio, who work at Boeing's supply warehouse in Carson, filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging the union forced them to pay fines for working during the walkout, which ended June 9.

The workers, whose names were not released, reportedly resigned their union membership before returning to work, as required under the union's internal rules.

A legal group working with the three claim union "bosses" are now attempting to collect dues from nonmembers incurred during the strike.

"In these tough economic times, it's unconscionable for UAW union bosses to retaliate against nonmember workers for providing for their families," said Patrick Semmens, a spokesman for the National Right to Work Foundation.

Union officials dispute the claim, saying internal disciplinary hearings for members who crossed the picket line have not yet been held.

Under the union's constitution, members must pay dues if they work 40 hours or more per month. The monthly rate is equal to about two hours pay.

"It's a little puzzling, because to date there hasn't been fines or even hearings," said Stan Klemchuck, president of UAW Local 148 in Lakewood.

In their brief, the workers cite a 1985 Supreme Court ruling

stating that union members could resign at any time without notice, and that penalties such as termination or wage garnishment would be illegal.

"Boeing employees who exercise their long-recognized right to resign from union membership at any time should be allowed to make a living without the fear of harassment and intimidation for not toeing the union line," Semmens said.

Despite refusing to join the strike, the workers are technically covered by the 58-month contract secured by the union, which provides a $4,000 bonus and 3 percent pay increases beginning in 2011.

The contract was ratified June 9 by a vote of 844-522, ending a stalemate that shuttered production at the C-17 plant for four weeks.

The contract covers about 1,700 union workers and freezes health care costs for four years, while maintaining job protection rules.

Boeing employs several hundred union and nonunion workers in Carson, where they work primarily in warehousing and supplying parts for the C-17, said Boeing spokesman Jerry Drelling.

Part of the Carson work force is counted among the 1,700 who went on strike.

 

 


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