by Ken Paff from "Labor Notes" [http://www.labornotes.org/blogs/2012/12/fired-teamsters-win-jobs-after-illegal-company-union-collusion]:
Ken Paff is the national organizer for Teamsters for a Democratic Union.
Collusion between the United Auto Workers and a Ford contractor to cut wages and oust Teamsters members was flagrant, says the NLRB—so flagrant that the board is seeking an injunction to get displaced Teamsters their jobs back more quickly.
The December 21 decision by a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge [http://tdu.org/news/nlrb-judge-carhaulers-win-jobs-and-backpay] details how Voith Industrial Services, with Ford Motor Co. pulling the strings, underbid a carhaul company that had moved new cars out of Ford’s Louisville, Kentucky, assembly plant since 1952. To make the low bid, Voith prearranged a substandard contract with UAW Local 862, which represents the workers who build Ford Escapes at the plant.
The judge ordered Voith to put 85 named Teamsters to work, pay them nearly a year’s back-pay, reinstate the superior terms of the Teamster contract, and void the deal the company signed with the UAW. The judge also ordered that the decision be read aloud at meetings of all Voith workers.
Under the terms of the Voith-Ford-UAW arrangement, in early 2012 Teamsters who made $20 per hour, with a union pension, were replaced by newly hired workers making $11-14 per hour.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union, the reform movement in the union, reported on this struggle for jobs by Teamsters Local 89 in August [http://www.tdu.org/news/louisville-carhaulers-fight-jobs].
A Louisville TV station obtained an internal Ford document indicating that Ford planned to save $9.8 million a year by replacing the Teamster contract with the cheaper UAW contract [http://www.tdu.org/media/union-battle-louisville].
No Solidarity -
Teamsters Local 89 repeatedly appealed to the UAW local and international to back away from the deal, including in full-page ads in the Louisville Courier Journal. But the UAW stuck with its plan; union attorneys argued alongside Voith's lawyers at the NLRB hearings. UAW President Bob King, in an email to a Louisville labor leader, called the situation “complicated.”
Voith has cleaning contracts at a number of auto plants, including the Louisville factory, but little experience in carhaul logistical work. Ford set up a meeting in October 2011, and invited the UAW but not the Teamsters, the union that had represented the Louisville workers for 60 years.
Ford awarded Voith the contract, and Voith managers then proceeded to exclude most of the experienced Teamsters from hiring.
In the fight for members' jobs, Local 89 got no help from Teamsters President James Hoffa. Hoffa is generally not inclined to support carhaul members, a more militant section of the union where he has little support. Local 89 President Fred Zuckerman had campaigned against Hoffa in the 2011 election for Teamsters president. And Hoffa's carhaul director stood by while Voith took Teamster jobs at the Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan.
Typically decisions such as this one are subject to lengthy appeals, first to the full NLRB and later to a federal court of appeals. But the case is so egregious that the NLRB's general counsel is going into federal court for a section 10(j) injunction, to speed up the process.
2012-09 "Louisville Carhaulers Fight for Jobs" from "Teamster Voice" [http://www.tdu.org/news/louisville-carhaulers-fight-jobs]:
August 22, 2012: More than 100 Teamsters lost their jobs in a corrupt union-busting deal in Louisville. They're fighting back and may be headed to victory.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has taken unusual emergency action in the case. Instead of waiting endlessly for a complaint to move forward, the NLRB has filed for an injunction in federal court to stop union busting.
If the NLRB's motion succeeds, the Teamsters will be returned to their yard jobs at Ford. They've been out of work for months because of an illegal scheme to gut their Teamster contract.
In February, Ford took the yard work from Jack Cooper Transport, and awarded it to Voith Industrial Services. Then, in a pre-arranged sweetheart deal, Voith signed a cheap contract with a United Auto Workers local union.
To make sure this deal wouldn't be rejected by the workers, Voith refused to hire the experienced Teamsters, except for a token few. Instead they brought in new hires, and told them they would have to join the UAW.
Teamsters Local 89 decided to fight back. They documented what was happening, to get the NLRB the necessary evidence to take action. The NLRB’s motion for an injunction is directed at both Voith and the UAW.
On July 22, Local 89 took out two full page ads in the Louisville Courier Journal, calling on UAW members to ask their union to stop its collusion in corporate union busting.
On July 24, Local 89 mailed a packet of information to every Teamster local union. The cover letter from Local 89 president Fred Zuckerman states that Local 89 has not received labor support in their battle, "including our own International union."
Why No Support from Hoffa?
James Hoffa is a friend of UAW president Bob King. Why hasn't Hoffa asked his friend to withdraw from the cheap contract deal, and settle with the NLRB? When we ask carhaulers this question, we get three different answers.
One, the IBT is ready to write-off carhaulers. They don't vote for Hoffa and they can't be easily manipulated.
Two, Hoffa won't help Local 89 because Zuckerman ran on the Fred Gegare Slate and Hoffa removed him as carhaul director after the election.
Three, Hoffa's current carhaul director, Local 299 BA Roy Gross, allowed Voith to pull the same deal last year at the Ford plant in Wayne Michigan. There the Jack Cooper yard workers lost jobs, and now UAW workers do the work under a cheaper contract. So it's embarrassing to have Local 89 win the issue, when Local 299 gave it away without a fight.
Whichever it is, it smells bad.
Fortunately, the Kentucky Teamsters may win even without help from the International union.
The NLRB motion for an injunction against Voith and the UAW is available here [https://tdu.org/sites/default/files/NLRBMotionForInjunction.pdf].