National Labor Board prosecuting W.Va. Teamsters union for discriminatory pay scheme

Gavel on sounding block
Gavel on sounding block(Source: Gray News)
Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 4:02 PM EDT
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FAIRMONT, W.Va (WDTV) - The National Labor Relations Board Region 6 has issued an amended complaint against a West Virginia Teamster union for imposing a discriminatory pay scheme for employees at the Tygart Center in Fairmont.

A news release from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation said the case was brought for Donna Harper by staff attorneys. It claims Teamsters Local 175 imposed the scheme on Harper and her coworkers.

The foundation said the center agreed to the discriminatory pay agreement in the union bargaining agreement.

In 2019, Harper got free legal aid from foundation staff attorneys in filing charges against the union for imposing the “unlawful provision, under which Teamsters union stewards were paid more per hour than other employees,” the news release states.

The foundation said NLRB Region 6 issued a complaint on the issue in June. It has amended its complaint to ask for a “more complete remedy.”

According to the news release, the complaint now is seeking “an Order requiring payment to the unit employees of the amount equal to the additional monetary benefit paid to shop stewards under the policy.”

NLRB Region 6′s complaint also incorporates a remedy requested by attorneys in a separate case against the Tygart Center for the role it played in the scheme, the foundation said. In the NLRB-imposed settlement, center officials agreed to stop paying Teamsters union stewards more per hour than other employees going forward. Foundation attorneys have argued that employees should’ve received compensation for the difference in pay in the past created by the illegal scheme because it “denied a benefit to every employee who was not a Union steward.”

The case against the Teamsters union will be tried before an NLRB Administrative Law Judge.

The news release states that foundation attorneys also filed an amicus brief for Harper in the years-long legal battle waged by AFL-CIO union lawyers to overturn West Virginia’s Right to Work law.

The foundation said that under a Right to Work law, “no private or public sector employee can be forced to fund union activities as a condition of getting or keeping a job.” This was unanimously upheld by the West Virginia Supreme Court in April 2020.

“Ms. Harper stood up against a blatantly discriminatory policy enforced by her employer at the behest of Teamsters union bosses, and this amended complaint puts her one step closer to ensuring her and other Tygart Center employees’ rights are vindicated,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “That Teamsters bosses were willing to impose a scheme so clearly illegal demonstrates how out of touch they are with the rank-and-file workers they claim to represent, and how accustomed they had become to an environment where workers had to financially support them or be fired.”

“Fortunately, because Mountain State workers now have the protection of Right to Work, West Virginia union bosses have to secure the voluntary support of workers instead of being allowed to threaten workers to pay up or be fired,” Mix added.

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