Member Sues Massachusetts Boss for Harassment

Ruth A. Niemeyer has filed suit in U.S. Dist. Court in Mass. against Laborers Int’l Union of No. Am., Mass. Laborers Council, LIUNA Local 243 and boss James M. Porter, alleging sexual favors were demanded in exchange for job placements. Niemeyer is seeking $2.5 million. The 36-count, 84-page suit, filed Feb. 1, is based on claims Niemeyer made to the Mass. Commission Against Discrimination. MCAD issued a probable cause ruling in Aug. on behalf of Niemeyer and an another member, Pamela J. Corey. “A probable cause ruling means there is merit to what they were claiming in the case,” said a MCAD official. Corey is considering a similar suit. Niemeyer’s suit says that between 1985-97 she was subjected to a continuing pattern and practice of gender discrimination, harassment and sexually abusive behavior. [Telegram & Gazette 2/24/99]

Ohio LIUNA Member Wins Dues Case
The Nat. Labor Relations Board ruled Feb. 23 that LIUNA Local 265 violated the Nat. Labor Relations Act when it failed to inform an Ohio construction worker who chose not to join the union about his right to fee allocation information and later demanded the employee’s termination. LIUNA should have told Granville Tackett that he could object to any portion of his dues from being spent on nonrepresentational activities, pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1988 decision in Communications Workers v. Beck. NLRB ordered LIUNA to notify the employer that the union doesn’t object to Tackett’s being reinstated and ordered the union to compensate him for lost wages with interest.

According to the ruling, Tackett reported to a highway project Jul. 1992 and told a LIUNA field boss that he wanted to be a “financial core participant” and “not join the union.” LIUNA told Tackett that he could work if he signed a 3% dues card and another card for the Ohio Labor Council. LIUNA never notified Tackett that he could object to having his dues or fees spent on nonrepresentational activities, or that anyone who objected would only be charged for representational activities. A week later, LIUNA told Tackett that it “couldn’t live with the deal” and he would have to join the union. Tackett refused and the employer notified him that he was laid off because of conflicts with the contractual requirements for union membership. [BNA 2/25/99]