California Local Fined Worker Improperly

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held May 26 that the right of unions to handle internal affairs does not include the power to fine a member who is required by a collective bargaining agreement to report to management the misconduct of fellow employees. The court upheld a Nat. Labor Relations Board order against Teamsters Local 439 in Stockton, Cal., that resulted from a $500 fine imposed against janitor Luis Rojas who informed his supervisor that two female employees had taken an unauthorized break in a storage closet. The women were disciplined. Rojas would have faced demotion if he failed to report the infraction. But, a Teamsters boss filed union charges against Rojas, asserting that he had violated union provisions forbidding a member from knowingly harming fellow Teamsters. In Dec. 1995, the union executive board fined Rojas $500. [BNA 5/28/99]