Michigan Local Loses ULP Coercion Case

Hundreds of Brighton Interior Systems employees who union bosses coerced into joining the United Auto Workers  have won a settlement in an unfair labor practice case pending against the union that requires the revocation of all illegally obtained membership and dues deduction authorization cards.  The settlement of federal class-action charges, filed by Brighton employee Erik Daly with the Nat’l Labor Relations Bd. against UAW Local 599 and the Int’l UAW, stipulates that all dues checkoff authorization/membership cards obtained at Brighton since Aug. 5, 2001 are invalid. The union must start over, this time properly notifying employees of their rights and allowing them to make a voluntary decision about whether or not to join the union.

“This settlement forces UAW officers to account for their systematic bullying of Brighton workers,” said Stefan Gleason, of the Nat’l Right to Work Legal Def. Fdn., which negotiated the settlement on behalf of the Brighton employees.

In violation of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Communications Workers of Am. v. Beck, UAW officials told employees they must join the union or “join the unemployment line.” Under Beck, union officials may not compel workers to become union members, or pay for politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining activities, under the threat of being fired from their jobs.

The original charges filed by Daly in Aug. stated that the UAW “engaged in a campaign of misrepresentations, coercions, and omissions” such that “not a single employee in this bargaining unit can be considered to be a voluntary member.”  The settlement requires union officials to post notices informing all Brighton employees of their rights under Beck to refrain from union membership and the payment of full dues. The UAW’s notices state that “WE WILL NOT threaten employees of Brighton Interior Systems that they will be discharged” for not joining the union. Art McGee, president of Local 599, said “We will abide by its terms.” [NRTW 11/5/01; Flint (Mich.) J. 11/7/01]

Boss Allegedly Embezzled $86,300 from Massachusetts Local
On June 27, in U.S. Dist. Court for the Dist. of Mass., Leo MacGillvray, ex-treasurer of Utility Workers Union of Am. Local 446 in Lynn Mass., pled guilty to a one-count information charging him with embezzling $86,311 in union funds. [DOL 6/27/01]

Bakersfield Boss Indicted for $10,800 Embezzlement
On June 21, in U.S. Dist. Court for the E. Dist. of Cal, Jeremias Z. Lopez, ex-business manager and secretary-treasurer of Laborers’ Int’l Union of N. Am. Local 220 in Bakersfield, was indicted on one count of embezzling $10,814 in union funds and one count of falsifying union records. [DOL 6/21/01]

Cincinnati Boss Indicted for False Travel Claims to Federal Government
On June 20, in U.S. Dist. Court for the S. Dist. of Ohio, Emanuel Graham, president of Am. Fed’n of Gov’t Employees Local 2031 in Cincinnati, was indicted on 16 counts of violating 18 U.S.C. § 287 by filing false claims for travel and per diem expenses with the Veterans Admin. when he had already been reimbursed for those expenses by the union. He was indicted on 16 additional counts of violating 18 U.S.C. § 641 for theft of U.S. Government money corresponding to those claims. [DOL 6/20/01]