Saturday, February 27, 2016

Your Rights during Union Organizing

You have the right to organize a union to negotiate with your employer over your terms and conditions of employment. This includes your right to distribute union literature, wear union buttons t-shirts, or other insignia (except in unusual "special circumstances"), solicit coworkers to sign union authorization cards, and discuss the union with coworkers. Supervisors and managers cannot spy on you (or make it appear that they are doing so), coercively question you, threaten you or bribe you regarding your union activity or the union activities of your co-workers. You can't be fired, disciplined, demoted, or penalized in any way for engaging in these activities.

Working time is for work, so your employer may maintain and enforce non-discriminatory rules limiting solicitation and distribution, except that your employer cannot prohibit you from talking about or soliciting for a union during non-work time, such as before or after work or during break times; or from distributing union literature during non-work time, in non-work areas, such as parking lots or break rooms. Also, restrictions on your efforts to communicate with co-workers cannot be discriminatory. For example, your employer cannot prohibit you from talking about the union during working time if it permits you to talk about other non-work-related matters during working time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

NLRB Orders FedEx Freight to Bargain With Teamsters Local 439

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ordered FedEx Freight to cease and desist from refusing to bargain with Teamsters Local 439, a huge victory for the drivers who voted 33 to 12 to form their union in March 2015.
The case is yet another example of how FedEx is trampling on the federally protected rights of its workers to form their union with the Teamsters. Similar foot-dragging by the company is occurring in other areas of the country, where workers have taken the bold step of forming their union to improve their lives. The company would rather spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on union busters and violate its employees’ rights rather than negotiate a contract.
In the Stockton case, FedEx Freight has contested the union’s certification as bargaining representative of the workers, while Local 439 has filed charges alleging that the company has refused to bargain.
In a February 18, 2016 decision and order, the NLRB ordered that FedEx Freight cease and desist from failing and refusing to recognize Local 439 as the workers’ exclusive bargaining representative.
The NLRB also ordered the company to cease and desist “in any like or related manner interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed” to them under federal labor law.
The NLRB also ordered FedEx Freight to bargain with Local 439.
“This is a huge victory for the drivers who voted to form their union with Local 439 and we will continue to fight on behalf of these workers until they ratify their first contract,” said Ken Guertin, Local 439 Secretary-Treasurer.
“The International Union, working side-by-side with all the freight local unions, is committed to this campaign over the long-term,” said Tyson Johnson, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division. “We hope that the company will get serious and negotiate a fair contract for the workers in Stockton and elsewhere who have exercised their rights to form their union. The workers are seeking a better life for themselves and for their families.”
The company will likely appeal the latest NLRB order.
Meanwhile, in a separate settlement agreement pertaining to election violations that occurred prior to the March 2015 election, FedEx agreed to not violate workers’ rights to form their union.
“As part of the earlier settlement agreement, the company agreed to pay employee Edgar Aguilar about $4,900 in back pay for hours it took away from him at the time of the election,” said Rob Nicewonger, a Local 439 Business Agent. “This agreement shows that the company engaged in an intensive anti-union campaign that included management ride-alongs with drivers, pre-shift captive audience meetings, one on one meetings with workers, and regular mailings of anti-Union literature.  The Company’s  anti-union campaign also included remedying issues for workers and giving them benefits it had previously withheld from them in an effort to influence their votes.  Finally, FedEx Freight also simply retaliated against outspoken union supporters.”