In an ongoing Foundation case, seven additional Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) workers have filed federal charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against a Chicago-area Machinist union for violating their rights and levying retaliatory strike fines against them.
The seven workers join 41 other workers who have filed similar charges to date with free legal assistance from Foundation attorneys. The charges come after International Association of Machinists (IAM) District Lodge 851 union bosses ordered over 800 Joliet, Illinois Caterpillar workers on strike. Over a hundred workers continued to work despite the IAM union boss-instigated strike.
Under federal law, workers who are not voluntary union members are exempt from the union hierarchy's constitution and bylaws and thus cannot be disciplined for continuing to work during a union boss-ordered strike. However, IAM Local 851 union bosses recently levied fines totaling over a million dollars against the workers for continuing to work during the strike.
Two workers' charges were settled in December, and the remaining 46 workers whose cases have not been resolved all allege that they were never truly voluntary union members. Multiple workers allege that union militants also threatened them with violence, and one alleges that union militants physically assaulted his wife and child.
Update 5/10/13: With free legal assistance from the Foundation, two more workers filed charges on May 10. This brings the total charges to date to 50, 48 of which are pending with the NLRB.