Gaffney, S.C. (August 12, 2005) – Facing embarrassing prosecution by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for unlawfully blocking an employee wage increase to coerce Gaffney-based Freightliner/Daimler-Chrysler workers to support unionization, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and Freightliner today agreed to end the unlawful practices.
UAW and Freightliner officials inked the settlement agreement with the NLRB after the NLRB’s General Counsel issued a formal complaint in response to unfair labor practice charges brought by National Right to Work Foundation attorneys for Freightliner employees. The NLRB issued a consolidated complaint earlier this week against both the union and Freightliner which was followed by the issuance of subpoenas that might have uncovered additional evidence of illegal union and company collaboration.
The settlement requires company and union officials to post conspicuous notices throughout the Gaffney facility that union officials will not accept unlawful assistance from Freightliner in future unionization attempts, and that no future wage increases will unlawfully be withheld at the behest of union officials.
“UAW officials raced to cover their tracks once they realized that the government was serious about holding them to account for coercing employees,” stated Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Union and company officials have worked hand in glove to try to turn Freightliner workers into union dues payers.”
Freightliner employees David Roach and Mike Ivey originally asked their Foundation attorneys to file charges in 2003 after UAW officials vetoed the long-scheduled and promised pay increase, and effectively required a freeze on pay raises at the Gaffney plant, apparently until such time as the employees agreed to unionization. The UAW union and Freightliner had a so-called “card check” or “neutrality” agreement that required the company to actively assist the UAW in its efforts to obtain signatures from employees on union authorization cards.
In their charge found to be meritorious by the NLRB General Counsel, employees alleged that they “have been and are being threatened that they will get no raises unless and until they agree to unionization by the ‘company union’ known as the UAW,” even though the union enjoys little support from rank-and-file workers.
In fact, approximately 70 percent of the plant’s employees had even signed and submitted a petition stating that they reject union affiliation and prefer to negotiate directly with company officials over wages and benefits.
The NLRB complaint alleged that the company and union engaged in unlawful and coercive conduct that interfered with employees’ rights to refrain from concerted union activity. NLRB prosecutors alleged that not only was the withholding of a pay increase unlawful, but also that the granting of the pay increase at a later time after telling the employees that it had been authorized by the union was similarly unlawful.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in around 250 cases nationwide per year.