July 21, 2009: Teamsters have a right to discuss union issues and exchange union-related literature at work.
TDU is at work defending and expanding that right.
Teamsters have the right to distribute Convoy Dispatch [now Teamster Voice] and other union-related materials at the workplace, during nonwork times and in nonwork areas. Most Teamsters take these rights for granted. But some employers need to be reminded of this fact, via legal action to protect the rights of all Teamsters.
Anheuser-Busch (InBev), at its Los Angeles brewery, needs a reminder that its Teamster workers do have rights. NLRB charges are pending after the company denied workers the right to distribute leaflets opposing a proposed merger to dissolve their Local 896. Workers successfully stopped that merger, but A-B management insists they have the right to “approve” literature that members distribute in the break room and other nonwork areas.
UPS management in Lumberton, North Carolina, illegally told steward Nichele Fulmore that she could not distribute Convoy Dispatch near the drivers’ counter, before work starts, when drivers are off the clock. The NLRB has issued a complaint against UPS and the case is set for trial soon.
The UPS case is important because it involves a so-called “mixed” area in the workplace, which may be a work area during work hours, but is also an area where workers can visit or drink coffee—and distribute TDU and other union-related materials—during nonwork times there, even though the same area becomes a work area at other times.
“We can not allow anyone or organization to control the flow of information,” said Fulmore, a package driver in Local 391. “Those in power—including UPS—would much rather keep you ignorant because they realize that ‘Knowledge Is Power.’”
TDU counsel Barbara Harvey has taken both cases, to ensure that all Teamsters retain the right to discuss union issues and distribute TDU and other union-related materials in nonwork areas during nonwork times.