August 22, 2012: More than 100 Teamsters lost their jobs in a corrupt union-busting deal in Louisville. They're fighting back and may be headed to victory.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has taken unusual emergency action in the case. Instead of waiting endlessly for a complaint to move forward, the NLRB has filed for an injunction in federal court to stop union busting.
If the NLRB's motion succeeds, the Teamsters will be returned to their yard jobs at Ford. They've been out of work for months because of an illegal scheme to gut their Teamster contract.
In February, Ford took the yard work from Jack Cooper Transport, and awarded it to Voith Industrial Services. Then, in a pre-arranged sweetheart deal, Voith signed a cheap contract with a United Auto Workers local union.
To make sure this deal wouldn't be rejected by the workers, Voith refused to hire the experienced Teamsters, except for a token few. Instead they brought in new hires, and told them they would have to join the UAW.
Teamsters Local 89 decided to fight back. They documented what was happening, to get the NLRB the necessary evidence to take action. The NLRB’s motion for an injunction is directed at both Voith and the UAW.
On July 22, Local 89 took out two full page ads in the Louisville Courier Journal, calling on UAW members to ask their union to stop its collusion in corporate union busting.
On July 24, Local 89 mailed a packet of information to every Teamster local union. The cover letter from Local 89 president Fred Zuckerman states that Local 89 has not received labor support in their battle, "including our own International union."
Why No Support from Hoffa?
James Hoffa is a friend of UAW president Bob King. Why hasn't Hoffa asked his friend to withdraw from the cheap contract deal, and settle with the NLRB? When we ask carhaulers this question, we get three different answers.
One, the IBT is ready to write-off carhaulers. They don't vote for Hoffa and they can't be easily manipulated.
Two, Hoffa won't help Local 89 because Zuckerman ran on the Fred Gegare Slate and Hoffa removed him as carhaul director after the election.
Three, Hoffa's current carhaul director, Local 299 BA Roy Gross, allowed Voith to pull the same deal last year at the Ford plant in Wayne Michigan. There the Jack Cooper yard workers lost jobs, and now UAW workers do the work under a cheaper contract. So it's embarrassing to have Local 89 win the issue, when Local 299 gave it away without a fight.
Whichever it is, it smells bad.
Fortunately, the Kentucky Teamsters may win even without help from the International union.
The NLRB motion for an injunction against Voith and the UAW is available here.