Volkswagen Workers File Federal Suit to Block Company and UAW Collusion
Employees at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee facility have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block further collusion between the company and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union should the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) order a new unionization election at VW's Chattanooga plant, according to a news release from The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
The Foundation is a nonprofit organization providing free legal aid to employees who believe their human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. With free legal assistance from Foundation attorneys, the workers filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
After losing last month's unionization election, UAW union officials filed objections with the NLRB seeking to overturn the election results. Five VW workers represented by Right to Work Foundation attorneys then successfully moved to intervene in the UAW's challenge of the election results.
According to the news release, the new suit relies on Foundation-won precedent upheld by a federal appeals court that a Florida casino company's assistance to union officials during a card check unionization campaign could constitute "thing[s] of value" under the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA). Under the LMRA, employers are prohibited from handing over "any money or other thing of value" to union officials, a provision that is supposed to prevent them from selling out workers' rights in exchange for corporate concessions.
Late last year, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments and then "dismissed as improvidently granted" a union appeal of a federal court ruling that these neutrality schemes could violate federal law, thus leaving the lower court's ruling intact.
The suit contends that the neutrality arrangement between VW and UAW union organizers contain numerous such prohibited provisions, including mandatory pro-union meetings, use of company property by outside UAW organizers, and clauses preventing VW and its managers from opposing unionization, all of which were implemented in the lead up to the vote that UAW lost 712-626.
The Foundation claims that in exchange for that valuable organizing assistance, the UAW promised the company that, once workers were unionized, UAW officials would delegate many of the union's duties to a German-style Works Council, limit bargaining demands to ensure company "cost advantages," and not go on strike. Further, the UAW promised not to make negative comments about VW or to conduct organizing activity for one year if the union lost the election.
"UAW union officials and Volkswagen management have colluded to deprive these workers of a fair vote from the start," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Enough is enough, which is why these workers are seeking to prevent further VW assistance to the UAW's organizing efforts."
UAW President Bob King responded, saying, “The lawsuit filed by the National Right to Work Legal Foundation is baseless. At the time it negotiated its Election Agreement with Volkswagen Group of America, the UAW had already established for the Company that it was the majority representative of hourly Volkswagen employees, on the lawful basis of authorization cards signed by a majority of such employees. Moreover, even if the UAW had not demonstrated this status, the UAW's Election Agreement with Volkswagen Group of America would still be lawful, just like many other neutrality agreements the UAW and other unions have negotiated with employers throughout the United States.
“The National Right to Work Legal Foundation has a history of frivolous lawsuits trying to stop workers from joining the UAW, including failed lawsuits at Dana and Freightliner.”
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Last Update on April 27, 2015 07:27 GMT
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
UNDATED (AP) -- This week could be a make-or-break period for investors as more than 150 companies in the S&P 500 report their quarterly financial results, including such market-moving names as Apple, Ford, Visa, Pfizer and Exxon Mobil.
So far, first quarter earnings have come in softer than what investors had anticipated, which has caused analysts to write down their forecasts. Most companies have blamed the U.S. dollar as a reason why sales and profits are down.
Today, Restaurant Brands International will report earnings before the market opens; Apple reports after the market closes.
NEPAL EARTHQUAKE-GOOGLE EXECUTIVE
NEW YORK (AP) -- Dan Fredinburg, a Google executive who described himself as an adventurer, was among the hundreds who died in a massive earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday.
Google confirmed his death. Lawrence You, the company's director of privacy, posted online that Fredinburg was in Nepal with three other Google employees hiking Mount Everest. The other three, he added, are safe.
Google would not give further details. The company says it has launched a "person finder" tool for Nepal to help people find loved ones and "is working to get updated satellite imagery to aid in the recovery effort." Google says it is committing $1 million to the quake response.
Fredinburg started at Google since 2007. He served as product manager and the head of privacy at Google X.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- New England fishermen and seafood dealers say they expect a year of meager supply and high prices for several popular species of fish as new restrictions on cod fishing get underway.
The New England Fishery Management Council voted last year to reduce the total allowable Gulf of Maine cod catch limit from 1,550 to 386 metric tons starting May 1. The stricter quota will also limit fishermen's ability to catch other key commercial groundfish species, including haddock, pollock and hake.
Regulators say the cod quota cut is necessary because the level of cod spawning in the gulf is just a tiny fraction of its target. The gulf is one of two critical areas where East Coast fishermen search for cod, along with Georges Bank off of Massachusetts.
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -- Corinthian Colleges will shut down all of its remaining 28 ground campuses, displacing about 16,000 students.
The announcement comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Department of Education announced it was fining the for-profit institution $30 million for misrepresentation.
In a statement Sunday, the Santa Ana, California-based company said it was working with other schools to help students continue their education. The closures include Heald College campuses in California, Hawaii and Oregon, as well as Everest and WyoTech schools in California, Arizona and New York.
Corinthian was one of the country's largest for-profit educational institutions. It collapsed last summer amid a cash shortage and fraud allegations.
The Education Department contends that Corinthian failed to comply with requests to address allegations of falsifying job placement data and altering grades and attendance records.
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