Court finds union misused strike power to gain work
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on Tuesday agreed with the National Labor Relations Board decision that International Union of Operating Engineers Local 18 illegally used its strike power to try to take work away from another union, according to Law 360.
- IUOE Local 18 filed an appeal against NLRB decisions that awarded forklift and skid steer work to Laborers’ International Union of North America, Locals 894 and 310 from employers that did business with both unions in Ohio and Northern Kentucky. The NLRB had also ordered Local 18 to stop using strikes and the filing of grievances to gain the work that the board had already ordered be given to the Laborers' Union.
- The Sixth Circuit said the National Labor Relations Act prevents unions from using these tactics to take work away from other unions as opposed to preserving work, as well as prohibiting unions from pursuing pay-in-lieu grievances after another union has been given the work. Pay-in-lieu grievances are tools unions use to collect the money their members would have earned if they had performed disputed work.
Typically, the union battles that make the news are not those waged with other unions but with the private construction industry over a variety of issues.
In New York City, private construction employers and developers railed against proposed city safety rules that would have required all construction workers to undergo an apprenticeship program, by and large, the territory of trade unions. After much debate, the final rule requires most city construction workers to take at least 40 hours of safety training, but those who have completed union apprenticeship programs, as well as those who have received similar training, are exempt.
Another frequent point of contention between unions and the private construction industry are the use of project labor agreements (PLA's). Most of these agreements are between owners or general contractors and local trade unions, but typically don't exclude nonunion companies from working on the job. However, those against the use of PLAs argue that nonunion companies cannot fully participate because union rules, like requiring that even nonunion employees pay dues, are inherent in these contracts.
Trade unions have pointed out, though, that PLAs ensure higher wages and better working conditions for everyone on the job, even if not affiliated with a union, so it's only fair that all workers pay for that advantage.
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