NLRB: Ford, UAW Colluded to Force Teamsters Out of Jobs to Underpay New Workers

As of this week, the total back-pay would be about $5.3 million, plus interest, but that is a conservative estimate since more workers may be found eligible.

Teamsters who were forced out of their jobs at a Ford plant in Louisville, KY will be returning to work after the NLRB ruled that collusion between Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers (UAW) enabled wage-cutting and was flagrant and illegal.  

The NLRB found the collusion to be so improper that it is seeking an injunction to get the Teamsters back on the job more quickly.  Under the illegal agreement between Ford, UAW and Voith Industrial Services, Teamsters making $20 an hour with a union pension were being forced out only to be replaced with new workers making between $11 and $14 an hour. Via LaborNotes:

The December 21 decision by a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge details how Voith Industrial Services, with Ford Motor Co. pulling the strings, underbid a carhaul company that had moved new cars out of Ford’s Louisville, Kentucky, assembly plant since 1952. To make the low bid, Voith prearranged a substandard contract with UAW Local 862, which represents the workers who build Ford Escapes at the plant.

The judge ordered Voith to put 85 named Teamsters to work, pay them nearly a year’s back-pay, reinstate the superior terms of the Teamster contract, and void the deal the company signed with the UAW. The judge also ordered that the decision be read aloud at meetings of all Voith workers.

According to internal documents obtained by WHAS-11 in Louisville, Ford believed it could save nearly $9.8 million a year by replacing the Teamsters contract with the cheaper UAW deal.

Since Ford and the UAW’s initial meeting in October of 2011, Teamsters Local 89 representatives pleaded with the UAW locally and on the national level to back away from the deal.  UAW President Bob King called the deal “complicated.”  

The NLRB ruling, which is likely to be appealed, was lauded by Roy Gross, Co-Director of the Teamsters Carhaul Division:

This is a huge victory for our members and the Carhaul Division.  The battle was won by coordinated efforts of the International Union, the Carhaul Division, Local 89 and its members. The International Union assigned attorney Jim Wallington to the case and with Local 89 they built an exceptional case to secure this victory. The Carhaul Division will do whatever it takes to protect our members’ livelihoods and we will continue to work hard to protect jobs and enforce contracts.”

Assuming an appeal is unsuccessful, the displaced workers will receive back pay, benefits, and their jobs back.

The back-pay order covers the 85 named workers who will get their jobs back and the other 81 Teamsters on the seniority list. As of this week, the total back-pay would be about $5.3 million, plus interest, but that is a conservative estimate since more workers may be found eligible. These figures do not include back-benefits, which are also owed to the workers.

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