Teamsters Union accused of discriminatory pay scheme at rehab and care facility in Fairmont

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FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The National Labor Relations Board Region 6 has issued an amended complaint against Teamsters Local 175 for imposing a discriminatory pay scheme at Tygart Center at Fairmont Campus.

According to a press release, Tygart Center agreed to the discriminatory pay arrangement in the union bargaining agreement.

The case was brought for Donna Harper by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, alleging that the pay scheme affected Harper and her coworkers, the release explains.

In 2019 Harper obtained free legal aid from foundation staff attorneys in filing charges against the union for imposing the unlawful provision, under which Teamsters union stewards were paid more per hour than other employees, according to the release from the foundation. NLRB Region 6 issued a complaint on the issue in June, and now has amended its complaint to ask for a more complete remedy.  The complaint now “seeks an Order requiring payment to the unit employees of the amount equal to the additional monetary benefit paid to” shop stewards under the policy.

NLRB Region 6’s amended complaint now incorporates a remedy requested by foundation staff attorneys in a separate case against the Tygart Center for the role it played in the scheme, the release states. In the NLRB-imposed settlement in that case, Tygart Center officials agreed to only stop paying Teamsters union stewards more per hour than other employees going forward. Foundation attorneys had argued that employees should have gotten compensation for the difference in pay in the past created by the illegal scheme because it “denied a benefit to every employee who was not a Union steward.”

The case against the Teamsters will now be tried before an NLRB Administrative Law Judge, according to the foundation.

Foundation staff attorneys also filed an amicus brief for Harper in the effort by AFL-CIO union lawyers to overturn West Virginia’s Right to Work law, according to the release. Under a Right to Work law, no private or public sector employee can be forced to fund union activities as a condition of getting or keeping a job. This protection was unanimously upheld by the West Virginia Supreme Court in April 2020.

“Ms. Harper stood up against a blatantly discriminatory policy enforced by her employer at the behest of Teamsters union bosses, and this amended complaint puts her one step closer to ensuring her and other Tygart Center employees’ rights are vindicated,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “That Teamsters bosses were willing to impose a scheme so clearly illegal demonstrates how out of touch they are with the rank-and-file workers they claim to represent, and how accustomed they had become to an environment where workers had to financially support them or be fired.”

“Fortunately, because Mountain State workers now have the protection of Right to Work, West Virginia union bosses have to secure the voluntary support of workers instead of being allowed to threaten workers to pay up or be fired,” said Mix.

Mix added that this type of situation has happened at other places across the country.

“The example out of the United Auto Workers Union, the international union, is a good one. Where, this story is a good one in the sense that it looks like the NLRB has seen, uh, the violation here, um, and they’re gonna try to remedy it. That’s good news,” said Mix.

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