Latino Express drivers want teamsters out

Michael P. Tremoglie Apr. 27, 2012, 8:00am

LYONS, Ill. (Legal Newsline) - Nearly two-thirds of Latino Express bus drivers in Lyons, Ill., have petitioned the Chicago office of the National Labor Relations Board for a secret-ballot election to decertify a Teamsters union local.

According to a press release from the National Right to Work Foundation, driver Ramiro Lopez led the drive that secured signatures of 50 of the 76 total drivers to hold an election regarding representation by Teamsters Local 777. The union gained bargaining control in 2011.

Federal law prohibits further contract negotiations between Latino Express and Teamster Local 777 officials because a majority of workers in the bargaining unit signed the petition requesting a decertification election. This indicates the union may no longer have majority support at the workplace. The workers must now wait to see if the NLRB will grant them the election.

But according to the NRWF, union operatives have singled out workers who oppose the union. They point to videos of the teamster committing an infraction that was posted on One of the videos purportedly resulted in disciplinary action against him.

This controversy comes about a week after U.S. District Judge John F. Grady for the Northern District of Illinois granted an injunction requested by the NLRB Region 13 office in Barker v. Latino Express, ordering the immediate rehire of Latino Express employees who were allegedly fired for engaging in unionizing activities.

The employees would normally have to wait for the NLRB appeal process that Latino Express initiated after it ruled the company illegally fired the workers. But the judge said, "Employees will suffer irreparable harm awaiting a ruling from the Board, which may take many months..."

Meanwhile the drivers who refrain from formal union membership must pay union dues and fees to the Teamsters union because Illinois does not have a right-to-work law.

"Now that a clear majority of Latino Express bus drivers have shown their disdain of the Teamster union hierarchy, union bosses should remove themselves from the workplace," said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work.

"Even though Teamster union officials clearly lack the support they need to maintain their grip over the workplace, workers who want nothing to do with the union will still be forced to pay union dues and fees to the union as a condition of employment. This is why Illinois desperately needs to join Indiana and pass a Right to Work law making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary."

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