Tenth Circuit sanctions Teamster union

Michael P. Tremoglie Jul. 9, 2012, 10:44am


DENVER (Legal Newsline) - Teamsters Local 523 has lost its appeal of a National Labor Relations Board order against it for the second time.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit once again upheld a ruling that said the union discriminated against nonunion workers employed by Interstate Bakeries in Oklahoma - and fined it for the frivolous nature of the second appeal.

Kirk Rammage, an Oklahoma nonunion sales representative with Dolly Madison, had filed a complaint against the Teamsters challenging the union's policy. He was the lone nonunion sales representative for more than 15 years before his division was merged in 2005 with Wonder Bread/Hostess.

Although the company initially wanted to protect Rammage's seniority during the merger, Teamster's officials allegedly insisted that union members receive preferential treatment. They allegedly demanded the company eliminate his seniority despite his longer workplace tenure, and the company acceded to the union demand.

Interstate Bakeries' policy was that seniority affected the chances of securing desirable sales routes. Rammage's loss of seniority meant he was forced to commute to a new work location more than 70 miles away.

The NLRB ruled against the Teamster-imposed policy. The Tenth Circuit upheld the NLRB's decision. Those rulings were later nullified by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009 on the ground that the NLRB lacked a three-member quorum at the time of its decision.

The Tenth Circuit remanded the case to the NLRB. Once it had a quorum, the NLRB revisited the facts of the case and again concluded that Teamster officials broke the law by discriminating against employees based on their union representation status.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation provided Rammage with free legal assistance during his six-and-a-half-year legal battle

"Teamster bosses pulled out all the stops to protect their discrimination against workers who have the temerity not to associate with their union," NRTW President Mark Mix said.

"Teamster union bosses will now pay for discriminating against workers who exercise their unconditional right to refrain from union membership."

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