SOME CRITICAL THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE TEAMSTERS CONSTITUTION
If you become a member of the Teamsters, you will be required to abide by the union’s constitution. In fact, unions often view their constitutions as a contract between the union and the members. This is why you really need to find out about the fine print in the Teamsters' constitution.
Did you know that, if you violate the Teamsters’ rules, the union can legally put you on trial?
If the Teamsters find you guilty of violating its rules, the Teamsters can fine you money, suspend you from membership or kick you out of the union! If the Teamsters fine you money and you refuse to pay, the union can take you to court to collect its fine from you!
With more than 200 pages within the union's rulebook, it is impossible to point out all of the things you need to know about the constitution. However, below are just a few of the more important section you should know about:
"Section 3. Every member covered by a collective bargaining agreement at his place of employment, authorizes his Local Union to act as his exclusive bargaining representative with full and exclusive power to execute agreements with his employer governing terms and conditions of employment and to act for him and have final authority in presenting, processing and adjusting any grievance, difficulty or dispute arising under any collective bargaining agreement or out of his employment with such employer in such manner as the Local Union or its officers deem to be in the best interests of the Local Union, all subject to Article XII and other applicable provisions of the International Constitution relating to such matters. The Local Union and its officers, business representatives and agents may decline to process any grievance, complaint, difficulty or dispute if in their reasonable judgment such grievance, complaint or dispute lacks merit. The provisions of Article XII, relating to area, multi-area, national, company-wide or industry-wide contracts, shall supersede any provision of this Section."
[Source:Article XIV, Section 3]
THIS SECTION GRANTS THE UNION EXCLUSIVE JURISDICITON OVER YOUR WORKLIFE.
THE UNION GAINS FINAL AUTHORITY OVER YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR EMPLOYER TO “THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE LOCAL UNION,” NOT NECESSARILY YOU.
THIS MEANS THAT, IF YOU’RE FIRED FROM YOUR JOB, THE UNION CAN LEGALLY DECLINE TO PROCESS YOUR GRIEVANCE IF IT DETERMINES YOUR CASE HAS NO MERIT.
To view NLRB charges* filed by members against the union for its "failure to represent" them, go here.
Your Obligations to the Teamsters
JURISDICTION, MEMBERSHIP AND ELIGIBILITY TO HOLD OFFICE
"Section 2 (a). Any person shall be eligible to membership in this organization upon compliance with the requirements of this Constitution and the rulings of the General Executive Board. Each person upon becoming a member thereby pledges his honor; to faithfully observe the Constitution and laws of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and the Bylaws and laws of his Local Union; to comply with all rules and regulations for the government of the International Union and his Local Union: to faithfully perform all duties assigned to him to the best of his ability and skill; to conduct himself or herself at all times in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon the Union; to take an affirmative part in the business and activities of the Union and accept and discharge his responsibilities during any authorized strike or lockout; that he will not divulge to nonmembers the private business of the Union unless authorized to reveal the same; to never knowingly harm a fellow member; to never discriminate against a fellow worker on account of race, color, religion, sex, age, physical disability or national origin; to refrain from any conduct that would interfere with the Union's performance of its legal or contractual obligations; and at all times to bear true and faithful allegiance to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and his Local Union."
[Source: Article II, Section 2(a)]
As a Teamster member, you must take an oath to:
• Comply with ALL the union's rules
• Accept and discharge responsibilities during strikes or lockouts
• Bear "true and faithful allegiance" to the union
Take it or Leave it: How You May Find Yourself on Strike
STRIKES, LOCKOUTS, WAGE SCALES, DISPUTES OVER JURISDICTION
Strike Action by Local Unions
"Section 1 (a). When any difficulty or dispute arises between the members of any Local Union and their employers, it shall be the duty of the officers of such Local Union to use every possible means of achieving a settlement or resolution of the difficulty or dispute through the processes of collective bargaining.
(b). Agreements shall either be accepted by a majority vote of those members involved in negotiations and voting, or a majority of such members shall direct further negotiations before a final vote on the employer's offer is taken, as directed by the Local Union Executive Board. During negotiations, the Local Union Executive Board may order a secret ballot strike vote to be taken and when, in the judgment of the Local Union Executive Board, an employer has made a final offer of settlement, such offer must be submitted to the involved membership for a secret ballot vote as hereinafter provided;
(1) If at least one half of the members eligible to vote cast valid ballots, then a cumulative majority of those voting in favor of the final offer shall result in acceptance of such offer: and a cumulative majority of those voting against acceptance of the final offer shall authorize a strike without any additional vote being necessary for such strike authorization. In the event of a tie vote on either a motion to accept a final offer or to strike, the Local Union Executive Board shall conduct a second vote. If the result of the second vote is a tie, the Local Union Executive Board shall have the discretion to either accept the final offer or reject the final offer and authorize a strike at such time as it determines.
(2) If less than half of the eligible members cast valid ballots, then a two-thirds (2/3) vote of those voting shall be required to reject such final offer and to authorize a strike. The failure of such membership to reject the final offer and to authorize a strike as herein provided shall require the Local Union Executive Board to accept such final offer or such additional provisions as can be negotiated by it. When the final offer has been rejected in accordance with this Section, it shall constitute authorization for a strike at such time and under such terms and conditions as the Local Union Executive Board may determine. Any question arising from the application or interpretation of this Section shall be decided by the General President whose decision shall be final."
[Source: Article XII, Section 1(a) & (b)]
While you may get the chance to vote on whether to accept a contract, you need to know that the Teamsters ratification/rejection policy is complicated.
Here's basically how it works:
IF AT LEAST HALF OF MEMBERS ARE PRESENT…
1. 50%+1 IS NEEDED TO ACCEPT FINAL OFFER
2. IF 50%+1 DON'T ACCEPT FINAL OFFER LOCAL NOW HAS THE AUTHORITY TO CALL A STRIKE
3. IF A TIE VOTE, OFFICERS DECIDE TO ACCEPT OFFER OR STRIKE
HOWEVER, IF LESS THAN HALF OF MEMBERS ARE PRESENT…
1. ONLY 33%+1 IS NEEDED TO ACCEPT OFFER
2. IF 33%+1 DON'T ACCEPT OFFER LOCAL NOW HAS THE AUTHORITY TO CALL A STRIKE
REJECTION OF A FINAL OFFER, AUTHORIZES THE LOCAL UNION TO CALL A STRIKE WHENEVER THE UNION OFFICERS WANT
"Section 14(a). Out-of-work benefits in strikes recognized as properly subject to the payment of out-of-work benefits or relief in cases of lockouts, etc., shall be paid to all members not in arrears for dues in excess of one (1) month and otherwise in good standing, who are members of a Local Union not more than one (1) month in arrears in per capita tax, at the rate of four times dues rate upon which per capita tax is calculated, with a minimum benefit of one hundred dollars ($100.00) per week. Such out-of-work benefits will be payable at the end of the second (2nd) week of the strike or lockout; but in no case shall a fraction of a week's out-of-work benefits be allowed nor the first (1st) week of a strike or lockout be paid for; provided, that in the last week of a strike the first four (4) days or more of such strike shall be considered a week. A dues arrearage of not more than one (1) month, and current dues shall be deducted from the first (1st) payment of benefits and fully credited to the member or members so in arrears so as to maintain such member or members in good standing and preserve his or their rights, if any, to financial benefits. All eligible members shall be entitled to the out-of-work benefits provided for herein for such a period of time as the General Executive Board shall determine."
[Source: Article XII, Section 14(a)]
UNION STRIKE PAY:
MAY BE AS LOW AS $100.00 PER WEEK
HOWEVER, YOU MUST BE OUT ON STRIKE FOR AT LEAST TWO WEEKS
THE INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE BOARD DECIDES HOW LONG STRIKE PAY LASTS
UNION DUES ARE DEDUCTED FROM YOUR STRIKE PAY
Crime & Punishment?
TRIALS AND APPEALS
Grounds for Charges Against Members, Officers and Subordinate Bodies
***ANOTHER VERY CRITICAL PROVISION***
"SECTION 7 (b). The basis for charges against members, officers, elected Business Agents, Local Unions, Joint Councils or other subordinate bodies for which he or it shall stand trial shall consist of, but not be limited to, the following:
(1). Violation of any specific provision of the Constitution, Local Union Bylaws or rules of order, or failure to perform any of the duties specified thereunder.
(2). Violation of oath of office or of the oath of loyalty to the Local Union and the International Union.
(3). Breaching a fiduciary obligation owed to any labor organization by any act of embezzlement or conversion of union's funds or property.
(4). Secession, or fostering the same.
(5). Conduct which is disruptive of, interferes with, or induces others to disrupt or interfere with, the performance of any union's legal or contractual obligations. Causing or participating in an unauthorized strike or work stoppage.
(6). Disruption of Union meetings, or assaulting or provoking assault on fellow members or officers, or failure to follow the rules of order or rulings of the presiding officer at meetings of the Local Union, or any similar conduct in, or about union premises or places used to conduct union business.
(7). Crossing an authorized primary picket line established by the member's Local Union or any other subordinate body affiliated with the International Union."
[Source: Article XIX, Section 1(a)]
Section 8. Any member who (1) knowingly goes to work or remains in the employment of any person, firm or corporation, whose employees are on strike or locked out, unless he has permission of the International Union, the Joint Council or his Local Union, may be tried by the Executive Board of his Local Union. Any member who (2) knowingly gives or attempts to give, directly or indirectly, any information to any employer on an unfair list or whose employees are on strike or locked out, or whose employees are trying to secure an agreement or an improvement in their working conditions, or whose employees are trying to prevent an increase in hours of labor or a decrease in wages, for the purpose of assisting such employer, or for any gain or promise of gain, or who (3) knowingly goes to work or remains in the employment of any person, firm or corporation on an unfair list of the International Union without permission from the International Union, the Joint Council or his Local Union, may be tried in the manner provided for the trial of other offenses. It is recommended that the penalty for violating this Section shall be a fine equal to wages earned while working in violation of this Section. For repeated violations, suspension or expulsion in addition to a fine should be considered.
[Source: Article XIX, Section 8]
WHAT THE TEAMSTERS CAN PLACE YOU ON TRIAL FOR…
»VIOLATING THE UNION'S RULES
» VIOLATING THE OATH OF LOYALTY
»SECESSION »DISRUPTION OR INTERFERENCE
»CROSSING A PRIMARY PICKET LINE
»WORKING FOR A COMPANY WHOSE EMPLOYEES ARE ON STRIKE OR LOCKED OUT, OR A COMPANY THAT IS ON THE UNION'S "UNFAIR LIST"…
All information and materials on 1-888-NO-UNION.COM are free. The information and materials on this site are for informational purposes only. Nothing on this website constitutes, nor should it be viewed as legal advice or advice to either employees or employers. Moreover, the information provided on this site should NOT be construed as advice for employees on how to exercise your NLRA Section Seven Rights. If you have a legal question, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your attorney (as an employer) or contact us should you need a referral to legal counsel. Further, should you request an answer to a question, you agree that any answer to any question does not constitute legal advice, or advice of any nature, but is purely for informational purposes.
Copyright. 1-888-NO-UNION.COM, LLC. 2009. All rights reserved.