Fired By Union Bosses For Unionizing? Teamster Workers Speak Out

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Fired For Unionizing

Last week, attention was drawn to the story of a Pennsylvania Teamsters local president firing office workers for unionizing with their own union.

Since last week’s story was published, one of the terminated office workers sent the following email to LaborUnionReport.com:

My name is Laura Boyer; I am one of the Teamster Local 776 employees that were fired on the first day of Ed Thompson taking office at Teamsters Local 776. He was sworn in on January 1, 2015 and when he arrived for his first day as president at the hall, he fired us. This was before 8:15 a.m. on January 2, 2015. Ed Thompson will not recognize our unionism/concerted activity. Not only will Ed Thompson not recognize our unionism/concerted activity, we know he was trying to prevent it before he took office.

My reasons for becoming union started long before Ed Thompson took office. This local has had a high turnover rate in employees in the recent years. That has to bring up questions of why people would quit jobs with good salaries and benefits. How could so many have been let go? I saw firsthand why there is such a high employee turnover rate. After experiencing it, I wanted the same as all the Teamster members have. I wanted representation, equality, a contract, fairness, job security, and benefits.

I believe that most union members do not know that the office staff employed at your Union Hall is considered “At-will Employees”. We paid full Teamster dues the same as any member. The only difference was we did not have a contract or representation and they can and do fire us without just cause.

I am sure that it is assumed that the union office staff is treated equally and fairly, after all, we work for the very people that are paid very generously to fight and to protect this for its members. The politics played a big part in the way we were treated. We were used as acceptable casualties in the campaigning war that exist and that will continue to exist at this local.

I am asking you to think about this for just a moment. Ask yourself these questions: How can Union Presided fire employees he don’t know and has not worked with? What happened to the other employees that worked for the local and that is no longer there? Could there be problems with abuse of power? How many of the office staff has made it to retire at this local? Could it be possible we were justified in trying to improve our workplace? Why was the other front office staff not fired? Could it be because she was the only one of the front office staff that has friendships outside of work with some of the newly elected Officers and Business agents? Most importantly, is Ed Thompson really pro-union?

Ed Thompson hired an attorney from the Willig, Williams, & Davidson law firm to assist in union business/Union-Busting before he was sworn in and before he was on the Teamster payroll. In a letter from Ed Thompson’s attorney he admits to knowing about our concerted activity, he admits he was going to “reallocate office staff” when he takes office. (Translation = fire) There are NLRB laws to protect against this. I am feeling extremely confident that we will win this.
Sometimes, even the people that work directly for labor unions need to be union. This is clearly one of those cases. We were aiming for a contract that was comparable to the office staff of other Teamster locals that went union. What we got was fired.

We obviously did not have a fighting chance; we were being replaced by the president before he was on the local’s payroll. I have never had a performance evaluation; I have never been disciplined by the past president that was our direct boss according to Teamster Local 776’s Bi-Laws. This was not based on work ethic, performance, or anything thing else. I did not know Ed Thompson nor did I work with him. I was fired to prevent the local’s front office staff from becoming union.

According to PennLive.com, following a Sunday union meeting where Ms. Boyer and Ms. Leonard attended in an attempt to get answers, the reporter for PennLive asked the union’s new president, Ed Thompson, about the terminations.

“No comment,” was the reply the reporter received.

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