Court Approval Ends Dissidents’ Fight Over Contract : Part-Time Teamsters Granted Voting Privileges
The Teamsters Union and a group of dissidents, in a settlement approved Wednesday by a federal judge, have agreed to allow part-time union members to vote on national contracts and elections.
The agreement marks the end of the dissidents’ attempts to overturn the recently ratified Teamsters contract.
U.S. District Judge Charles R. Richey approved the settlement by which any member of the union, including the so-called “casuals” who have worked at least 80 days in the preceding year, will be permitted a vote on the national contract in 1988 and any national referendum held before that.
Suit Filed After Accord
The dissidents, members of a reformist group called Teamsters for a Democratic Union, filed suit last month after the Teamsters announced that members had ratified a new three-year contract with the trucking industry.
The group, attempting to block the agreement from taking effect, argued that the union should have counted the votes of part-time Teamsters, whose wages were to be cut by the contract.
The new contract, retroactive to March 31, raises hourly base wages of $13.21 by 50 cents this year and another $1 by the third year. It was approved by a vote of 62,296 to 54,873.
After the announcement, three part-time truckers asked Richey to block the contract, saying that the union had not counted the votes of its part-time members, which the lawsuit estimated at 35,000.
Part-Timers’ Pay Cut
Under the agreement, part-timers’ pay was cut from $13.21 an hour to $11.
Lawyers for the Teamsters and the trucking industry contended that there are fewer than 7,000 part-timers and thus they would not have affected the outcome. The union said that it disqualified 2,106 ballots.
Teamsters spokesman Duke Zeller said at the time that part-time workers traditionally have not been allowed to vote on union contracts.
Attorney Alan B. Morrison, representing the dissidents, said of the settlement: “This is a compromise. We didn’t get to overturn the election. And we would have preferred to have the number lower than 80 days.”