1/19/08

Teamster dissident finally gets lawful refund

A Kalispell (MT) logging trucker has received a refund of just over $300 from a Teamsters' local in Butte, after he filed a complaint over the dues he was being charged, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation says.

Michael Weller, an employee of Hanson Trucking and Resin Haulers Inc. of Columbia Falls, is not a member of the Teamsters and elected to pay reduced dues that cover collective bargaining costs, but not other costs such as union political activities.

Mark Brandt, secretary-treasurer for Teamsters Local 2, wrote to Weller saying the election would reduce Weller's monthly dues by 69 cents, to $38.31, and told him if he didn't pay a $150 objector fee, the union would request his termination.

Weller said he paid the charges out of fear of losing his job, and sought financial disclosure documents from the union to determine if he was paying the correct amount.

Federal "Beck" rights entitle non-union workers to a third-party audit of union expenses to prove they are not being charged for expenses not related to collective bargaining.

The union refunded the money to settle a complaint Weller filed with the National Labor Relations Board. Along with the refund, which includes $268 for objector fees, $8.45 for initiation fees and $27.84 in interest, the union also promised to provide full financial disclosure of the use of Weller's dues, the defense foundation said.

A phone number for the Teamsters Local 2 in Butte rang unanswered Friday afternoon.

(flatheadbeacon.com)

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