Volvo Union Leaders Are Challenged For Altering Contract

August 25, 2000

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Two union members from a Volvo truck plant in Dublin, Va., are alleging that the United Auto Workers altered working practices in the union’s contract without any notification.

This comes a year after the UAW accepted major concessions in a new contract with Volvo Trucks North America after the company threatened to move jobs to Mexico. The union dealt with 900 layoffs months later.
According to the Roanoke Times & World News, two of the plant's 12 bargaining committee members have filed a federal complaint that alleges UAW Local 2069 President Bill Burton and Bargaining Chairman Lee Thomas agreed to mandatory overtime and the end of a 15-minute paid cleanup time without putting the concessions to a membership vote.
According to Thomas White and Jim Houchins, both 12-year veterans of the plant, Burton and Thomas made the changes in May despite a rejection by the shop stewards who form the union's bargaining committee.
White filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board in June alleging that the two union officials altered the union's contract so that it ended the practice of certain workers cleaning up 15 minutes before the end of their shifts. The complaint also contends that Burton and Thomas changed the contract so that it now requires employees to work up to six Saturdays a year in addition to their usual two Saturdays a month. White said about 30 percent of the plant's union workers know about the changes and the same amount would be affected by the changes.
A Volvo spokesman told the paper he was unaware of the complaint, and neither Burton nor Thomas returned telephone calls.

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