Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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Judge Cracks Whip on Unfair Union Election

WASHINGTON (CN) - The union representing more than 2,800 Greyhound Lines drivers failed to conduct fair elections in 2013, a federal judge found.

Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1700, conducted its elections by mail that year, sending out 2,799 ballots to members, based on the addresses they had on file.

Though the Postal Service returned 132 of those election notices as undeliverable, the union did not endeavor to find correct addresses for the voters, and 35 workers failed to vote in the election because they never received new ballots.

As few as 35 votes decided several of the offices up for election that year, including that of the president and alternate delegate, according to the ruling. One of the races was decided by just 13 votes.

The secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor charged the union with unlawfully encumbering its members voting rights, and U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta granted him summary judgment Wednesday.

Critical to Mehta was the evidence that the Postal Service returned the 35 undeliverable ballots to the union with mail-forwarding addresses for the workers in question.

"Local 1700 was required to take the practical, straightforward step of resending the ballots to those members at their forwarding addresses," Mehta wrote

Rather than ordering a remedy, however, Mehta called for further briefing.

Both the Labor Department's secretary and the union had suggested that Mehta should let the current officers serve out their terms and have the secretary supervise the next election, which is scheduled for later this year.

"The court doubts that it has the authority to craft such a remedy," however, Mehta said.

"The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act unequivocally states that, if a court finds a violation of section 401 23 that may have affected the outcome of the election, it 'shall declare the election, if any, to be void and direct the conduct of a new election under supervision of the secretary,'" the ruling continues.

Briefs on the remedy are due by April 20.

"Alternatively, in light of the court's ruling on the merits, the parties may wish to consider a mutually agreeable way to resolve this matter," Mehta added.

Union president Jimmy McCoy did not return an email seeking comment on the decision.

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