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USF Red Star sues Teamsters, seeks “millions” in damages

Jan. 18, 2005
USF Red Star sues Teamsters, alleging illegal work stoppage

USF Red Star Inc. has filed a lawsuit against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) alleging that the work stoppage the union initiated on May 21, 2004 violated National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). USF is seeking damages, including “millions” in lost revenue as a result of the strike, as well as legal fees.

The civil action was filed at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York against IBT and Locals 317, 294, and 687.

The strike lasted three days until USF announced a complete shut down of its Red Star subsidiary. “The picketing and companywide work stoppage triggered a loss of customers and revenue by Red Star,” USF stated, adding that the loss was so severe that it resulted in its decision to cease its Red Star operations— a decision which affected over 1,500 Red Star employees.

According to USF, IBT called the strike to force USF’s Dugan subsidiary to recognize or bargain with the union. USF said the strike was also aimed at forcing Red Star to apply pressure on its parent company, USF, to in turn apply pressure on its subsidiary, Dugan, to recognize IBT as representative of Dugan’s employees. This action violated the NLRA, USF said.

“Since at least February 2004 and continuing to this date, the IBT has directed and conducted an organizing campaign for workers at various Dugan terminals,” stated USF.

USF also alleges that IBT violated a “no-strike commitment” outlined in the National Master Freight Agreement that was negotiated between Red Star and IBT when the union initiated a work stoppage without providing the company 72-hour notice. Additionally, USF alleges that a “representational dispute” exception to the no-strike commitment does not apply to the work stoppage.

USF has declined to comment on pending litigation. IBT was contacted but had not responded at press time.

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