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Indiana rank and file Teamsters are questioning unprecedented and unannounced dues increases. With the passage of a Right to Work Law last year, perhaps Indiana Teamster union bosses are “missing” the thousands of forced dues dollars they were able to collect before the law went into effect. In any case, it seems that Indiana Teamster bosses do not speak for, or TO their members.
Bowdeya Tweh has the story in the Northwest Indiana Times:
Pepsi Beverages Co. transport driver Tom Albano said he’s had no problem paying dues to unions during more than 30 years working in the steel and transportation industries.
But Albano said he and other members of the Gary-based International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 142 say they have an issue with their dues being increased without adequate explanation verbally or in print to members.
Union officials dispute that claim, and said they believe dues are set and collected appropriately based on guidelines set by the international organization.
About 250 workers, of which 19 are transport drivers, are part of the Teamsters Local 142 bargaining unit at Pepsi, according to the union.
“We don’t expect special treatment,” Albano said. “But we don’t expect to get treated like this.”
The Teamsters Constitution requires locals to charge individuals with positions such as transport drivers 2 1/2 times their hourly rates for dues per month.
Transport drivers don’t have a set hourly rate, but they earn the same rate per run. Albano, who is serving as a spokesman for workers within the transport division, said transport drivers are guaranteed a minimum weekly wage of $650, provided the driver works at least 40 hours in a week under their current bargaining agreement. Based on those numbers, Albano said members would be willing to pay about $41 a month, or $492 annually, in dues. The $492 figure is also close to what Pepsi transport drivers with Teamsters Local 710 in Chicago pay and comparable to what warehouse workers for Pepsi in Munster pay.
The local Secretary-Treasurer believes the calucations are correct, but concedes the local makes a different calculation.
That calculation yields a higher dues payment. Albano paid $854 for union dues in 2012, up from $790 in 2011. Monthly payments in 2012 included several adjustments during the year with the rate being as high as $92 a month.
“We’re being gouged as far as what other drivers are being charged,” Albano said. “It’s all messed up, and they’re not being consistent with their dues to all members.”
He said the overpayment since the beginning of the contract, which was Feb. 3, 2008, should be refunded to the drivers.