Carpenter delegate prevails in free speech case!
U.S. District Court Orders Carpentersâ€™ District Council (CDC) of Greater
St. Louis to Stop Infringing Free Speech Rights of Dissenting Members
CDC Prevented from Silencing Members Opposed to Union Raiding
ST. LOUIS â€“ A U.S. district court has confirmed a major victory to carpenters opposed to their unionâ€™s effort to raid the work of other trades. On March 17, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois issued an agreed-upon permanent injunction barring the Carpentersâ€™ District Council (CDC) of Greater St. Louis & Vicinity from silencing the free speech rights of members.
The injunction stems from internal charges that the CDC filed last year against member Andrew Kevin Price for expressing opposition to the CDCâ€™s formation of a carpentersâ€™ electrical division â€“ Local 57. Price, a dues paying member of CDC, openly opposed the formation of Local 57 by Terry Nelson, executive secretary/treasurer of the CDC. In summer 2010, Price refused to remove an anti-Local 57 sticker on his personal vehicle. When he was then brought up on charges by the CDC, Price filed a lawsuit, alleging that the CDCâ€™s action violated the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). On Oct. 8, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. Reagan granted Price a preliminary injunction to prevent the CDC from infringing on his free speech rights. Reagan made the injunction permanent in a ruling issued on March 17, 2011, on a joint motion of the parties. (see attachment detailing case number 3:10-cv-0741-MJR-PMF).
The permanent injunction prevents the CDC from filing charges against Price and retaliating against any CDC member for expressing opposition to Local 57. The CDC is also to rescind previous disciplinary actions and reimburse fines against members for opposing Local 57.
In its October ruling, the court characterized Price as â€œâ€¦ a carpenter and a loyal union member. He earnestly believes that the council should spend the unionâ€™s money assisting carpenters, rather than electricians. Price believes that Nelson formed Local 57 to raid other unions (trying to capture electrical work that other unions historically did), and that this policy is detrimental to the future and long-term goals of the Carpentersâ€™ union. Price also believes that Local 57 harms union solidarity and runs contra to the traditional notion of â€˜brotherhood.â€™â€
More details on the case can be found HERE!