International Brotherhood of Teamsters Strong-Armed by Internal Union


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Friday, August 14th, 2009, 4:20 PM PERMALINK


Sometimes, in labor negotiations, the union proposes something outlandish (6 months paid vacation), the employer refuses to comply and the union goes on strike. At this point, businesses have two options; ignore the union and continue to lose productivity while the market reacts negatively and their stocks plummet, or come to a “compromise” with the union. Where of course here, “compromise” means “give the unions a portion of what they want without going bankrupt.” Don’t believe me, ask Allan Mulally.

The power to strike lets unions dictate contractual negotiations. Labor rarely hesitates to wield its powerful weapon, the picket line, even against their own.

In a strange turn of events, a rogue union, the Washington-based Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), has rebelled against its national union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), threatening to, yes, strike if contract disputes are not settled. This puts the IBT in the awkward position of having to negotiate with the unreasonable OPEIU. The chickens have come home to roost.

An IBT spokesman lamented the situation OPEI has put them in, saying, “no amount of embarrassment will cause us to commit to a collective bargaining agreement that jeopardizes the financial health of your International Union." IBT’s critique of OPEI is the same claim businesses have levied against unions for decades; you can’t negotiate with these people.

Sympathy for IBT is in short supply, for them to condemn OPEI is utterly hypocritical. It should come as no surprise to IBT that the OPEIU has threatened to strike; its labors go to play.

 

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