Friday, May 11, 2018

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Dutchess bus workers accuse county official of spying on them

POUGHKEEPSIE – Teamsters Local 445, the union representing Dutchess County Public Transit workers, has filed an unfair labor practice against County Executive Marcus Molinaro’s Chief of Staff William O’Neil alleging illegal surveillance of its April 22 union meeting.

The union and the county are embroiled in a contract dispute and union representative Jerry Ebert said O’Neil reveled in a conversation and follow-up email that he knew what union Chief Shop Steward Joe Walsh said at that union meeting where members rejected a contract offer.

“The way the National Labor Relations Board works, if an employer gives an impression of surveillance during a union meeting, what he is doing is trying to intimidate the employees by letting them know that he knows what was said,” Ebert said. “So, whether the employer was there recording the meeting or whether he has someone in there that relays the information to him, it is still illegal for him to tell the employees that he knows what was said.”

The union also alleged that one week earlier, County DPW Deputy Commissioner David Whalen, “acting as an agent of First Transit, told workers in the company lunch room that if they voted against the tentative proposal on April 22, ‘retroactivity would be gone’,” the formal NLRB complaint stated. “This threat had a chilling effect on our effort to reject tentative proposal,” the union wrote.

 


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