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Union Pipefitters Blow Whistle on Law-Breaking Staffing Agency (Surprise, They’re an ABC Member)


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An Indianapolis-based staffing firm, Commercial Trade Source (CTS), has been ordered by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to allow workers to discuss wages and unionization while at work.  The ruling comes after the company, effectively a temp agency which supplies workers for construction projects nationwide, took the fight to the federal level.  The company had forbade its workers from discussing wages or organization through flyers, union clothing, or actual conversation.

Not surprisingly, CTS is a member of the anti-worker Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC). According to the Indiana State Pipe Trades Association’s John Kurek, the practice is illegal, but fairly common:

“Workers fear for their jobs — a lot of people don’t want to speak up.  They may know that they’re not being paid correctly. Or they may be in a situation that may not be necessarily legal or may be unsafe, and workers don’t really feel like they have a strong voice.”

Often, companies caught doing what Commercial Trade Source did change their policies once they are reprimanded.  Union workers first reported the company’s behavior in 2014. In 2015, the Indiana State Pipe Trades Association filed formal charges with the NLRB after no changes were made.

“They just never complied with the settlement,” Kurek said. “That’s why it went to the level it went to.”


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