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Boston Teamsters Face Backlash After Taking Hundreds in Union Dues From Seasonal UPS Workers

Seasonal UPS workers have been working day and night to ensure Christmas packages reach their location before the holidays arrive, but strict union dues left some workers with dismal paychecks.

According to CBS’s affiliate WBZ in Boston, seasonal UPS workers all had the 500 dollar union initiation fee taken from their paycheck at once, leaving some employees with paycheck under 20 dollars.

Typically, the forced union initiation dues are taken in small increments. The seasonal workers signed an agreement that the initiation fee would be paid in 32 dollar installments — but that all changed under a new policy.

The Teamsters ended the incremental payment plan and took the full 500 dollars from their newly-hired part-time seasonal workers at once.

One employee, Sheila O’Malley, worked 41 hours during overnight shifts for UPS. When she opened her paycheck, however, it totaled up to be just $14.92 with the remainder of her paycheck going to the union.

Having signed an agreement that she would be paying the dues in 32 dollar installments, O’Malley thought it was a mistake. When she called the union office to correct her paycheck, she was told, “Local 25 reversed this long-standing practice by rescinding this policy.”

“I was shocked,” O’Malley told CBS. “I cried and tried to plead my case with them. But there was no wiggle room. [The union representative] said ‘You’re a part of the union now and you won’t have to worry about that coming out of your check.’”

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O’Malley explained that the union’s decision to take the full 500 dollars before the holidays was “crippling.”

“Financially it was crippling. It seemed like a few hundred dollars but that money was already spent and then we didn’t have it,” O’Malley told CBS.

O’Malley felt like she had no one to turn to because it was the union’s job to deal with payment disputes. “I thought they were supposed to protect our rights,” O’Malley said.

Although it may be too late for O’Malley, the National Labor Relations Board is investigating the Teamsters’ actions, with one labor attorney, Sol Cohen, telling CBS that he believes the union violated federal laws.

“I would hope the union would take a look at this policy and reverse it and allow employees to go back on a regular payment plan,” Cohen told CBS.

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