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Teamsters union files suit against DFA, Hiland

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

About 50 members of Teamsters Local 245 who work at Dairy Farmers of America and Hiland Dairy in southwest Missouri have filed a lawsuit in federal court against their employers.

The suit, filed in the Western District of Missouri's Southern Division Oct. 22, is for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief for the employees, who were not allowed to contribute to the Teamsters' political action committee through a payroll deduction program.

According to the suit, the employers refused to permit the payroll deduction contribution because they said it violated a section of the Labor Management Relations Act. The employee group is charging that under a Missouri statute, they are allowed to contribute to a political action committee.

The Missouri statute allows that when 10 or more employees make a written request to do so, they are to be permitted to contribute to a political action committee by means of a payroll deduction, if the company otherwise has a payroll deduction program.

The lawsuit states that "Congress has unambiguously authorized employee payroll deductions as a means of making contributions to union-sponsored political action committees and has exempted such contributions from ... the Labor Management Relations Act."

The suit asks that DFA and Hiland begin the payroll deduction, and asks for civil damages and attorney's fees.

Jim Kabell, of the Teamsters Local 245, said the case represents the local's only problem with its PAC. The union began discussing the issue with DFA and Hiland about one year ago, and has now filed the suit in order to get it resolved.

Dan Reuwee, spokesman for DFA, said the cooperative was still researching the recently filed suit.[[In-content Ad]]

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