Dearborn City Workers - click to enlarge

“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. In fact,
I decided to pay part of my dues to support the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation to help others who are in need of help. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing you guys were there, and I was not fighting this battle alone.”

— Maria Santiago-Powell

Former Teamsters Local 214 Member

 

“We couldn’t have won this battle without the Mackinac Center fighting for us.”

— Shawn Koskyn

Former Teamsters Local 214 Member

From left to right: Shawn Koskyn, Derk Wilcox, Maria Santiago-Powell, Patrick Wright and Greg Andrews.

In August of 2013, a small group of brave and determined workers stood up against a powerful union and recently walked away victorious, sending a strong message that just because someone is bigger doesn’t mean they can discriminate.

Shawn Koskyn, Maria Santiago-Powell and Greg Andrews contacted the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation after the union representing them, Teamsters Local 214, instituted a policy charging non-members a special fee to file grievances. The union put forth this discriminatory policy against these Dearborn City workers whom it had chosen to represent.

After the MCLF took legal action, Teamsters Local 214 President Joe Valenti vehemently defended the discriminatory policy, saying the workers were “committing suicide” and that the union would “go to court if we have to and take it to the last.”

However, his tune apparently changed after realizing it would be better to comply with the law rather than fight against these workers. The Teamsters changed the policy and it now says, “any charges the Union will require related to the processing of grievances will be assessed on a non-discriminatory basis.”

In addition to changing the policy, the Teamsters dropped its claims against the workers and paid the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation’s legal fees.

The case gives notice to other groups that workers are aware of their rights and that they’re always watching.