(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) – The Teamsters Union announced that it will file a lawsuit against West Virginia University (WVU) alleging violations of the Freedom of Information Act Statute. Teamsters are requesting the release of emails and other information concerning the economic impact of so-called right to work (RTW) in West Virginia.
The Teamsters question the motivations behind a study commissioned by members of the state Legislature who support RTW legislation. The pro-RTW study written by Prof. John Deskins of WVU was conducted at the request of Senate President Bill Cole and House Speaker Tim Armstead, lead proponents of the legislation.
Ken Hall, Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer and President of Teamsters Local 175 in South Charleston, W.Va., called on WVU to release the full text of the email correspondence between the hand-picked author Deskins and the Legislature.
“The Republican majority has relied almost entirely on this study. The people of West Virginia have a right to know the truth behind how this study came about,” Hall said. “I come from a proud WVU family, as do many union members. This is an unfortunate position for me to be in personally, but this issue is critical to the future of workers in this state.”
“It was requested that WVU disclose the emails exchanged between Deskins and the government lawyers who work directly for Cole and Armstead, concerning the review of right to work by Deskins. Upon disclosure, the substance of the conversations contained within these emails was redacted and not provided in response,” said Sean W. Cook, an attorney for the Teamsters with Meyer, Ford & Glasser.
“There is no logical reason to refuse disclosure of the substantive conversations contained in these emails,” said Michael J. Del Giudice, attorney for the Teamsters with Ciccarello, Del Giudice & LaFon.
The RTW bill passed the Senate last week and is set to be considered by the House tomorrow. RTW laws weaken a union’s ability to help workers bargain with their employers for better wages, benefits and working conditions by allowing non-members the benefits of a union contract without paying any of the cost.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.