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Wednesday, 09 December 2015 15:12

Local steelworkers have to redo election

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canton millFollowing an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, the United Steelworkers Local 9-507 in Canton has to redo its election of officers before March 31, 2016.

Evergreen Packaging employee and local union member Troy Dills filed an official complaint to the Steelworkers District Office in April regarding how the officer election was handled last year, which then prompted the U.S. Department of Labor investigation.

“I wanted to make sure we had a fair and democratic election — that was my whole motivation behind protesting the election,” he said.  

Dills said he ran for union president during the last election but his name was removed from the ballot after the union officers at the time adopted and implemented new election rules. One of the new stipulations was that union members had to attend a certain percentage of union meetings to be eligible to run for office. 

Dills said he didn’t meet the new requirement but neither did many other members, because the union meetings aren’t well attended. 

Susan Sims, the Department of Labor investigator on the case, said she couldn’t comment on the investigation or the results. The Department of Labor would only release the following statement. 

“United Steelworkers Local 9-507 in Canton, North Carolina, recently agreed to conduct new nominations and a new election for 18 officer positions under the supervision of the Office of Labor-Management Standards. Following an investigation of a contested April 2015 election, OLMS concluded that the union applied an unreasonable candidate qualification when it retroactively imposed a meeting attendance requirement to candidates denying otherwise eligible candidates from running for office.”

Mike Treadway, who was elected as union president during the last election, also refused to comment on the investigation or plans of the new election. 

Even though Dills’ election protest over the attendance rule prompted the investigation, he is still unaware of the particular findings. While he doesn’t want to make accusations, he feels like there was something suspicious about the timing of the new candidate requirements. 

“The fact this was brought up right around election time — the requirement seems a little odd,” he said. “This year’s been a real struggle and it’s disappointing to see this much time go by and have to have it resolved by the Department of Labor.”

But now that it’s worked out, Dills said he does plan to run for president again in the do-over election coming up. 

While Treadway gave no details about the election, a voluntary compliance letter sent to Treadway from the Department of Labor District Director Craig Neel states that the election must be held before March 31 under the supervision of the secretary of labor.

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