A National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge ruled recently that the International Association of Machinists Local 839 engaged in unlawful threats of violence against union dissidents. The IAM was also found to have unlawfully sought the termination of two non-members from Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, KS.
The two union dissidents, Lehman and Kastens, previously held leadership positions with the union at Spirit’s Wichita facility. Lehman campaigned to lead the Local in 2013, but lost. And soon afterward, he was being threatened by election opponents. Kastens, a former shop steward, also drew the ire of the union by supporting a challenger during the 2013 election.
Then in January 2014, Lehman and Kastens emailed a video of a safety violation to employees’ personal emails, which was against company policy. When Local President Johnson learned of the email, he sought to have Kastens and Lehman terminated.
The judge ruled that the union sought to have Kastens and Lehman fired solely because of the “union’s animus” against them.
In a short statement, the union vowed to appeal the decision. So stay tuned and we’ll keep you in the loop as this case moves forward.