Carpenters win big in free speech case

by Pete Savage and Cliff Puckett

In UDR 203 we published a story detailing a lawsuit brought by four members of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters (PNWRCC). This story follows up on that piece.

The long battle for the right of all UBC members to have a voice in their union has finally come to a conclusion. Plaintiffs Gabe Triplet, Mike Wallace, Cliff Puckett, and Pete Savage have agreed to terms of Settlement with the PNRCC, the UBC, and Doug Tweedy. Plaintiffs are very pleased with the outcome of this case and the settlement terms.

This case had reached a point where all fines and penalties imposed by the Regional council against these members were found by Federal court to be illegal and a violation of their rights. All that was left to be decided by the court in the trial process was the degree of malice by Doug Tweedy in the filing of the original internal charges, the trial process, and the imposing of the penalties.

Although Gabe, Mike, Pete, and Cliff saw the benefits to having these issues aired in court, they could not see allowing the Regional Council to spend hundreds of thousands more of dues money paid by its members to defend Tweedy’s name. It is now up to the members and Delegates to hold Tweedy accountable.

As terms of this settlement, all 13 members originally tried, convicted, and wrongfully penalized, will have those penalties revoked and all of their membership rights reinstated. Also, the Regional Council’s recently filed law suit against members Don Ball and Jason Sheckler will be dropped.

“We cannot thank the members of the Portland Law Collective enough”, says Pete Savage. “Their tireless work and unbounding effort to help us in this struggle is what allowed the voice of our members to be heard.”

The right to a dissenting voice is very powerful. Let us use this right. Our Union struggles to give our members a voice on the job, let’s not forget we must also have that same voice in our Union.


AGREEMENT
Dismissal of Litigation
1. The Parties agree that all claims in Savage v. Tweedy will be dismissed with prejudice and without fees or costs to any party except as herein provided. Plaintiffs will file a stipulated notice of dismissal with prejudice and without court-awarded fees or costs to any party and/or appropriate motion to dismiss with prejudice and without court-awarded fees or costs to any party within three business days of the execution of the Main Settlement Agreement and Appendix A.
2. By signing the Main Settlement Agreement, Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves, including without limitation, their successors, partners, joint venturers, spouses, ex-spouses, heirs, assigns, attorneys, representatives, agents, and principals hereby covenant not to sue and fully release and forever discharge the Regional Council, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Doug Tweedy, and their respective officers, directors, agents, employees, and insurers (collectively, “the Releasees”) from any and all claims, asserted and un-asserted, known and unknown, suspected and unsuspected, arising from the discipline and penalties imposed on or about May 19, 2012 by the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters against any Plaintiff (“the Discipline”) and/or any subsequent litigation, including but not limited to the claims set out in Savage v. Tweedy, Ball v. Regional Council, Regional Council v. Ball, any and all claims under federal, state and local law, including but not limited to under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, any claims under the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, any unfair labor practice charges under the National Labor Relations Act, any claims in contract, any claims arising from the Constitution and/or Bylaws of the Releasees or their subordinate bodies, and any common-law claims.

3. The Main Settlement Agreement is contingent upon the Execution of Appendix A, which resolves Ball v. Regional Council. Plaintiffs represent to Defendants that counsel for the plaintiffs in Ball v. Regional Council has written authorization to settle that case on the terms specified in Appendix A and shall file a notice of dismissal with prejudice and/or move to dismiss all claims with prejudice and without fees or costs to any party in that action.

4. The Regional Council will file a notice of dismissal and/or move to dismiss all claims in Regional Council v. Ball with prejudice and without fees or costs to any party in that action. The Regional Council will file the appropriate notice of dismissal and/or motion within one week of the execution of the Main Settlement Agreement and Appendix A.

Revocation of Discipline and Execution of Waivers

5. The Discipline against Plaintiffs Savage, Puckett and Wallace will be permanently revoked upon the execution of the Main Settlement Agreement and Appendix A. Within one week of the Page execution of this Main Settlement Agreement, the UBC will remove from ULTRA any indication that any Plaintiff is ineligible to hold office due to the Discipline.

6. The Discipline against the plaintiffs in Ball v. Regional Council has been or will be conditionally revoked on or before May 13, 2014, as described in Appendix A. The option of Appendix B in exchange for revocation of Discipline shall remain open for 45 days from the execution of this Main Settlement Agreement. If any plaintiff in Ball v. Regional Council has failed to execute
Appendix B within this period, the Discipline will be reinstated against that plaintiff retroactive to noon, May 13, 2014.
7. The Discipline against Dan Cagle, Wayne Frazey, Ed Glad, and Jason Sheckler has been or will be conditionally revoked on or before May 13, 2014. The option of signing Appendix C in exchange for revocation of Discipline shall remain open for 45 days from the execution of this Main Settlement Agreement. If any of Dan Cagle, Wayne Frazey, Ed Glad, or Jason Sheckler has failed to execute Appendix C within this period, the Discipline will be reinstated against that person retroactive to noon, May 13,2014.

8. For any individual who has faxed or sent by certified or registered mail a signed copy of Appendix B or C (as applicable) to the UBC, the UBC will remove from ULTRA any indication that the individual is ineligible to hold office due to the Discipline within one week of receipt. Faxed Appendices may be faxed to (202) 543-5724.

9. While suspended and once permanently vacated, the Discipline can no longer serve as a basis for a finding that a member is not eligible for an elected or appointed position. Nothing in this Main Settlement Agreement or any of its Appendices shall affect the application of other requirements for eligibility for a position, including, but not limited to, as provided for under Section 31D of the UBC Constitution. For example, a member who submits their waiver as described above cannot be found ineligible pursuant to the twelve-month good standing requirement set out in Section 31D of the UBC Constitution because they were recently subject to the Discipline but could be ineligible under that section for failure to pay dues.

10. The Regional Council shall refund each Plaintiff’s fines within two weeks of the execution of the Main Settlement Agreement and Appendix A unless it can produce documentation that it has already refunded the relevant Plaintiffs fines to him.

11. The Regional Council will refund the fines of other disciplined members within two weeks of receipt of their waiver.

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