read full article: Industrial News
As Prate established at the 18 day arbitration hearing, after Prate took an active position in collective bargaining in 2001, advocating a major change in the contract wage terms, then Union President Earl Oliver, and other union business agents and officers, embarked on a course of conduct with the expressed intent of making an example of Mr. Prate and driving his forty (40) year old construction company out of business.
As the Arbitrator determined, during the years that followed, (1) the Carpenters Union repeatedly engaged in strikes and picketed Prate Installations; (2) Union business agents consistently harassed Prate's Carpenters Union member employees at job sites in Northern Illinois; and (3) the Union allowed other union signatories to pay their employees on a so-called "piecework basis", despite the bargaining agreement's requirement that employees be paid by the hour for each hour worked. The favored contractors, to Prate Installation's detriment, reaped a significant competitive and financial advantage by this Union allowance.
After several years of trying to persuade the Union to stop this discriminatory conduct, Prate Installations filed a grievance with the Carpenters' Union requesting that under the "Most Favored Nations" provision of the bargaining agreement, to which Prate Installations and other contractors were bound, the Union extend these same more favorable terms to Prate Installations. The Union refused Prate's request and agreed with Prate Installations to have the dispute resolved by Arbitrator James Martin.