BY Doug Chartier
LAW WEEK COLORADO
Colorado’s largest labor union is accused of failing to pay overtime wages owed to its own employees, and it isn’t the first time.
Maung Maung and Gustavo Ayon Navarro filed a lawsuit against their former employer, the United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 7, on Aug. 10 in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The suit claims that the union violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Colorado Wage Act by knowingly and willingly withholding overtime wages owed to representatives.
The UFCW Local 7 was sued over similar complaints back in 2005, which alleged its representatives were required to work as many as 70 hours a week without overtime pay. In that matter, the union claimed the plaintiffs were exempt because they were administrative employees. Of the 25 plaintiffs, 18 settled out, and after the court denied the union’s motion for summary judgment, the union reached a settlement with the remaining seven plaintiffs.
John Crone, of counsel with The Wick Law Office, is representing the former employees in the new lawsuit and said he expects other claimants to join the two named plaintiffs. As far as his firm currently knows, nothing has changed since the 2005 settlements regarding the representatives’ job duties and the direction they receive from the union’s management, which would help determine exemption status.