Ford employee claims harassment for refusing to join UAW

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Brian Pannebecker with Taryn Asher.

He's a hi-low driver from the factory but claims he's constantly harassed for refusing to be part of the United Auto Workers Union.

Brian Pannebecker is in favor of the right to work law and does not believe you should be part of a union if you don't want to. He dropped out of his a couple of years ago. It is a decision he said he pays for every day.

"I resigned in protest over that and ever since then, I have been getting harassed," he said.

Pannebecker who works at Ford's Sterling Axle Plant in Sterling Heights says ever since he resigned from UAW Local 228 a couple of years ago, he's faced constant harassment from some of his co-workers.

"I'm a good worker I come into work every day, I try to work safe and do my job," Pannebecker said. "And I shouldn't have to put up with this type of harassment in the work place - especially from the UAW."

Pannebecker, a hi-lo driver at the Mound Road plant, claims he's found multiple posters with his picture and derogatory comments in the work place, in the bathroom, and even posted on the bulletin board outside the UAW office.

In a complaint Pannebecker just filed with the National Labor Relations Board, he specifically charges Angelo Lupo, the union's safety officer. He claims Lupo incessantly monitors, follows and hounds him - writing up him for multiple minor safety violations.

Pannebecker says he's been forced to deal with the harassment and intimidation from his safety officer and other co-workers because he's been very vocal about this support of the right to work law.

"They are trying to get me in trouble," he said.

FOX 2 contacted the president of UAW Local 228 and in response Paul Torrente sent an email.

In part it says:

"The United Auto Workers, including UAW Local 228, does not condone nor advocate discrimination of any kind against any member of the UAW; by management or by other union members.

"The claims by Mr. Pannebecker have been investigated at the local level and do not constitute harassment.

"I am disappointed that Mr. Pannebecker has brought forth these false accusations, but I can assure you that his union representation has been consistent with all other employees."

"I would like to see the current safety rep replaced," Pannebaker said. "I'm not looking for a lawsuit, I'm not looking for money all I want is to come to work and do my job every day without being harassed by the UAW thugs."

On Monday Pannebaker will meet with the National Labor Relations Board to tell his side of the story. He says he will have five witnesses to corroborate his claims. The NLRB will then make their decision.