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The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM, AFL-CIO) has filed unfair labor practice charges against Hercules Aerospace Corp. in Clearfield.

Charges stem from the alleged illegal dismissal on Oct. 24 of a 13-year veteran Hercules employee, Billy Joe Nichols, by officers and agents of the corporation, said Gearold Dargitz, IAM Grand Lodge Representative.Dargitz is assisting employees at Hercules Corp. in their drive to win the IAM as their collective bargaining representative in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election set Dec. 12 and 13 at the Clearfield facility.

Nichols is a member of the IAM Organizing Committee at the Clearfield plant, who has been active since the organizing campaign began last June. It was then that Nichols and his fellow employees requested that the IAM assist them in winning union representation.

"It's clear to anyone who cares to consider the facts that officers and agents of Hercules Corp. terminated Mr. Nichols because he exercised his democratic and legally protected rights to support the IAM," Dargitz declared, adding: "The IAM will not tolerate such flagrant and outrageous violation of the law and employee rights by this, or any other employer."

Dargitz presented these claims:

- On Oct. 16 Hercules Corp. officers and agents demanded that Nichols submit to a drug test, even though it had no basis for demanding such a test.

- Nichols submitted to the corporation's demands for a urine sample after the employer told him that if he did not cooperate he would be fired.

- As soon as possible afterward, Nichols, on his own volition, submitted a urine sample for an independent test.

- Despite the fact the same laboratory was used for testing both samples, the independent test was negative; the Hercules Corp. claimed its test was positive and fired Nichols.