David Humphreys, the money man behind Missouri’s RTW legislation, caught up in California court fight

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RTW BENEFACTOR David Humphreys, CEO of Joplin-based TAMKO Building Products, is facing two federal lawsuits in California over his company’s faulty roofing shingles. Humphreys was hit with a similar lawsuit in Missouri which he fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case, prompting Humphreys to threaten to leave the state, something Missouri workers would be more than happy to see.

David Humphreys, the Republican mega-donor behind Missouri’s RTW fight, has been hit with two federal lawsuits in Sacramento over the shoddy shingles sold by his company, Joplin-based TAMKO Building Products.

If this story sounds familiar, it’s because Humphreys, who has contributed $17 million to political candidates who favor so-called “right-to-work,” was hit with a similar lawsuit in Missouri titled TAMKO v. Hobbs involving allegedly defective shingles that Humphreys’ Joplin-based TAMKO Building Products had manufactured, and whether the fine-print warranty plastic-wrapped around each bundle of shingles was enough to protect TAMKO from lawsuits.

TAMKO V. HOBBS

Humphreys fought the Hobbs case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court after a Missouri appellate court declined to compel arbitration on a lawsuit filed against TAMKO by two customers – Lee Hobbs of Eunice, MO, and the Jonesburg United Methodist Church.

TAMKO’s roofing shingles come with a 30-year warranty and a sneaky clause, not presented to consumers at the point of purchase but wrapped around each package of shingles, requiring warranty disputes to be settled in arbitration.

That’s Humphreys’ whole defense, arguing that Hobbs and the church didn’t have a legal right to sue because of the sneaky clause language wrapped around each package of shingles.

But the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case. That prompted Humphreys to threaten to leave Missouri for someplace more accommodating to shady business owners.

The empty threat prompted Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO, to quip “For the working people who are poised to suffer the loss of wages and negotiating power under Humphreys’ bought and paid for ‘right-to-work’ legislation, the only questions I have are, ‘When will he leave?’ And, ‘Can I help him pack?’”

Humphreys’ consistent backing of far-right pro-“right-to-work,” anti-worker candidates prompted the St. Louis Labor Council, St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council, UFCW Local 655, Teamsters Local 688, Protect MO Families and others to boycott and encourage their members to boycott TAMKO’s products starting in 2016 (boycotttamko.com).

CALIFORNIA CASE

Humphreys’ customers in California probably wish they known about the boycott, and the shoddy quality of TAMKO’s shingles, before they put new TAMKO roofs on their homes.

According to Andy Furillo, communications director for the California State Building Construction and Trades Council, class-action plaintiff Jeffrey Snyder of Sonora charged in the Sacramento lawsuit that the TAMKO roof over his home sprung a leak in eight years, in spite of a warranty that guaranteed it for 30 years.

When he filed a claim, Snyder said the TAMKO rep reacted in a “hostile” fashion, according to his lawsuit. Snyder said he had to spend $12,000 on a new roof, “an expense he should not have had to incur for another two decades,” his lawsuit said.

Snyder’s complaint quoted several other internet postings from other TAMKO customers who sounded off with their dissatisfactions:

  • “These shingles are the worst I have ever seen and I was married to a roofing contractor,” one customer wrote.
  • “I have literally had to re-install almost half my roof in the past five years,” said another after the new roof shingles failed to seal. “I am just biding my time until I can install metal. Note: never buy this product!”
  • “My 25-year warranty on these ‘upgraded’ TAMKO shingles is apparently worth nothing!” wrote a third. “The shingles are curling and look awful.”
  • “We had a 30-year roof installed on our home 10 years ago!” a fourth customer exclaimed. “We have been having trouble with this roof for the last 3½ years. Leaks and water damage!”

The Snyder case was joined with another plaintiff from Hartford, CT, Furillo said, and was filed “on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated.” The case is pending in front of U.S. District Court Judge Troy L. Nunley.

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Donate to the $18 for ’18 campaign to help defeat RTW

We need to get our message out to all Missourians ahead of next year’s election why phony “right-to-work” is wrong for Missouri’s working families. We’ll win this campaign voter by voter, and you can help.

Union-hating business owners like David Humphreys, the Koch Brothers-funded Americans For Prosperity and other corporate-funded anti-worker groups are spending millions to silence the voice of workers and make so-called “right-to-work” the law of the land in Missouri.

Together, we can defeat them.

Donate to the “$18 for ’18” campaign to defeat RTW. You can donate online by visiting wearemo.org and clicking the red “Donate” button at the top of the page.

Or, if you prefer, you can mail your donation to:

We Are Missouri
227 Jefferson St.
Jefferson City, MO 65101

Your donation will help ensure working people have a voice in deciding whether Missouri will be another race to the bottom, union-busting RTW state or a place of good, safe jobs with fair wages, quality health care and the chance to retire with dignity.

We have a tough road ahead of us, and educational efforts funded by the $18 for ’18 campaign will be key.

Please donate today.

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