Erickson Trucking Service, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board

Erickson is the only unionized crane rental company in western Michigan. In 2015, the Local insisted that only members of the Local, not the company’s other unions, perform crane-operator work. The Local threatened to stop referring union members for regular temporary-labor needs and operators began seeking the Local’s help with payroll mix-ups rather than resolving them with Erickson. When the company told employees to “quit talking to Brandon because he’s going to get you in trouble,” the Local filed its first-ever grievance and unfair labor practice charge against Erickson, which eventually agreed to allow workers to seek the Local’s help. In 2016 Erickson discovered that the Local was approaching customers and encouraging them to hire through the Union’s referral process rather than contracting with the company. Erickson fired six members of the Local, 30% of the company’s operators. Erickson told the fired workers about the lack of work for small cranes; the layoffs “could be reversed,” if the workers would “get the Union to back off.” Erickson put six small cranes on the market. The Local filed unfair labor practice charges under 29 U.S.C. 158(a)(1); 158(a)(3). The Sixth Circuit affirmed an NLRB decision in favor of the Local. Even if Erickson exited the small-crane market for unrelated reasons, the need to terminate the operators did not necessarily follow. Erickson had a dramatic increase in temporary hires immediately after the discharges, often for tasks the fired workers performed. The company’s justification was pretextual. View "Erickson Trucking Service, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board" on Justia Law