The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has come down hard on Toledo-based Bebley Enterprises, ruling that the company illegally terminated a collective bargaining agreement, stopped contributing to the union’s benefit program, quit collecting union dues and harassed employees who were loyal to the union.
Problems began for Bebley and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades when the union’s attorney questioned whether Bebley was paying the prevailing wages on a Toledo city contract. The union asked the city for pay records. But when Toledo officials checked with Bebley, the company said the union wasn’t entitled to see the records because it no longer had a contract with the company.
Bebley was relying on a clause in the collective bargaining agreement that allows either side to terminate the agreement if the other party fails to comply with the terms. Bebley claimed the union’s attempt to contact the city violated the contract by interfering with the company’s dealings with customers.
Meanwhile, Bebley had a series of run-ins with vocal, pro-union employee Bobby Hill. While the company and the union were wrangling over the status of the collective bargaining agreement, Bebley disciplined Hill several times.
The final straw came when he called in claiming the steering on a company truck was malfunctioning. He claimed Bebley told him to take it to the repair shop. Bebley claimed it told him to park it. En route to the shop, he had an accident in which he and a motorist were hurt. When Hill returned to work, he was demoted and ultimately fired.
The NLRB ruled the company illegally terminated the collective bargaining agreement, agreeing with the union that the “interference clause” was to prevent the union from organizing Bebley’s clients only. Now it must reinstate the union contract.
It also ruled Bebley must reinstate Hill, because his termination might have been retaliation for his union support.
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