Employees Collect $700,000 for Unfair Labor Practices
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) forced manufacturing firm Newcor Bay City to pay 34 current and former employees when it found the company had engaged in unfair labor practices. Newcor issued checks to employees, their heirs, and the union’s supplemental unemployment benefit fund, totaling $689, 273. Individual payments, ranged up to $122, 948, with the average payment amount being $19, 694. Back pay calculations took into account medical expenses incurred due to lost health care coverage, expenses for job searches, wages, and vacation time.
In the June 2004 charge filing, the United Auto Workers International Union alleged that Newcor violated the National Labor Relations Act by implementing its final bargaining offer even though the parties had not reached a bona fide impasse. The imposed offer cut wages and benefits.The company also refused to provide the union with employee information relevant to the bargaining process such as seniority dates.
Following a hearing, an Administrative Law Judge ordered Newcor to: restore the old contract until the parties agreed to a new contract or reached a valid impasse; make whole all current or former employees for loss of wages and benefits; and, make contributions to funds established by the union collective bargaining agreement. The NLRB affirmed the judge’s ruling, but Newcor did not comply until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued an enforcement order.
“This serves as a cautionary tale why experienced labor attorneys should be involved in every step of the collective bargaining process.” states Euell Thomas an attorney in MSEC’s Labor Relations Department. “Sadly, it appears that the employer made a series of missteps which snowballed into an expensive legal case. Every NLRB unfair labor practice charge must be taken seriously, no matter how trivial the allegation may appear. Had Newcor involved legal counsel from the very beginning, this issue might have been settled with no monetary payout.”