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NLRB Sues Rail Industry Supplier

TUCSON (CN) - A railroad industry supplier discouraged unionization with interrogations, threats and mass layoffs, the NLRB claims in Federal Court.

The National Labor Relations Board seeks an injunction to compel Gunderson Rail Services LLC dba Greenbrier Rail Services to comply with labor laws and recall dozens of employees it fired in 2012 and 2013.

Responding to a series of complaints by the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association, Local 359, AFL-CIO, the NLRB held hearings in Tucson in September and November 2013, during which an administrative law judge found evidence of unfair labor practices.

Among other things, the judge found evidence of "interrogating employees about their union activities; creating an impression among its employees that their union activities were under surveillance by respondent; promising to grant benefits to employees, and granting them benefits, to dissuade their support for the union; implementing a safety committee and raffle to dissuade employee support for the union; soliciting employee complaints and grievances; threatening employees with plant closure if they selected the union as their collective-bargaining representative; denigrating the union to discourage employees from supporting the union; and threatening employees with the loss of their right to bring complaints directly to management if they selected the union as their collective-bargaining representative," the NLRB says in its 28-page lawsuit.

The company fired 29 employees for supporting the union, and has refused to recognize and bargain with the union's representatives, according to the NLRB.

"Unless injunctive relief is immediately obtained, it can fairly be anticipated that employees will permanently and irreversibly lose the benefits of the board's processes and the exercise of statutory rights for the entire period required for board adjudication, a harm which cannot be remedied in due course by the board," the complaint states.

The NLRB is represented by John Giannopoulos, who filed the complaint on behalf of NLRB Region 28 Director Cornele Overstreet.

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