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Printing Co. Must Bargain With Union, Court Rules

(CN) - A Louisiana printing company violated labor law by firing unionized employees in the wake of Hurricane Rita and replacing them with nonunion workers without notifying or bargaining with the union, the 5th Circuit ruled.

When the mayor of Lake Charles issued a hurricane evacuation order, Port Printing Ad and Specialties closed down and laid off its workers. When it reopened a few weeks later, it hired nonunion employees without notifying or bargaining with The Lake Charles Printing and Graphics Union.

Port Printing admits that it failed to notify the union, but claims it didn't violate a bargaining agreement, because the union waived its right to bargain when the union president talked to company officials during the turnover and failed to initiate bargaining.

The New Orleans court ruled that it was impossible for the union to waive bargaining when the company failed to provide notice of the new hiring trend.

Port Printing violated "the company's well-established bargaining obligations," Judge James Dennis wrote. The appellate panel enforced the National Labor Relations Board's order requiring Port Printing to bargain with the union.

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