Publisher Violated Labor Law, D.C. Circuit Rules

     (CN) – Tribune Publishing Co. violated the National Labor Relations Act by unilaterally pulling the plug on its direct-deposit system for collecting union dues, the D.C. Circuit ruled.

     The three-judge panel’s ruling upheld a finding by the National Labor Relations Board and denied Tribune Publishing’s petition for review.
     Judge Sentelle said the board’s decision “is supported by substantial evidence and is consistent with the law.”
     The company implemented direct deposit for union dues in May 2002, but pulled it after one pay period, saying its establishment “was a mistake.”
     The union filed a complaint with the labor board, charging Tribune Publishing with unfair labor practices. Tribune publishes a daily newspaper in Columbia, Mo.
     The board concluded that because direct deposit of payroll deductions became a new condition of employment, the company had to bargain with the Graphic Communications International Union before it could discontinue the system.
     “When the company discontinued dues checkoff, it unilaterally terminated the practice,” Sentelle wrote. “The practice could only be instituted again under a new agreement.”

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