Two Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings (BS&J) attorneys achieved a big win for union members in an unfair labor practice trial before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
David O’Brien Suetholz and Pamela M. Newport successfully represented the Teamsters Local 89 in a claim against Smyrna Ready Mix (SRM) Concrete LLC. The claim was filed on behalf of employees who were terminated from the company’s Winchester, Kentucky facility. The initial charges were filed in November 2019, and the case was tried during the summer of 2020.
Administrative Law Judge Arthur Amchan ruled on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, that SRM Concrete violated the National Labor Relations Act by partially shuttering and making the Winchester facility an “on-demand plant” and terminating its drivers “due to employees’ known and suspected union sympathies.” Further violations included termination of additional employees, denying terminated employees future employment “solely on the basis of their known and suspected union sympathies without credible evidence of punishable misconduct or poor performance,” and requiring the drivers to sign a separation agreement in order to receive enhanced benefits.
Judge Amchan ordered SRM Concrete to resume full operation of the Winchester plant, rehire the terminated employees and provide back pay with interest. SRM Concrete was also ordered to provide additional compensation for search-for-work and interim employment expenses, and for any adverse tax consequences resulting from lump-sum back pay awards.
In addition, Region 9 of the NLRB instituted an action in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, seeking an injunction to force SRM Concrete to reopen.
“SRM Concrete’s flagrant attempts to stifle their employees’ voices for dignity and justice in the workplace were egregious violations of the National Labor Relations Act, and BS&J is proud to have been a part of this victory,” said Suetholz.