- Church Homes Inc, a nursing home operator in Hartford, Conn, agreed to pay 133 current and former employees $2.55 million in back pay, interest and pension credits whom it illegally replaced during a 1999 strike. The company began secretly hiring replacement workers one month into the economic strike that began after it and SEIU failed to agree on a new bargaining contract. The National Labor Relations Board initially ruled in favor of the company in 2004, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the ruling. On remand the Board ruled that Church illegally failed to reinstate all the strikers.
- The National Labor Relations Board determined that a proposed bargaining unit of Sleepy’s Inc. sales employees at 32 stores in Connecticut was inappropriate for purposes of a representation election under the Board’s so-called community-of-interest standard. The Board found that employees at stores outside the unit proposed by the United Food and Commercial Workers perform the same work, use the same skills, and enjoy identical terms and conditions of employment as employees in the proposed unit, and therefore remanded the case to determine whether the unit should include additional Sleepy’s workers.
- A federal jury in San Francisco found former leaders of United Healthcare Workers-West owe the Service Employees International Union $1.5 million for breaching their fiduciary duties and violating union constitutions. The jury found that 16 defendants, including UHW president Sal Rosselli, breached their fiduciary duties and spent UHW and SEIU resources planning a disaffiliation from SEIU and the formation of a rival union after the SEIU International decided to put 65,000 home care workers into a separate local instead of keeping the workers in UHW. The individual defendants were liable for amounts ranging from $36,600 to $77,850.
- The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed a class action lawsuit against the state of Illinois, seeking to invalidate a state law and two executive orders allowing unionization of home-based health aides. The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Chicago, alleges that the law and executive orders violate approximately 20,000 providers’ First Amendment rights to free association, free speech, and to petition the government for redress of grievances. The suit also seeks injunctive relief on behalf of 4,000 home health aides associated with a home-based support program for mentally disabled adults administered by the state Department of Human Services. Those workers are not currently unionized, but have been the target of a representation drive by the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
- The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied a motion by the U.S. Airline Pilots Association for a preliminary injunction that would have required the appointment of a temporary trustee to take over the duties of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for U.S. Airways Inc.’s terminated pension plan. USAPA alleged that the PBGC had failed to conduct a “reasonable investigation” of the Plan’s financial affairs or take “any meaningful steps” to determine whether the former Plan trustees breached their fiduciary duties. It conceded, however, that any recovery would go to PBGC, not the Plan participants, since the PBGC assumed liability for the $510 million shortfall the Plan was facing when it was terminated.
- An NLRB administrative law judge ruled that a Rhode Island company that had purchased a camouflage cloth-printing business violated the National Labor Relations Act by creating a labor-management committee in lieu of recognizing and bargaining with the union that had represented the workers under the previous ownership. Bradford Printing and Finishing LLC conceded it was the successor employer, but argued it had a right to withdraw recognition because most of the workers signed a petition stating they no longer wanted union representation and the labor-management committee was not an employer-dominated labor union. The judge disagreed and recommended that the Board require the company to recognize and bargain with the New England Joint Board of UNITE HERE, which had previously represented the workers..
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