Judge orders concrete company to bargain with union

A federal judge has ordered Irving Ready-Mix Inc. to recognize and bargain with the Teamsters union, and to restore wages and overtime pay to workers that had been cut by nearly $3 an hour.

The temporary injunction, granted Jan. 28 in the Northern District of Indiana, will remain in effect until the full National Labor Relations Board administrative process in the case is complete. The NLRB requested the injunction.

The latest contract between Fort Wayne-based Irving Ready-Mix and the Chauffeurs, Teamsters & Helpers Local Union No. 414, which covers 23 drivers, expired at the end of May.

The union called for a strike after contract negotiations broke down on June 1. At that point, Irving announced it no longer recognized the union as the collective bargaining representative of the employees, according to an NLRB press release.

During the strike, five drivers quit the union, and in July the union offered an unconditional return to work. The company took back all the drivers but reduced their pay from $20.82 an hour to $18 an hour and changed overtime calculations, the release said. It also continued to refuse to recognize the union.

The union filed charges with the NLRB Regional Office in Indianapolis, which issued a complaint in late August. An administrative law judge in December issued an order concluding that Irving violated the law by withdrawing recognition of the union and changing terms of employment.

Irving has appealed the decision to the NLRB in Washington, D.C.

NLRB is a federal agency charged with safeguarding employees’ rights to organize, and with preventing and remedying unfair labor practices committed by private-sector employers and unions.

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