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Federal judge orders Indiana concrete company to restore drivers' pay, recognize and bargain with their union

At the request of the National Labor Relations Board, a U.S. District Court Judge has ordered Irving Ready-Mix Inc. to recognize and bargain with the Teamsters union, which has represented company drivers since the 1970s. 

The temporary injunction granted by Judge Jon E. Deguilio in the Northern District of Indiana late Friday, January 28, also requires the company to restore overtime benefits and wages that had been unilaterally cut by nearly $3 per hour. The orders will remain in effect until the full NLRB administrative process in the case is complete. 

The latest contract between Irving Ready-Mix and the Chauffeurs, Teamsters & Helpers, Local Union No. 414, covering 23 drivers, expired at the end of May 2010. Negotiations for a new contract broke down and on June 1, the union called a strike. At that point, Irving announced it no longer recognized the union as the collective bargaining representative of the employees. 

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 to $18 and changed overtime calculations. It also continued to refuse to recognize the union. 

The union filed charges with the NLRB Regional Office in Indianapolis, Indiana, which issued a complaint in late August. Following a hearing, Administrative Law Judge Paul Bogas in December issued a decision and recommended order concluding that Irving violated the act by withdrawing recognition and changing terms of employment. The company has appealed this decision to the Board in Washington. 

In issuing the injunction Friday under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act, Judge Deguilio wrote, “The longer that Irving is able to avoid bargaining with the Union, the less likely the Union will be able to organize and represent Irving’s employees effectively if and when the Board orders Irving to commence bargaining.” 

The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency vested with the authority to safeguard employees’ rights to organize and to determine whether to have a union as their collective bargaining representative, and to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices committed by private sector employers and unions.

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