In a decision issued on January 14, 2014, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California granted a petition for a preliminary injunction filed by Joseph F. Frankl, Regional Director for Region 20 (San Francisco) of the National Labor Relations Board against Fairfield Imports, LLC d/b/a Fairfield Toyota, Momentum Autogroup, and Momentum Toyota of Fairfield, until the case now pending before an administrative law judge of the Board is finally decided by the Board. The Court ordered Fairfield Toyota to cease firing employees because of their union activities, unilaterally changing employees’ terms and conditions of employment without providing the Machinists’ Union with notice and an opportunity to bargain, and enforcing a unilaterally changed policy regarding scrap tire removal. The Court further ordered Fairfield Toyota to offer reinstatement to the open and active union supporter who was fired in May 2013, to rescind its unilaterally changed scrap tire policy at the union’s request, and to read the Court order to an assembled group of employees.
The Court found that the firing of the active and open union supporter had a chilling effect on other employees’ union support, and that Fairfield Toyota’s decision to change the technicians’ terms and conditions of employment without first giving the Union the opportunity to bargain would cause irreparable harm to the collective-bargaining process absent injunctive relief. The Court also found that the balance of hardships favored issuing the injunction because of the Regional Director’s strong showing of a likelihood of success on the merits and that irreparable harm was likely to result, and that the injunction would promote the public interest by preserving the Board’s ability to issue a meaningful remedy in due course.