NLRB finds Teamsters picket at Long Beach port terminal excessive

By Land Line staff | Monday, June 30, 2014

Drayage drivers who picketed a large motor carrier at the Port of Long Beach violated federal law, the National Labor Relations Board announced recently.
 
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has been battling Carson, Calif.-based Green Fleet Systems because of the classification of independent truck drivers. In mid-June, news reports highlighted multiple charges the NLRB was investigating intimidation and other behaviors the company allegedly used to undermine the unionization of its employees.
 
The NLRB’s finding against the Teamsters is the latest punch in the battle.
 
The labor board’s Region 21 office found the Teamsters picketing to be “excessive,” as defined by the NLRB Act, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported. Picketing with a goal of representing nonunion employees and exceeding a specific length of time may reportedly be classified as excessive.
 
“After months of providing evidence of union misconduct to the NLRB, we are pleased that the NLRB has announced action will be taken against unlawful recognitional picketing,” Thomas Lenz, Green Fleet Systems legal counsel said, according to the newspaper.
 
Barbara Maynard, a spokeswoman for the Justice for Port Drivers organization, told the Press-Telegram intimidation has been a two-way street throughout the labor dispute.
 
“While there are many open union supporters, many others support the union in silence out of fear that they will be retaliated against if they make their union support known,” Maynard told the newspaper, adding that the company had asked drivers to sign an anti-union petition. “Employees are petrified to make their true support for the union known.”
 
Green Fleet Systems has a major presence among drayage trucks at the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles and Savannah.
 
The company is alleged to have taken several actions to quell union organization among its drivers.
 
The Teamsters’ complaint alleges Green Fleet Systems terminated union activist employees Mateo Mares and Amilcar Cardona in retaliation for the employees’ union activities. The NLRB also alleges the company threatened to terminate employees for engaging in union activities, threatened to close down in the face of union activity and threatened legal action against employees who engaged in union actions.
 
Some employees were allegedly interrogated in a backroom in November 2013. In January 2014, the complaint says, employees were questioned about union “membership, activities and sympathies,” the complaint reads.
 
The complaint also says Green Fleet Systems coerced employees to sign anti-union petitions, encouraged and allowed non-union supporting employees to harass or assault pro-union employees and threatened “that union supporters deserve to die.”

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