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7/03/2005

NRLB Ruling Favors Workers Terminated For Union Activities

Source: Teamsters

In May, The National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) ruled in favor of six Boston pressmen who were terminated from their jobs at Graphic Services Inc. in Rockland, Massachusetts, for participating in union organizing activities. The workers, represented by GCC/IBT Local 3-N in Boston, were awarded a total of $163,320 in back pay and the option to return to work at the company.

‘This settlement is a victory for all workers who have the courage to improve their living standards by seeking union representation,” said Martin A. Callaghan, President of Local 3-N. “We hope this sends a clear message to any company tempted to punish workers for union activity.”

The six pressmen were terminated in March 2004, just days after attending a pro-union committee meeting with fellow pressmen and bindery workers at the company. They had reached out to GCC/IBT Local 3-N seeking help in gaining improvements in wages, health care, vacation time and seniority rights. They were also concerned about management style and lack of respect in their workplace. The terminated workers had been the most active of the company’s 80 employees in the union organizing efforts.

As soon as we started working seriously with Local 3, the company got rid of us,” said Robert Frizell, a key leader in the organizing effort. “This was a very busy and productive shop, with more than enough work for everyone. There was no logical reason to suddenly let six experienced workers go.”

Although the settlement requires the company to rehire the six workers, none of them are planning to take up the offer at this time. All six have found other employment in the fourteen months since the terminations occurred.

“We all had to find other jobs while we fought the company. The process took a pretty long time,” said Frizell. “But that doesn’t dampen our spirits toward the union at all. Local 3 members were there for us all the way. We couldn’t have asked for better representation throughout this whole mess.”

“The workers at Graphics Services were exercising their rights when they attended our meetings,” said Steve Sullivan, an organizer at Local 3-N. “Every employer should know that attempts to intimidate and retaliate against workers for participating in union activities is illegal and will not be tolerated.”

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