In 2012, 50 workers at Greenbrier Rail Services in Tucson, Ariz., filed for a representational election to join the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association Local 359, now the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART). In response, the company allegedly laid off one third of them, threatened to close its facility, threatened, interrogated and spied on employees while at the same time promising benefits to those who would vote to not unionize.
In a rare move, a U.S. District Judge in Arizona ordered the company yesterday to immediately reinstate its terminated employees, recognize and bargain in good faith with SMART as its employees’ collective bargaining representative, and restore operations at its facility to its original level.
This 1(j) injunction, and bargaining order, is a rare a remedy for egregious unfair labor practices by an employer. These are only used when a union has shown they had majority support and that the employer has destroyed the will of its employees with conduct so serious that it prevents a fair election from being held, such as a widely broadcast threat to close a plant or mass firings.
According to Local 359 Business Manager Dion Abril, “This is a great day for our local union as we never gave up on the workers and for the workers who never gave up on forming a union. It proves that there is justice and that workers do have the freedom to form a union of their own choosing without intimidation and threats from unscrupulous employers.”