THE BOILERMAKERS HAVE finally reached a settlement in a six-year battle against Terex, a construction equipment manufacturer charged with committing unfair labor practices (ULPs) against employees who were trying to organize an assembly unit at its Grand Rapids, Minnesota, plant. Those practices included firing 13 employees who participated in a successful organizing campaign.
“It’s been a long road, but we finally won,” said Lee Kostal, one of the 13 fired employees. “That’s a good thing.”
Terex’ compliance with the settlement agreement comes after the National Labor Relations Board decision in January to uphold a ruling by an administrative law judge (appointed by the NLRB). That ruling required that the plant recognize the Boilermakers as the assembly unit’s sole and exclusive bargaining agent and to enter into contract negotiations with the union.
“Getting the union for the assembly guys was the important part,” said Mike Kossow, who also was among the fired employees.
The settlement agreement calls for Terex to make whole the 13 employees who lost their jobs, providing backpay and benefits and offering them full and immediate employment. Backpay and benefits owed to 12 of the employees totals $791,515.49. (One employee did not respond to communication from the Compliance Officer presiding over the settlement.)
Terex is also required to:
- Post notices of the ruling for 60 consecutive days in a conspicuous place in the Grand Rapids plant
- Post notices of the ruling electronically for 60 consecutive days
- Send notice of the ruling via email to all employees
The original violations occurred in 2014 as assembly unit employees were organizing to vote on Boilermaker union membership—something the plant’s paint department had successfully voted on just days earlier. In 2015, the judge found the Terex plant threatened pro-union assembly unit employees with plant closure, termination and unspecified retaliation; and engaged in coercive interrogation, among other egregious violations.
That same year, Terex filed exceptions to the ruling asking that many of the findings be reconsidered. Since then, legal arguments for both sides have continued.
In 2018, the NLRB affirmed the judge’s original ruling against Terex; and in 2019, the company requested that the affirmation be reconsidered. In December last year, the NLRB denied the company’s request to reconsider the judge’s original ruling.
“This settlement agreement and compliance is long overdue. The judge’s decision was affirmed multiple times, and it’s high time for Terex to finally step up to the plate and comply,” said Tyler Brown, Executive Director of the Boilermakers Industrial Sector Operations. “The NLRB’s reaffirmation of the administrative law judge’s ruling was a testament to the profound impact a union can have on workers’ rights.”