A U.S. District Court Judge has ordered a Chicago bus company to reinstate two drivers who were fired after signing cards in favor of a union election, and to stop questioning employees about their union activities, while a case involving the company moves through the NLRB process.
Judge John F. Grady issued the temporary injunction at the request of the NLRB on Wednesday, stating that “employees will suffer irreparable harm awaiting a ruling from the Board, which may take many months…”
Latino Express Inc. operates a bus service that transports students to public schools and offers charters to the general public. In the fall of 2010, drivers began discussing grievances with each other and contacted the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Several drivers were seen by managers leaving a restaurant with union organizers in December 2010. In the following days, many of the drivers at the restaurant were summoned to meetings with company managers and asked about union support, and two were fired.
The union prevailed in a subsequent secret ballot election.
After an investigation of charges filed by the fired drivers and the Teamsters union, the NLRB Regional Office in Chicago issued a complaint alleging numerous unfair labor practices. In July of 2011, NLRB Administrative Law Judge Michael A. Rosas found that Latino Express had violated the Act. The company has appealed the decision to the Board in Washington.
Region 13’s Supervisory Field Examiner Paul Prokop investigated the charge and Field Attorney Jeanette Schrand represented the Agency in the unfair labor practice hearing and in District Court, which was supervised by Deputy Regional Attorney Paul Hitterman.