For years, Valley Aggregate Transport, Inc. operated an aggregate hauling facility out of Yuba City, California. Shortly after Teamsters Local 137 (the Union) was certified as the bargaining representative for the company’s drivers, Commodity Trucking Acquisition, LLC, which does business as Dispatch Transportation (the Employer), assumed control and began operating the predecessor’s facility. Under the National Labor Relations Act, new owners, who hire a majority of employees previously employed by the former owner, are obligated to recognize and bargain with the existing union as a successor employer. The Union alleged in charges filed with the NLRB that the new owners failed to hire longtime employees in order to avoid that obligation.
The Employer made it clear that it was not interested in operating a unionized facility and hired only a few of the predecessor’s drivers. Thereafter, the Employer refused to recognize and bargain with the Union. After an investigation of a charge filed by the Union, NLRB Region 20 concluded that the Employer would have hired many more of the predecessor’s drivers but for its desire to avoid a bargaining obligation, and that its subsequent refusal to recognize and bargain with the Union was therefore unlawful.
After the Region issued a complaint, the Employer and the Union entered into a Board settlement. By the terms of that settlement, Dispatch Transportation will pay a total of $262,000.00 in backpay to the drivers. The Employer will also restore the predecessor’s policy of recalling and dispatching drivers by seniority. In addition to the settlement, the Employer and the Union mutually agreed to a three-year collective-bargaining agreement.