Region 13-Chicago Wins Injunction Ordering List Industries to Bargain, Reinstate Fired Union Supporters, Grant Union Access to Respond to Company Meetings about the Union, and Conduct a Notice Reading
On July 11, 2022, U.S. District Court Judge Philip P. Simon, of the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division granted Region 13’s petition for Section 10(j) injunctive relief against List Industries (“List”)—a distribution center for lockers, cabinets, and shelving in Munster, Indiana.
In granting the injunction, Judge Simon concluded that over the course of just a few weeks, List had engaged in a series of pervasive unfair labor practices that “dramatically shifted support away from the Union by cultivating a culture of fear” among its employees. Specifically, the Judge found that Region 13 established a reasonable likelihood of prevailing before the Board to prove that List unlawfully suspended and terminated the two lead union supporters and subjected employees to closer scrutiny by flying in a high-ranking official to continuously surveil employees from a make-shift desk on the production floor for weeks during the critical period before the election.
The Judge further concluded that the Region established that List had committed a variety of violations, including by creating an impression that it was surveilling employees’ organizing activity, threatening employees that organizing would be futile because List would do anything within its power to remain non-union and that employees would face termination if they organized, discriminately applying a previously unenforced prohibition on cell phones, and announcing pay raises linked to a rejection of the Union over several captive audience meetings.
Judge Simon’s order requires that List recognize and bargain with the Union as the employees’ representative. As Judge Simon observed, “The anti-union gong is hard to un-ring, particularly when bashed so aggressively” and that under the circumstances, a Gissel bargaining order “is necessary due to the abusive tactics at issue.”
Judge Simon also ordered the immediate reinstatement of the two terminated lead union supporters. The order further requires List to provide the Union with notice of, and equal time and access to, its facility to respond to any of its meetings with employees about union representation. In addition, it requires that List post copies of the Court’s order at its facility and grant access to the Region to monitor compliance of the posting requirement. List must also hold an employee meeting at which the order will be read by a List official in the presence of a Board Agent, and upon request by the union, provide a translated presentation of the order in Spanish and in other languages as necessary to ensure effective communication to employees.
“List’s egregious acts undoubtedly threatened to decimate employees’ rights to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing. Now, List must bargain in good faith per the Court’s Order and employees will have the meaningful chance to benefit from collective bargaining that they are guaranteed under the National Labor Relations Act,” said Region 13 Regional Director Angie Cowan Hamada. “The Region’s former Acting Regional Directors, supervisors, and staff brought about this important order by diligently investigating the charges, litigating the matter before an Administrative Law Judge, and pursuing this injunction. I commend them on their excellent work in obtaining such critical interim relief for workers.”
Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees, employers, and unions from unfair labor practices and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year. Region 13 serves areas in Illinois and Indiana from its Regional Office in Chicago.