Texas Wind Turbine Manufacturer Settles Unfair Labor Practice Charges After NLRB Authorizes Injunction
On April 24, 2019, GRI Texas Towers, Inc. f/k/a Gestamp Wind Steel US, Inc. (GRI), an Amarillo, Texas based wind turbine manufacturer, entered into a settlement agreement with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), after NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb received authorization to seek injunctive relief against GRI under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). On April 17, 2019, the Board had approved Robb’s request that he be authorized to file a Petition for a Temporary Injunction under Section 10(j) of the NLRA with the federal district court in Amarillo, Texas.
In the settlement agreement, GRI agreed to pay more than $135,000 in backpay, interest and expenses to ten employees who were either discharged or suspended during a union organizing campaign. GRI also agreed to reinstate eight workers and to recognize and bargain with the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union No. 404.
On March 3, 2017, a bargaining unit of approximately 215 GRI employees in Amarillo, Texas, voted to be represented by Local Union No. 404. In a series of unfair labor practice charges, filed prior to and following the election, the Union and its members alleged that GRI violated the NLRA by unlawfully terminating and suspending several employees, making threats, engaging in surveillance, assisting with a union decertification petition, engaging in surface bargaining and unlawfully withdrawing recognition from the Union. NLRB Region 16 (Fort Worth) Regional Director Timothy L. Watson issued a consolidated complaint concerning these allegations on January 29, 2019 and the hearing on the complaint opened on February 25, 2019 before NLRB Administrative Law Judge Sharon Levinson Steckler, but was recessed that same day and scheduled to resume on April 29, 2019.
During the recess period, NLRB General Counsel Robb requested authorization from the Board to seek Section 10(j) injunctive relief with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division. Within days of the Board’s April 17 Section 10(j) authorization, the parties entered into a settlement agreement, resolving all complaint allegations. Regional Director Watson approved the agreement on April 24, 2019.
Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employers and employees 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.