NLRB dismisses Teamsters allegations against Toll

Labor Relations Board cites insufficient evidence to uphold allegation that Toll enacted policy targeting union sympathisers

NLRB dismisses Teamsters allegations against Toll
NLRB dismisses Teamsters allegations against Toll

By Brad Gardner | June 25, 2012

The US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has thrown out allegations Toll enacted a policy targeting truck drivers attempting to unionise.

Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon (pictured) penned a letter to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters last week citing insufficient evidence to pursue its claim that a 90-day limitation on recall rights to sacked Los Angeles truck drivers amounted to retaliation against union supporters.

Toll in October last year laid off a number of truck drivers due to a slowdown in work. In a letter to the affected workers, it said they would be eligible to be recalled for 90 days if work picked up again.

"In this regard, the evidence was deemed insufficient to establish that Union supporters were targeted in the Employer’s application of the policy," Solomon writes.

"In addition, the Employer presented evidence that the purpose of the language utilized by the Employer in letters to laid-off employees was to alert them to the potential for an abnormally steep loss in Employer business and an unusually long period of layoff."

Toll’s October letter blamed seasonal shipping cycles for a downturn in work and told its drivers the company did not expect business to improve in the short term.

"Consequently, as typically happens each year at this time, Toll must lay off a number of its drivers. Layoffs are determined based on seniority," the letter says.

The Teamsters claimed a 90-day recall was not typical practice, labelling it a "phony claim" implemented after drivers began unionising.

In his letter to the Teamsters, Solomon says the NLRB’s investigation "failed to establish that the application of the policy was motivated by employees' protected-concerted and/or Union activities".

"Accordingly, further proceedings are unwarranted," he says.

Toll’s US truck drivers earlier this year voted in favour of union representation. The company and the Teamsters are currently negotiating wages and conditions, but both parties have accused each other of stalling talks.

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