Judge orders Nipomo landscaper to rehire employees, bargain with union
December 5, 2011
A U.S. District Court judge ordered a landscaping company in Nipomo to temporarily rehire two employees who were laid off after seeking to organize a union, filing complaints, and offering testimony to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), according to the NLRB website.
As part of the temporary injunction, Central District of California Judge R. Gary Klausner also ordered Jason Lopez’s Planet Earth “to bargain with the Laborers Pacific Southwest Regional Organizing Coalition, and refrain from threatening, interrogating or otherwise interfering with employees in response to their activity on behalf of the union.”
Several Planet Earth employees began a campaign to unionize their facility in January 2010 following Lopez’s repeated failure to pay employees on time, the NLRB website says.
In May 2010, the union filed a representation petition with Region 31. The union was voted in during a September 2010 election.
Immediately after the election, Lopez fired one of the employees promoting unionization. On the following Monday, Lopez laid-off the second employee, the NLRB website says.
The region investigated and issued a complaint alleging that Lopez “refused to bargain with the Union and laid-off, interrogated, threatened, promised benefits, and granted benefits in response to the Union organizing campaign,” according to the NLRB website
The federal order will remain in place until NLRB Administrative Law Judge Gerald Etchingham, who recently heard the case, comes to a decision.
The NLRB is an independent federal agency that protects the rights of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve their wages and working conditions.