South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Workers Participating in Unfair Labor Practices Strike Must Be Reinstated
Description Appeals court held that an employer violated the rights of workers to choose a bargaining agent when the employer agreed to negotiate with a union not chosen by a majority of the workers. Since the strike that followed was an unfair labor practices strike, the workers had to be reinstated in their jobs when they wanted to return to work.
Topic Labor Law
Key Words Unfair Labor Practice; Strike; Reinstatement; Employer Interference
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Midwestern provides truck drivers to employers in various locations. Midwestern wanted its drivers to join a particular union, but a majority voted to join a different union. When Midwestern refused to recognize the union supported by a majority of workers, the workers went on strike. The union offered for the employees to return to work, but Midwestern refused to take the workers back. The NLRB ordered the workers reinstated. Midwestern appealed the NLRB order.

Affirmed. The employer interfered in the unionization process by negotiating with one union and recognizing it rather than the union voted for by a majority of the workers. That is an unfair labor practice that violated the workers’ right to choose a bargaining representative. Because the strike was an unfair labor practice strike, rather than an economic strike, the workers were entitled to immediate reinstatement with back pay once they unconditionally offered to return to work, whereas economic strikers may be permanently replaced.

Citation NLRB v. Midwestern Personnel Services, Inc., 322 F.3d 969 (7th Cir., 2003)

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