Friday, February 1, 2013
The NLRB Office of General Counsel has found that a strike by union bus operators against a group of New York school bus companies does not violate the National Labor Relations Act because the union has a primary labor dispute with the employers.
In a charge filed with the NLRB Brooklyn office on January 16, the group of 20 bus companies alleged that a strike called by Local 1181-1061 of the Amalgamated Transit Union was unlawful because the union’s primary dispute was with the New York Department of Education, which contracts with the bus companies for service to area schools. The NLRA prohibits unions from striking secondary employers in order to pressure the employer with whom they have a dispute.
In an Advice Memorandum issued today, however, the Office of General Counsel found that the bus companies, which maintained collective bargaining agreements with the union for many years before they expired in December, are primary employers in the labor dispute, along with the Department of Education. “It is well established that more than one employer may be a primary employer” under the NLRA, the memo explained.
Accordingly, the Regional Office will dismiss the charge alleging an illegal secondary strike.
Good news for the striking drivers, although it's still not clear whether a resolution is in sight.