(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) – The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union 118 based in Rochester, N.Y., achieved a significant victory for unionized labor with a settlement of more than $60,000 in damages following a long-running dispute with Palmer Food Company, Inc. The case involved numerous unfair labor charges filed with the Federal National Labor Relations Board in Buffalo that alleged a broad attempt to crush union activity at the company.
A protracted court battle was set to begin this October. NLRB Regional Director Paul A. Murphy was on record stating that “…the alleged unfair labor practices are serious and warrant expeditious treatment.”
“This settlement is a resounding victory for the labor movement, Local 118 and Palmer’s workers,” said Paul Markwitz, President of Local 118. “While we believe that Palmer’s exhibited a blatant disregard for the law and complete disrespect for its employees’ rights, we hope that this resolution will result in the union and the employer working together to make Palmer Food Company a better place for its workers.”
In early 2017, warehouse workers at Palmer Food Company campaigned to organize with Local 118. The employer reacted by moving to stop this activity in numerous ways and ultimately attempted to force the union from the workplace where the drivers had rightfully been recognized for years.
Local 118 filed charges against Palmer Food Company with the NLRB and, after a thorough investigation, the NLRB certified more than a dozen unfair labor practice charges against the company. Perhaps the most egregious of the charges were the unilateral withdrawal of recognition of the union, effectively ejecting the organization from the workplace, and the retaliatory firing of the union’s shop steward for aiding in the organizational effort. Additional charges included threats, coercion, spying on their workers, changing work rules to make being a union member impossible and further their anti-union agenda.
The settlement, which was reached on Oct. 16, means that Palmer Food Company will have to prominently post a notice in its workplace for 60 days notifying workers that it will no longer engage in the practices it was charged with and what they will do to correct their improper conduct, including recognizing the Teamsters, and entering into collective bargaining with the union immediately. The employer will have to also certify its compliance with the settlement to the NLRB. Notably, Palmer Food Company will also have to pay $60,000 in damages to the fired shop steward.
Local 118 represents approximately 4,300 Members throughout the greater Rochester area. Follow us on Facebook at Friends of Teamsters Local 118, on Twitter @Teamsters118 or visit www.teamsterslocal118.org.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters.