[PR] Certified Building Services, Inc. Agrees to Pay Nearly $20,000 in Back Pay, Lost Benefits, and Union Organizing Costs

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For Immediate Release | May 1, 2017

Contact: Ray Lee | 202-207-5787

(Gaithersburg, Md.) – The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has approved a settlement agreement between Certified Building Services, Inc., (“CBS” or the “Employer” – a janitorial services company under contract with Montgomery County, Maryland,) and UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO over CBS’s violations of the National Labor Relations Act during an organizing campaign.

Under the agreement, three former employees of CBS will receive over $16,000.00 as compensation for back pay and other benefits they lost when CBS unlawfully discharged them for engaging in protected union activity. CBS must also compensate MCGEO nearly $3,000 for its expenses incurred during the campaign to organize employees working under the contract with Montgomery County.

The NLRB’s Region 5 Office in Baltimore issued a complaint in the matter on March 10, 2017, alleging that CBS violated the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”) by engaging in a number of severe unfair labor practices resulting in workers being terminated and threatened with deportation in response to a MCGEO organizing campaign. To avoid defending the complaint at a hearing, CBS agreed, among other things, that they would NOT:

(i) interrogate employees about their union activities;

(ii) create an impression among its employees that their union activities are under surveillance;

(iii) coerce employees by telling them not to communicate with MCGEO representatives;

(iv) coerce employees by telling them not to communicate with each other about improving their working conditions;

(v) threaten employees with reducing their pay if the employees selected the MCGEO as their bargaining representative.

To remedy the unfair labor practices:

  • CBS must allow representatives from the NLRB to access its facilities to train its supervisors and managers on employee rights under the Act. The NLRB will create the content of the training. The content of the supervisor training will be tailored to the egregious unfair labor practices enumerated in the complaint (i.e., interfering with communication with the Union, surveillance, intimidation, interrogation, threats of termination, threats of deportation). The training session will last approximately one hour.
  • The Board has ordered CBS to hold a meeting at its facility and a CBS management official must read aloud the Notice of violations and remedies. The CBS management official’s reading of the notice must be done on working time (“i.e., employees will receive their normal hourly compensation) and it must also be read in the presence of an NLRB agent.
  • CBS must allow representatives from the NLRB to conduct a training session for all employees. Topics to be covered at the training session will cover the employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act including, but not limited to, the right to form, join, or assist a union; the right to choose a union to bargain on behalf of employees; and the right to act together with other employees for their mutual benefit and protection. A CBS management official must be present while the NLRB representative conducts the training. During this training, employees will receive their normal hourly compensation and CBS will pay any costs associated with the training that the employees would not normally incur.
  • CBS will have to post an official “Notice” of violations and remedies where other employment notices are customarily posted. Among other things, the Notice (1) informs employees of their right under the NLRA to unionize and/or engage in other “protected concerted activity” unrelated to union organizing, (2) lists examples of unlawful employer conduct, (3) provides information for employees on filing charges against an employer, and (4) offers contact information for the NLRB. There are penalties for any noncompliance on behalf of CBS.

These are tough and extraordinary remedies which the NLRB only imposes for severe labor law violations. This case also represents an alarming trend whereby the Montgomery County government loses taxpayer dollars to unscrupulous contractors.

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Local 1994 represents 9,000 public employees in Montgomery County and beyond. From its inception, UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO has fought to protect workers’ rights, negotiate fair wages and protect safety and security of workers.

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