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NLRB Hits Electric Cooperative for Laying
Off Workers During Negotiations

September 9, 2010

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Members of Toledo of Local 245 at Hancock-Woods have not had a contract since February.

The National Labor Relations Board has ordered Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative to reinstate and pay a total of more than $77,500 to five workers who were illegally laid off out of the line of seniority in the midst of negotiations on a new contract between the rural electric co-op and Toledo, Ohio, Local 245.

In a July posting on www.ibew.org Local 245’s President Phil LaCourse detailed how, prior to the February expiration of its collective bargaining agreement, the union proposed to “roll the agreement for the first year and take a look at how the economy is doing next year.”

Instead, managers brought in a union-busting attorney and demanded steep takeaways.

“We’re very happy with the NLRB-backed settlement,” says Local 245 Business Manager Larry Tscherne. Returning the two most senior members of the bargaining unit to work and making settlements to the remaining three members he says, underscores the local’s commitment to seniority and fairness for its members.

In addition to reinstating the two members, the settlement calls for the cooperative to post notices in the workplace underscoring its commitment to bargain in good faith with the union, supply all necessary information requested by the union, stop direct dealing with employees, negotiate a layoff and recall procedure and negotiate over any proposal to use supervisors to perform bargaining unit work.

Now that members are back to work, Local 245’s leaders are hopeful that they can return to productive negotiations and settle the contract.