To the Board of Directors and Interim Management:
We are disappointed that the Board and Interim Management failed to fully respond to our letter, dated August 5, 2019. The Board’s response, dated August 9, 2019, merely confirms that the speculation about layoffs and restructuring is true.
It is important to note that, in making these decisions and moving forward with their implementation, the Board and Interim Management are violating the law and their fiduciary duties to the organization. Even if a collective bargaining agreement has not yet been finalized, employers with unionized staff must bargain over layoffs, including “multiple-motive layoff[s] based partially on labor costs.” Pan Am. Grain Co. v. N.L.R.B., 558 F.3d 22, 27 (1st Cir. 2009). Furthermore, employers may not lawfully terminate employees in retaliation for union activities. Id. at 25. In determining whether layoffs are unlawful, courts consider “suspicious” timing of the layoffs in relation to protected activities. Id. Employers that conduct unlawful terminations may be required to, at the very least, reinstate the affected employees and provide them with back pay. Id. at 29.
It is patently unlawful for any employer to engage in such behavior, but for an organization that has built its legacy on defending workers’ rights, this conduct is hypocritical and reprehensible. The Union is committed to taking action to combat such unlawful behavior and to vindicate the rights of the collective bargaining unit and its members.
Advancing Justice-LA Line Staff Collective Bargaining Unit