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US Teamsters celebrate groundbreaking victory

3 September, 2023IndustriALL US affiliate, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, is celebrating a critical victory as the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) orders Cemex to engage in negotiations with the union, setting a groundbreaking precedent for organizing in the US.

The NLRB's decision on 25 August mandates building materials company Cemex to either voluntarily recognize the union or ask the Board to hold a Teamsters’ recognition election. If, before or during a union election, the employer commits an unfair labour practice, such as illegally dismissing employees who support a union, the Board will require the employer to recognise the union and enter into negotiations immediately.

The ruling that has far-reaching implications as it asserts that any employer must now engage in collective bargaining with a union if labour law violations committed during a representation election undermine its credibility.

Sean M. O’Brien, Teamsters general president, lauded the decision as a pivotal moment for workers across the nation:

“This landmark decision by the NLRB will be a catalyst for workers who are standing up and demanding their worth – not just at Cemex, but at every other employer in the country.”

The NLRB's decision establishes a new framework for addressing labour law violations that obstruct the conduct of fair representation elections. The ruling paves the way for the issuance of bargaining orders in situations where an employer's actions hinder the ability to hold a legitimate election.

Chris Griswold, Teamsters international vice president at-large and president of Teamsters Joint Council 42, underscored the significance of the decision by highlighting Cemex's conduct during workers' previous attempts to organize. He likened the company's actions to those in a "tin-pot dictatorship," citing the company's termination, intimidation, and harassment of union supporters.

"If any good came out of this company’s scorched-earth thuggery, it’s that now employers will think twice before they break the law to break the union."

Says IndustriALL materials director Alex Ivanou:

“Together with Teamsters brothers and sisters, we celebrate this important victory, which supports organizing efforts of all unions in the US, as it protects workers’ rights to join a union and bargain through their chosen representative.

"This should trigger wider organizing campaigns in the US, as the decision sends a strong signal that unfair labour practices won’t be tolerated”

Photo credit: Teamsters