The National Labor Relations Board has affirmed a May 2017 decision and order determining that the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers, Local 229, San Diego, violated the National Labor Relations Act in activities tied to picketing a Temecula, Calif., construction site.
Administrative Law Judge Mary Miller Cracraft weighed Local 229 actions—along with tandem measures by International Union of Operating Engineers Local 12, Whittier, Calif.—directed at Western Concrete Pumping Inc. (WCP) through a peer in reinforcing steel and post-tensioning, Commercial Metals Co. or CMC Rebar. Western Concrete and CMC Rebar were subcontractors to McCarthy Building Companies Inc. on a four-story parking structure at the Pechanga Resort & Casino; each claimed a labor dispute with WCP over paying workers to area standards, but was not similarly engaged with CMC Rebar, an Iron Workers Master Labor Agreement signatory.
In support of its labor dispute with WCP, Operating Engineers Local 12 members began four months of picketing the Pechanga jobsite in August 2016, bearing “Not Paying Area Standard Wages – Western Pumping” signs. At picketing onset, an Iron Workers 229 business agent sent CMC employees a text containing a No Picket Lines symbol circled by “FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS CROSS.” The message encouraged the rebar crews to strike or refuse to perform Pechanga work in support of both locals’ labor dispute with WCP.
“Picketing or activity that induces or encourages the employees of a secondary employer to stop work, where an object is to compel that employer to cease doing business with the struck or primary employer” violates the NLRA, ALJ Cracraft explains in her decision and order. “Local 229 induced or encouraged employees of CMC, a neutral employer, to stop working with the objective of forcing CMC to cease doing business with the primary employer WCP,” she concludes.
COURT CLOCKS OVERTIME RULE
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has issued a permanent injunction of an Obama Administration-revised overtime pay rule, capping a preliminary injunction it issued late last year. The May 2016 rule attempted to change federal exemptions for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act by doubling the white-collar worker minimum salary level exemption from $23,660 to $47,475 annually.
It also called for the U.S. Department of Labor to a) increase the highly-compensated employee threshold from $100,000 to $134,004; b) update every three years the salary threshold for exemption (tied to the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the country’s lowest income region); c) amend the salary basis test to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level; and, d) maintain the “duties test” for executive, administrative and professional employees.
National Ready Mixed Concrete Association Government Affairs staff credits the court actions to pro-business interests with which the association is closely aligned, and calls the overtime rule invalidation “a huge win for the industry.” Staff is tracking a new rule—one more closely aligned with pro-business ideals—in the works at the Labor Department.
OVERTIME MATH FAILS TESTING FIRM
Louisiana Testing and Inspection Inc. has entered an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor Wage & Hour Division to resolve violations of Fair Labor Standards Act overtime and recordkeeping provisions. The Scott, La., concrete and soils specialist will pay $100,400 in back wages; an equal, additional amount in liquidated damages; plus $10,800 in civil penalties.
A Wage and Hour investigation revealed falsified payroll records purportedly reflecting payment of time-and-one-half workers’ regular wages for overtime hours. Investigators found that the employer paid employees for only two-thirds of the overtime hours, effectively resulting in straight-time rates for all overtime hours worked.