Carpenters nail harassment strategy for nonunion rebar installers

Sources: National Labor Relations Board; CP staff

By Don Marsh

NLRB Administrative Law Judge Arthur Amchan has found that representatives of United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 2012, Seaford, Del., did not violate the National Labor Relations Act by entering a Rydal Park, Pa., job site, and video recording interrogations of a nonunion concrete contractor’s Hispanic employees.

Forcine Concrete & Construction Co. of Malvern, Pa., filed a charge of NLRA violation in July 2010, the month after Local 2012 representatives questioned its Spanish-speaking rebar crew members on their immigration status and work at the Presbyterian Inspired Living job site. NLRB General Counsel filed a complaint in January, alleging the Carpenters violated the Act during a sequence of events:

  • Sporting uniform white hard hats and business casual outfits, four Local 2012 members entered the Presbyterian Inspired site in early June 2010, targeting Hispanic crew members of Forcine Concrete, a subcontractor to general contractor Whiting-Turner Co.
  • One Spanish-speaking Carpenter questioned the workers as a fellow union member recorded interviews with a video camera.
  • The Carpenters members edited about 18 minutes of footage to a 4.5-minute YouTube production, adding a link to it from the Local 2012 Facebook page.

Judge Amchan notes that a DVD of the interrogations establishes that questioning was done in an intimidating manner and Local 2012 agents bullied the employees. “I find the union representatives restrained and coerced Forcine’s employees when they entered the jobsite and interrogated them about their immigration status and other matters,” he writes. “What is a more difficult question is whether the Union restrained and coerced these employees in the exercise of their [NLRA] rights … Although the union’s conduct may violate trespassing and other laws, I conclude that it does not violate the Act.”

His dismissal of the complaint is subject to NLRB Member review and Forcine Concrete motions. Shortly after the YouTube posting, F. Brian Forcine, president, noted in a statement that the company was voluntarily having all employees’ I-9 forms re-verified and adopting the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ e-verification service as hiring procedure.