NLRB denies Corliss review of Teamsters-petitioned, dump driver-only unit

Sources: National Labor Relations Board; CP staff

In a 2–1 decision, the NLRB has rejected Corliss Resources’ request for review of a decision allowing an election for Teamsters Local 174 to represent the Sumner, Wash., aggregate and ready mixed producer’s 29 dump truck drivers.

In April, the Tukwila, Wash., local petitioned for a bargaining unit confined to dump truck drivers, who along with 45 mixer, tanker and yard vehicle peers are based at the company’s headquarters plant south of Seattle. NLRB Regional Director Ronald Hooks (Seattle) noted in a mid-June decision that Corliss Resources had not demonstrated a significant “community of interest” factor in the day-to-day functions of dump truck drivers and their counterparts. The community standard weighs heavily in the agency’s validation of unions’ petitioned-for bargaining units.

Hooks acknowledged Corliss’ documentation of dump, mixer, cement tanker and yard vehicle driver interchangeability, but determined that such action was a small percentage of overall hours. In its request for a review of the decision—subject to a 14-day agency deadline—the producer expanded on driver interchangeability and functional integration arguments. It cited a business model centered on hiring drivers who hold Class A Commercial Drivers Licenses and cross-training them to run dump, concrete mixer and cement tanker trucks.

Mixer and dump drivers operate under separate dispatchers, but a single fleet supervisor who likewise oversees safety protocol. Mixer drivers are used for dump duty when needed and vice versa, Corliss notes, adding that a typical “cross-department” assignment is eight hours, or one full shift, although drivers can be assigned different vehicle types in shorter increments. “This is an integral part of the Employer’s business,” counsel explains. “An employee can cross department lines and drive a different truck five or six consecutive days.”

The interchange that arises as drivers serve four ready mixed and aggregate operations, plus many job sites where the company is supplying concrete and aggregates “makes Corliss Resources efficient and profitable,” counsel contends. “The Union’s attempt to organize the dump truck drives only defies the very essence of the Employer’s business.”

Corliss counsel additionally appealed to the NLRB regarding problems a potential “fractured” bargaining unit might encounter, including work assignment, contract protections, discipline procedures and seniority accrual for dump truck drivers temporarily reassigned to mixer truck driving and other duties outside the bargaining unit.