Freightliner LLC Reiterates Union-Neutral Policy In Announcing Potential Agreement with NLRB at High Point, N.C., Plant
HIGH POINT, N.C….In announcing a potential settlement with the National Labor Relations Board over allegations of unfair labor practices charges at the High Point, N.C., Thomas Built Buses plant, Freightliner LLC restated its neutral position on union representation.
“Freightliner LLC has a policy of remaining neutral on the subject of union representation,” said Scott Evitt, General Manager of Human Resources for Freightliner LLC. “At all of our manufacturing facilities, we respect the right of employees to decide whether they choose to be represented by a labor union.”
The charges and the pending agreement stem from the United Auto Workers’ successful organizing of the High Point plant in 2004 through a card check process. The potential agreement with the NLRB will primarily result in overturning the UAW’s exclusive representation status of production, maintenance, quality assurance and material handling employees at Thomas Built.
Under terms of the proposed agreement discussed last week, Freightliner will withdraw recognition of the UAW at the High Point bus plant. In addition, the company will not bargain with the UAW at High Point unless the union is certified through a traditional secret ballot election. The changes will take effect once all involved parties sign the agreement.
“The agreement would resolve the outstanding charges,” Evitt explained. “It would also bring an end to several months of collective bargaining between Thomas Built management and UAW representatives over terms of a first-time labor agreement.”
Following a card check process in March 2004, Freightliner LLC had recognized the UAW as the collective bargaining representative for High Point hourly-paid plant employees. A card check process is an alternative to the more traditional secret ballot election. The company and the UAW agreed upon the card check process in order to provide employees with an expeditious method for deciding whether or not to support the collective bargaining process at the facility, while limiting disruptions associated with a more lengthy campaign and secret ballot election.
The High Point card check process began on March 4, 2004. On March 18, 2004, the UAW notified Freightliner that a majority of workers at the plant had signed cards in support of union representation. The cards were submitted to a neutral third party and the results were confirmed on March 18. Since a majority status was proven to exist, Freightliner agreed to recognize the UAW as the exclusive representative for most hourly-paid employees at the High Point plant. Bargaining began on a first-time labor contract in August of 2004.
In April 2004, NLRB charges were filed against the company and the union by an employee and the National Right to Work Foundation.
In January 2005, a NLRB hearing was held in Winston-Salem, N.C., to review the charges.
During the week of February 21, 2005, a potential settlement agreement is reached with the National Labor Relations Board over allegations of unfair labor practices charges at the High Point.
The High Point bus manufacturing plant and facilities employ approximately 1,200 people in the production of Thomas Built buses. Thomas Built Buses, a subsidiary of Freightliner LLC, is the leading school bus manufacturer in North America.