Union workers with an Upper Marlboro cleaning company scored a victory this week when a federal appeals court upheld findings by the National Labor Relations Board against Daycon Products.
The board had ruled that Daycon unlawfully implemented a contract that was not approved by the union and failed to reinstate workers who offered to return after they went on strike more than two years ago.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Tuesday found that the board’s findings against Daycon were “supported by substantial evidence in the record,” according to court documents. The court denied Daycon’s request for it to review the case and granted the labor board’s application for enforcement.
Daycon President John Poole and Mark Trapp, an attorney for the company who filed a response in federal court in April, could not be reached for comment Friday.
“We won every ounce,” Doug Webber, business agent for the union local, told the AFL-CIO’s Metro Washington Council’s newsletter.
Employees for Daycon went on strike in April 2010 following several months of negotiations over a new wage contract between representatives of the company and the Drivers, Chauffeurs and Helpers Local Union 639, which is affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Union contentions that Daycon executives did not give the union a response several days before workers went on strike were wrong, Trapp argued in court documents filed in April. The union “just didn’t like that response,” Trapp said.
Some 55 workers went on strike after Poole announced that Daycon was implementing a contract that gave hourly raises of only 60 cents or less, according to court documents filed by the labor board. After going on strike, Daycon hired replacement employees, subcontracted out work and refused to rehire striking workers who offered to return to work in July 2010, the board said.
The strike was motivated solely by economic reasons, not unfair labor practices, Trapp claimed in the April brief. Daycon possessed a “clear right” to subcontract bargaining work, he said.
In September 2011, the labor board, an independent federal agency formed in 1934, found that Daycon violated the federal labor relations act by implementing its own contract in April 2010; refusing to reinstate workers who offered to return; and by subcontracting work on repairing snow-throwing machines. The board order Daycon to reinstate all striking workers and reimburse them for losses, as well as resume contract negotiations.
Thomas Ratliff, president of Local 639, could not be reached for comment. Ratliff has said in published reports that Daycon owes workers more than $1 million in damages.
“We’re proud of our members, who hung in this fight for the long haul,” Ratliff told the union newsletter. “And we couldn’t have won this battle without the support of the Metro Washington Council, the Community Services Agency, and the entire local labor community, which came together to support this struggle.”
Daycon, which was founded in 1942, manufactures and distributes janitorial, maintenance and hardware supplies, and repairs floor cleaning and other industrial equipment. Besides its corporate headquarters in Upper Marlboro, Daycon has offices in Rockville, Lanham, Timonium, Alexandria, Va., and other cities.
The Teamsters union has represented Daycon’s drivers, warehouse employees, chemical compounders, utility employees and repairmen since 1973.