On June 28, the National Labor Relations Board found that Pennsylvania American Water violated the Act by threatening Utility Workers Union of America AFL-CIO (UWUA) Local 537 members with discipline for refusing to cross picket lines established by Local 537 members from other Pennsylvania American Water bargaining units.
Pennsylvania American Water Company (06-CA-037197, et al.; 359 NLRB No. 142), Pittsburgh, PA, June 28, 2013.
The Board found that the respondent violated Section 8(a)(1) by threatening employees in two bargaining units with discipline for their refusal to cross union picket lines at the respondent’s facilities. The picket lines were manned by employees from other bargaining units employed by the respondent and separately represented by the same union. The Board agreed that the provisions of the collective-bargaining agreements applicable to the two bargaining units, as well as the extrinsic evidence of practice under the agreements, established the parties’ intention to permit such sympathy strikes. The Board also found that the respondent violated Section 8(a)(1) by removing a letter from the union to the respondent that the union posted on bulletin boards in the respondent’s facilities. By contractual agreement and past practice, the union had the right to post materials on these bulletin boards. The Board agreed that the union’s letter merely disputed the respondent’s interpretation of its collective-bargaining agreements with the union, and it therefore did not lose the protection of the Act.
Charge filed by Utility Workers Union of America, System Local No. 537, AFL-CIO. Administrative Law Judge David I. Goldman issued his decision on May 17, 2012. Chairman Pearce and Members Griffin and Block participated.
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***PROFITS on the backs of customers and workers***
- Record Profits: During 2012, American Water boasted net profits of $358 million on total revenues of $2.9 billion. The Company’s profits increased nearly 16% over profits for 2011.
- Big Executive Paydays: American Water granted nearly $9.7 million in total pay during 2012 to only five top executives, including $3.8 million to CEO Jeffry Sterba.
- Rate Hikes for Consumers: American Water’s subsidiary Pennsylvania American Water is demanding an 11.4% rate hike from consumers across the state – on top of a 6.3% rate increase the company imposed on working families in November 2011.
- Cuts for Workers: American Water imposed painful healthcare cuts on workers in January 2011, including a 52% hike in employee premiums for family health insurance, steep increases in out-of-pocket expenses for medical care, and deep cuts in coverage levels. The company routinely demands the unlimited right to contract out workers’ jobs during local negotiations, destroying any semblance of job security for hourly employees.