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One Year Is Hardly a Swift Remedy
Written by Erin Johansson   
April 01, 2008
Even our best hopes for a more responsive labor law can fall short in combating egregious unionbusting.  A federal judge just granted the National Labor Relations Board’s request for a 10(j) injunction to reinstate workers fired by Frye Electric…more than one year after they were illegally fired for organizing.

An injunction can be used by the NLRB to quickly mitigate the chilling effect that firings have on organizing efforts by getting workers back on the job, pending an eventual Board decision.  Yet in this case, the process took over a year:

  • February 2007: The workers were fired.
  • May 2007: The NLRB issued a complaint.
  • July 2007: The NLRB filed for an injunction after an administrative law judge heard the case.
  • November 2007: A magistrate judge approved the injunction. The employer objected.
  • March 2008: A federal judge overruled the employer’s objections and ruled in the NLRB’s favor. 

It’s still crucial for the NLRB to pursue injunctions to mitigate the effects of firings, and the Employee Free Choice Act would mandate that the agency pursue this remedy during organizing and first contract campaigns.  Yet the Frye case reveals that even the best legal remedies far short, and underscores the need for greater public pressure to hold lawbreaking employers accountable.