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Watch Out Unionbusters: There's a New Sheriff in Town
Written by Erin Johansson   
April 25, 2008

The American workplace is like the Wild West, where employers rampantly break the law to suppress union organizing without facing meaningful repercussions.  The National Labor Relations Board cannot assess fines against lawbreaking employers, and forcing employers to comply with its orders can involve years of petitioning federal courts—often to no avail.  But employers in Arizona may now be shaking in their boots, as it appears that Wyatt Earp has come to town.  Judge David G. Campbell of the U.S. District Court in Arizona just held a company owner in contempt of court [subscription required] for refusing to comply with an order to reinstate workers he fired for organizing, forcing him to surrender to U.S. Marshall custody.

David Bowers, the owner of an electric company in Arizona, was ordered by a circuit court in 2005 to reinstate four fired workers with backpay, after the Labor Board had ruled that the firings were illegal reprisals for the workers’ union activity.  According to an article in the BNA Daily Labor Report, the NLRB tried for years to get Bowers to comply with the order, but he refused.  After the NLRB approached the federal court with the case, Judge Campbell found Bowers in civil contempt of the court.  The NLRB Regional Director who had pursued Bowers told the BNA that federal judges rarely take such action in NLRB cases.  It’s about time someone brought some law and order to the workplace.