HR Morning Podcast Report: Workers fired after union organizing: Cannabis dispensary to pay $145K

Earlier this year, we predicted that litigation focusing on labor and management relations would be an evolving area of employment law to watch in 2023.

And the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has not disappointed.

From targeting overbroad non-compete agreements to adopting a new standard for assessing the “lawfulness” of work rules, the NLRB stayed busy this past summer.

And it hasn’t slowed down. In this recent example, the NLRB ordered an expedited trial in a case about union organizing.

Union organizing ends in termination

In the spring of 2023, several Shangri-La employees attempted to organize and form a union.

Over the summer, employees voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 655 and seek a union contract.

During the campaign, several employees were allegedly:

  • Harassed by management
  • Threatened with suspension and/or termination, and
  • Terminated.

The union filed labor board charges and brought the case to the NLRB.

In the NLRB’s view, the alleged conduct violated labor law by fighting employees’ efforts to form a union. It ordered an expedited trial, according to UFCW Local 655 President David Cook. 

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) forbids employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees who exercise their right to organize, form or join a labor organization.

Attempting to reach an eleventh-hour settlement, the employer offered to reinstate the workers and provide back pay. Five accepted reinstatement and the other five who declined the job offer received an additional $5,000 payment on top of the back pay.

All told, the employer paid out $145,000 to settle the case. Under the settlement, the employer must:

  • Allow employees to discuss union organizing on company property.
  • Not remove union organizers from the facility.
  • Rescind portions of its handbook and nondisclosure agreement.
  • Read a remedial notice to employees.
  • Email the remedial notice to all current employees.
  • Attend an NLRB-conducted training for managers and supervisors on employee rights under the NLRA.

Info: Region 14-St. Louis Approves Settlement of More than $145K for Unlawfully Terminated Employees, an Agreement by the Employer to Recognize and Bargain with the Union Under Cemex, and Training for Managers and Supervisors, 11/6/23.


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