On Friday, January 21, 2022, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Charles J. Muhl issued a decision with findings and recommendations in favor of Operating Engineers 324, and Rieth-Riley employees, regarding the 2018 lockout and subsequent events. In 2018, Rieth-Riley Construction Company locked out their Heavy Equipment Operator members of Operating Engineers 324, in an effort to force the union to sign a multi-employer collective bargaining agreement written by the company. Employees were not paid during the lockout, and when they returned to work after its conclusion, also later had their pay docked. The ALJ decision recommends a backpay award for these employees likely to exceed $1.8 million dollars.
“Since Day One, we have remained steadfast that the 2018 lockout was unlawful and that the employees of Rieth-Riley had their rights violated, their livelihoods threatened, and their paychecks robbed,” said Operating Engineers 324 Business Manager Douglas Stockwell. “This decision affirms that our claims were right, and by recommending a backpay award to these employees of almost 2 million dollars in pay they are owed, starts to heal the damage that has been done.”
In the decision, the ALJ also found that Rieth-Riley did not bargain in “good-faith “with Operating Engineers 324 when it made unilateral changes in their employees’ terms and conditions of employment.
“This is a tremendous win for the employees of Rieth-Riley Construction,” said Operating Engineers 324 President Ken Dombrow. “With this decision, the ALJ has upheld these workers’ rights, and taken the steps to correct their mistreatment. We sincerely hope the message – that using your employees as pawns is unacceptable – is received loud and clear. And we hope we can move forward and resolve these issues once and for all”