The National Labor Relations Board trial over unfair labor practice allegations against Purple Communications’ Denver center never got started yesterday. At the urging of the administrative law judge presiding over the case, representatives of Purple, the Board and ASLIU entered into discussions to determine whether there was any possibility of settlement. Turns out there was. This in a case where everyone thought a negotiated settlement was a virtual impossibility.
The off-the-record discussions began with Purple and the Union finding there was hope to reach agreement on one minor portion of the multi-charge case. That slight progress led to more and by 5:00 p.m. an approved settlement agreement was signed by all parties. The Board attorneys were involved in all aspects of the negotiations as they were the party responsible for prosecuting the charges and the settlement had to meet NLRB standards and be approved by the Regional Director.
Once an official Board notice is finalized, details of the settlement will be posted for 60 days in the Denver center. The notice includes a statement of employee rights, including an affirmation that the company will not subject employees to “excessive monitoring,” discipline or firing because of membership or activity in the union.
While the company did not admit to violating the law, remedies were negotiated for virtually all of the charges. Final warnings were reduced to verbals that are to be sealed, along with another employees’ verbal warning, and considered inactive. A 7-day suspension was also reduced to a verbal warning, which will be considered inactive for all purposes. The lost pay for that employee is to be reimbursed. An employee who was denied participation in the Visiting VI program will have 13 hours PTO restored.
The agreement also acknowledges employees’ rights to place union materials off-camera in their workstation and to discuss investigatory meetings with other employees once an investigation is over.
ASLIU employees and representative attending the hearing were pleased with both the outcome and with the willingness of Purple’s corporate representative and attorney to tackle the tough issues in an open and constructive way. The Denver center manager was not present for the discussions.
In less dramatic fashion, a pre-trial settlement was also reached this week on unfair labor practice charges at the Purple center in Tempe. A Board notice will also be posted in that case. The charges concerned managements’ removal of union materials posted around the workplace and orders to employees to refrain from such displays. The Board posting will affirm employees’ rights to prominently post and display union-related materials in places like the break room, community events wall, outer walls of cubicles, and work-center table.