NLRB upholds ‘successor bar doctrine’ in Mooresville union dispute

The Teamsters will continue to represent the workers at the US Brick operation in Mooresville after a split National Labor Relations Board denied a request for review of a decision and order that found the successor bar doctrine blocked a decertification vote.

However, one member of the NLRB’s three-member panel dissented, arguing the successor bar doctrine as applied under UGL-UNICCO Service Co., 357 NLRB 801 (2011) was interfering with the right of employees to refrain from joining a labor organization.

The union applauded the NLRB’s decision.

“Teamsters Local 135 is currently bargaining for a new contract for the Mooresville Brick Plant employees who have not received a raise since November 2020,” secretary-treasurer Jeffrey Combs said in a statement. “… Local 135 will continue to fight for a good Teamster contract for the employees including the pay increases that they deserve.”

A group of workers at the Mooresville plant tried to oust Teamsters Local 135 after the company was sold to US Brick in 2021. The NLRB regional director denied the election petition because under the successor bar, the challenge to the union’s status was prohibited for certain period of time after a successor employer takes over.

“The instant case falls squarely within the circumstances of the Board’s successor-bar doctrine,” Patricia Nachand, regional director, wrote in the February 2022 ruling. “… In order for this relationship to be given a fair chance to succeed, the Board maintains a conclusive presumption of majority support for 6 to 12 months, depending on the particular circumstances” as provided by UGL-UNICCO Service Co., 357 NLRB 801 (2011).

Two NLRB members declined to reconsider the regional director’s decision in the order issued May 5 in US Brick Holders, LLC and Kerry Atkins v. Teamsters Local Union No. 135, 25-RD-288080. The members, Gwynne Wilcox and David Prouty, asserted the petitioner did not raise any substantial issues warranting review.

The other member, John Ring, argued for granting review and wrote a brief explanation of his reasoning.

Ring stated he would overrule UGL-UNICCO, which gives a union representing employees under a successor employer a “conclusive presumption of majority support” for a period of at least six months. Instead, he advocated returning to MV Transportation, 337 NLRB 770 (2002), which found a union in a successorship situation is entitled only to a rebuttable presumption of continuing majority status.

“Accordingly, I would grant review and find that the petition should be processed,” Ring wrote.

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