Narricot to appeal ruling in union flap

Published 8:19 am Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Narricot Industries will appeal a judge’s ruling, affirmed by the National Labor Relations Board, that the company violated federal labor laws when supervisors assisted employees with an effort to expel a union.

James Powell, an attorney with the Greensboro, N.C., law firm Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice, said the company would appeal the May 6, 2008, decision by Administrative Law Judge Margaret Brakebusch.

The National Labor Relations Board affirmed Brakebusch’s rulings on Jan. 30.

“When an employer engages in conduct designed to undermine support for the union, and to impermissibly assist a decertification effort, the decertification petition will be found tainted and will not provide the employer with a basis for withdrawing recognition (of the union),” the NLRB said in its decision.

Powell said Narricot would file legal briefs with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond on April 17. He declined to comment further.

Brakebusch ruled Narricot violated federal labor laws when the supervisors promised employees increased benefits and wages if they withdrew their bargaining representative, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Carpenters Industrial Council, Local 2316.

The judge also ruled the managers unlawfully solicited employees to sign a petition to oust the union, encouraged employees to withdraw their union membership and helped employees circulate a petition to oust the union. She found that after Sept. 29, 2007, Narricot refused to bargain with or recognize the union and unilaterally changed wages, 401(k) and health and welfare plans, holidays, and other conditions of its employees.

Narricot manufactures and dyes textile fabrics used to make vehicle seatbelts. The company’s factory in Boykins has been in operation since the early 1960s, and the union has been representing its production and maintenance employees since 1976. The union also represents employees at a satellite facility in Murfreesboro, N.C.