Dura-Line Unlawfully Closed Kentucky Plant: Judge Orders Mexichem Subsidiary to Compensate, Reinstate and Reimburse Laid-Off Workers

More information, contact: Tony Montana – (412) 562-2592; tmontana@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that Administrative Law Judge Melissa M. Olivero of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in a decision this week blistered management of Dura-Line Corporation and its parent company, Mexichem, for unfair labor practices that culminated in the closing of a Middlesboro, Ky., production facility in late 2015, resulting in the unlawful layoff of about 90 union members.

In the June 20, 2017, decision, Olivero ruled that Dura-Line broke the law to discourage members of USW Local 14300-12 from participating in union activities by repeatedly threatening them with discharge, plant closure and physical violence and by requiring them to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Other management violations included unilaterally reducing the 2015 Thanksgiving bonus from $25 to $16 per person and destroying the personal property of a union member. Ultimately, Olivero found that the company illegally closed the Middlesboro plant and transferred production to non-union facilities in Tennessee, Georgia and Ohio in retaliation for workers engaging in union activities.

The decision includes orders for the company to restore production to Middlesboro and offer the laid-off USW members full reinstatement to their jobs or substantially equivalent positions if those jobs no longer exist. Olivero further directs Dura-Line to compensate the workers for lost earnings with interest and any tax liabilities incurred as a result of the backpay award. Finally, the order includes a provision for the company to reimburse individuals who were illegally laid off for search-for-work and interim work-related expenses with interest.

Although the NLRB process so far has taken almost two years, the USW will continue the fight to ensure that Dura-Line management is held accountable and fulfills the obligations outlined in this week’s decision.

The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in manufacturing, metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.

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