NLRB again takes on Florida theater over collective bargaining impasse

By Michael P. Tremoglie | Aug 2, 2012

TAMPA, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - The National Labor Relations Board has issued a second complaint for alleged violations of federal labor law against a Florida theater.

The theater was originally cited in September 2007 for failing to bargain "to impasse" with its union International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

The dispute between the Raymond F. KravisCenter for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach and the union dates back more than a decade. The theater was also accused of "unilaterally changing wages and conditions of employment, and by refusing to use the union's hiring hall in more than 700 productions staged since charges were filed in 2001," according to the NLRB announcement. The NLRB order was enforced by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2008.

NLRB attorneys also on Monday issued a "Compliance Specification" that calculates the company owes its employees about $2.6 million in back pay and benefit contributions, plus accrued interest to several hundred members of the stagehands' union who, it is alleged, were unlawfully denied employment.

The amount takes into consideration the amount that carpenters, electricians, and other skilled laborers would have earned had the theater abided by the collective bargaining agreement.

The agreement had expired and the parties were bargaining for a renewal when the theater declared negotiations had reached impasse, fired six union employees and declared it would hire a set of non-union core employees to perform work previously performed by union members, the NLRB says.

The NLRB ordered reinstatement to be offered to the fired workers and a return to bargaining for a new contract. Negotiations did resume, but the theater repeated the impasse declaration in the fall of 2010 and later imposed essentially the same conditions as before, the NLRB says.

The complaint alleges that the impasse was declared unlawfully and the employees unlawfully fired three. It also alleges the theater unlawfully insisted on employing a core crew of nonunion workers rather than using the hiring hall.

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