Crest Litho, 108 (1992)

Docket Number:03-CA-16376
 
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Crest Litho, Inc. and Graphic Communications International Union, Local 259-M, AFL-CIO.

Cases 3-CA-16376 and 3-CA-16528

July 31, 1992

DECISION AND ORDER

BY CHAIRMAN STEPHENS AND MEMBERS DEVANEY AND RAUDABAUGH

The question presented in this case is whether Crest Litho, Inc., the Respondent, violated Section 8(a)(5) and (1) of the Act by failing to abide by several provisions of its current collective-bargaining agreement with Graphic Communications International Union, Local 259-M, AFL-CIO, the Union.1 For the reasons set forth below, we find that the Respondent unlawfully failed to comply with contractual provisions regarding vacation, dues checkoff, and fringe benefit contributions. We further find that the Respondent unlawfully failed to comply with contractual requirements when laying off some unit employees, but that it lawfully laid off other employees in reliance on a reasonable good-faith interpretation of those requirements.

On the entire record in this case, the Board makes the following findings.

  1. JURISDICTION

    The Respondent is a New York State corporation with its principal office and place of business at 2550 Ninth Avenue, Watervliet, New York, where it has been engaged as a commercial printer providing lithography, offset, photoengraving, and related services. During the 12 months preceding the parties' execution of the stipulation of facts, the Respondent, in the course and conduct of operations at the Watervliet facility, derived gross revenues in excess of $50,000 from services provided to other employers directly engaged in interstate commerce. The parties have stipulated, and we find, that the Respondent is an employer

    engaged in commerce within the meaning of Section 2(6) and (7) of the Act. We also find that the Union is a labor organization within the meaning of Section 2(5) of the Act.

  2. THE UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES

    1. Facts

      At all times material, the Union has been the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit of certain of the Respondent's employees at the Watervliet facility. The parties have had a series of collective-bargaining agreements, the most recent of which is effective by its terms from January 3, 1991, until January 3, 1993. The current contract contains provisions for, inter alia, dues checkoff (art. 6), vacation pay (art. 14), payment of wages and interlocal pension deduction (article 31), and payments to employee benefit funds for educational training and retraining (art. 15), retirement (art. 49), and supplemental retirement and disability (art. 30).

      Article 11 of the contract governs unit employee layoffs. In relevant part, that article provides:

      Section 1. An employee may be laid off in the normal course of the operation of the business; employees may be discharged for just cause. When layoffs or discharges are to be made, the Company agrees to notify the Union in advance to give the Union representatives an opportunity to discuss the matter with the Company representatives.

      Section 2. The Company shall give regular employees one week's notice or pay in lieu thereof in the event of a permanent layoff. An employee must have completed one month of continuous service to be eligible.

      On May 24, 1991,2 the Respondent filed a petition under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of New York. On this date, the Respondent had little or no cash on hand after paying operating expenses. Its only source of income since the filing of the bankruptcy petition has been proceeds from accounts receivable. As of June 6, the Respondent had no cash or bank deposits.

      Manufacturer's Hanover Trust Company (MHTC) had a first security interest in all the Respondent's accounts receivable. CIT Group/-Equipment Financing, Inc. (CIT) had a second security interest in these assets. In order to meet payroll and other operating expenses, the Respondent had to obtain orders from the bankruptcy court with consents by the U.S. Trustee, counsel for the creditors' committee, and the attorney for MHTC and CIT. The first such order was dated

      1 Charging Party Graphic Communications International Union, Local 259-M, AFL-CIO filed unfair labor practice charges on June 11 and August 13, 1991. On August 30, 1991, the Regional Director for Region 3, acting on behalf of the General Counsel, issued an amended consolidated complaint alleging that Respondent Crest Litho, Inc. has violated Sec. 8(a)(5) and (1) of the National Labor Relations Act. On September 23, 1991, the Regional Director issued an order dismissing certain allegations of the amended consolidated complaint.

      On October 7, 1991, the General Counsel, the Respondent, and the Charging Party filed with the Board a stipulation of facts, with attachments, and moved to transfer this proceeding directly to the Board for findings of fact, conclusions of law, and a Decision and Order. On December 2, 1991, the Board issued an order granting the motion to transfer and approving the stipulation of facts. Thereafter, the General Counsel filed a memorandum brief in support of the amended complaint allegations.

      The National Labor Relations Board has delegated its authority in

      this matter to a three-member panel. 2 Subsequent dates are in 1991, unless otherwise stated.

      June 1. There has been a series of orders since that date.3 In each case, the Respondent's requests were reduced...

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