The Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, Local 197 has alleged that Dulles Drywall Inc. illegally fired 47 employees who had been helping to build a Microsoft data center in Northern Virginia.
Bloomberg News reported that the Carpenters Union asserts that the workers were illegally fired for protesting. Microsoft was not named in the complaint. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filings indicate the complaint was originally filed on Feb. 13, with an “amended charge letter” filed as late as March 1.
Dulles Drywall terminated the workers because they mounted a work stoppage, pursued pay they were owed and tried to organize with the union, according to the Carpenters’ complaint as reported by Bloomberg. “The filing claims the company also illegally required personnel to sign agreements saying they were independent contractors, when they should in fact be classified as employees with labor protections,” the published report says.
The union is urging Microsoft to adopt tougher standards to ensure its staffing vendors respect workers’ organizing rights. “They should have rules to prevent this type of situation from happening,” fired employee Sandra Sandoval told Bloomberg. “For all the workers who work on their projects, whether they are Microsoft employees or not.”
“Regional NLRB officials will review the complaint,” Bloomberg reported. “If they find merit in the allegations and can’t reach a settlement, they’ll prosecute the case before an agency judge. Such a judge’s rulings can be appealed to NLRB members in Washington and from there to federal appeals court, a process that could drag on for years. The labor board can order fired workers reinstated with back pay, but lacks the authority to fine companies punitive damages for violating the law.”