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Rotek in Aurora faces complaint from National Labor Relations Board

By Mike Lesko | Aurora advocate Published: January 15, 2014 4:00 AM
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The National Labor Relations Board's Region 8 issued a complaint against Rotek Inc., alleging the Aurora company's unfair labor practices have caused a prolonged labor dispute with United Steelworkers Local 8565.

The complaint was filed Jan. 7 by NLRB Region 8 Director Frederick Calatrello.

The NLRB set a hearing on its complaint against Rotek for March 10 in a hearing room of the NLRB on East 9th Street in Cleveland before an NLRB administrative judge.

In the complaint, Calatrello alleges Rotek violated federal labor laws by failing to bargain in good faith.

Kellie Harris, director of media and communications for ThyssenKrupp of North America, the parent firm of Rotek, disputed the complaint.

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"We are extremely disappointed and in complete disagreement with the complaint issued by the National Labor Relations Board. At every point in the negotiations, Rotek has bargained in good faith with USW Local 8565. We have asked for clarification from the NLRB regarding the reasoning behind this decision, since it runs contrary to previous rulings of this type."

The complaint alleges Rotek illegally engaged in surveillance of employees engaged in activity protected by federal labor law, and that Rotek allegedly illegally fired an employee for engaging in activity protected by federal labor law, doing so to discourage other employees from engaging in such activities.

"We feel we haven't been dealt with fairly," said Bill Hyslop, president of Local 8565. "They haven't given us the information to justify the type of cuts they're asking for. So this (complaint) affirms that what we say is going on is really going on.

"We believe there has been bad-faith bargaining on the part of Rotek," Hyslop said. "But we're still open to negotiate and trying to get a fair contract."

"We intend to answer the complaint and vigorously appeal it through the judicial process," Harris said.

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On Saturday, union members will reach the one-year mark of picketing in front of Rotek on S.R. 43. The last bargaining session was Dec. 13.

Harris said in May the union rejected a settlement offer, and Rotek began the process of hiring replacement workers if Rotek employees on the picket line did not return to their jobs.

Hyslop said the steelworkers union has filed numerous complaints in the last year with the NLRB, a neutral party, against Rotek. "The fact that the NLRB filed complaints against Rotek means it feels there are serious breaches," Hyslop said.

Harris said Rotek has "a responsibility to protect the long-term viability of our business. We are trying to protect all of our employees and move forward.

"We hope the union will end its year-long economic strike of our facility. We urge them to come back to the (bargaining) table, ready to help us finally resolve this issue."

Contact this reporter at 330-541-9400 ext. 4187 or mlesko@recordpub.com

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anonymous Jan 18, 2014 4:49 PM

If Rotek told the Union that the last offer was there best and final offer and the Union would not take it then the Union refused the contract. The business is then within their rights to replace the workers with someone that will accept the contract.  I do not know all the details in the contract, but labor is the most expensive part of business and labor often over estimates it worth.  If you are only willing to pay so much to have your car fixed and the mechanic won’t fix it for that price, you are well within your rights to get another mechanic.

devilcat37 Jan 15, 2014 4:54 PM

Its about time that truth comes out and everyone can see what's going on...rotek must think its still a game if they don't understand the ruling and want clarification, this is cut and dry...respond within time or you are in contempt...no extensions to draw it out any longer..

boom Jan 15, 2014 1:18 PM

When will the lies stop ? It amazes me that this company continues to lie. If they bargained in good faith like they insist they did, then the NLRB's investigation would have come to that conclusion. The settlement offer that Ms. Harris stated was offered in May, was as bad or worse than the initial contract that was illegally forced on these workers in the beginning of this lock-out. Then she stated that the company was to hire replacement workers if the workers didn't return to their jobs. What this meant for these workers was that they had to resign from the union and work with no contract, this in itself was another violation of labor laws. Even after ODJFS has declared this a lockout, and the NLRB has filed complaints against them, they still have the nerve to continue to lie to the media and still call this a strike. May God bless these locked-out workers with compensation for lost wages, and pain and suffering. As for the worker that was singled out and made a public spectacle, hopefully he has a good attorney and takes this company to the cleaners ! 

little_r_republican Jan 15, 2014 12:46 PM

Unions, especially government employee unions are nothing more than a money laundring scam for the democrats. The 'stimulus" mostly went to unions which in turn went directly to the democrats campaigns.

little_r_republican Jan 15, 2014 12:39 PM

the union bosses could care less. they live their life of luxury. What once was a noble cause has passed. Now it is the union bosses in league with big brother taking everything the working people have.

clamandy Jan 15, 2014 11:24 AM

Couldn't agree more with you 57.  They even took the roast beast.  Corporate greed is rampant; they resent your having to breathe "their" air while working for them.  They want your soul and every ounce of energy for nothing and then the govt will remove any nickels you may have left.  We're being robbed as employees, consumers, and citizens and as long as the Heads of Corporations and Government are getting richer this will continue.  But as more and more people have nothing left to lose, I'm hoping examples will be increasingly made of these thieves.

rareearth57 Jan 15, 2014 5:36 AM

Its about time. The company wants to cut their wages and benefits. They illegally locked them out and then lied and said they went on strike.

It is just another example of the corprorate America trying to squeeze the middle class and get richer.

This country was built on the premesis of life liberty and the persuit of happiness.

Those men can not be happy out in this weather trying to fight for their jobs and wages, and right now they sure do not have no life.

This company has not once bargained in good faith. How do you bargain in good faith when you lock your empolyees out and say this is the way it's going to be?

By the way I do not work there, just a concerned citizen, and another thing is the federal government should have stepped in long ago.

You can say Unions are whats wrong with this country, but you would be wrong. If people like Rockefeller, or Carnagie had their way every American would be living in a shack and working long hours with no benefits.

The unions wer born out of that tryanny just like America was born out of tryanny.

May God Bless America and those Rotek locked out workers, and any like them!!!