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After probing the nuts & bolts of ready mixed concrete dispatching, scheduling of pro-union drivers based on seniority, and front- versus rear-discharge

CP Staff

After probing the nuts & bolts of ready mixed concrete dispatching, scheduling of pro-union drivers based on seniority, and front- versus rear-discharge mixer truck operation, the National Labor Relations Board has resolved a protracted dispute over alleged unfair labor practices in Indianapolis. In a recent 27-page decision, the board ordered Spurlino Materials, LLC to compensate drivers for lost wages tied to work-scheduling violations and adhere to collective bargaining practices with Teamsters-affiliated Local 716 (Coal, Ice, Building Material, Supply Drivers, Riggers, Heavy Haulers, Warehousemen and Helpers), certified to represent drivers and batch operators.

Board members reviewed a series of briefs and exceptions Spurlino Materials and Local 716 counsel filed in response to an administrative law judge's December 2007 rulings on Labor Act violations. The rulings applied to a consolidated compliant alleging violations during 2006-07 at a) a portable batch plant built to supply the Lucas Oil Stadium, new home to the Indianapolis Colts NFL franchise; and, b) the Kentucky Ave. ready mixed plant in Indianapolis, one three sites Middletown, Ohio-based Spurlino Materials acquired from American Concrete in 2005.

The NLRB found in particular that three drivers, each members of a Local 716-backed bargaining committee formed shortly after the American Concrete assets changed hands, had been subjected to discriminatory scheduling practices on the Lucas Oil project prior to deployment of a portable batch plant. That resulted in their making fewer deliveries from the Kentucky Ave. plant to the downtown stadium site, where a project labor agreement bound concrete suppliers to wage rates above those Spurlino Materials set for normal deliveries.

Additional Board-cited unfair practices concerned the portable plant, which the producer built adjacent to the stadium site about five months into construction. The NLRB questioned a failure to follow bargaining protocol in staffing of the facility, along with the use of a qualification test in which drivers accustomed to operating front discharge trucks Û the prevailing vehicle type throughout Indiana's concrete fleet Û were required to demonstrate their skills with rear discharge models.

Beyond the Lucas Oil Stadium project, the NLRB cited Labor Act violations tied to Spurlino Materials' use of a subcontractor for deliveries to a 16,000-yd. Indianapolis warehouse project in early 2007.