Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Still Unsettled -- and Unsettling

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Still Unsettled -- and Unsettling

Article excerpt

STRIKERS IN DETROIT DEALT A BLOW

Appeals court says the NLRB charge of unfair practice 'legally erroneous'

Just six days before this Thursday's fifth anni- versary of the night they walked off their jobs at the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News, hundreds of former strikers learned their best hope of returning to work with back pay had been dashed.

In a strongly worded opinion handed down Friday, a unanimous three- judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington reversed the National Labor Relation Board's (NLRB) 1998 order that the strike was caused by management's unfair labor practices. Had the NLRB order held, the jointly operated Free Press and News could have been forced to hire back between 250 and 600 strikers who have remained out of work since the unions unconditionally agreed to return to work.

Instead, the appeals court shredded the NLRB order, which it called "legally erroneous and unsupported by substantial evidence." A key argument made by the unions and supported by the NLRB was that the News had forced the strike by unilaterally imposing a merit pay system. …

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