ATLANTA -- The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled it was well within the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to overrule objections of Transit Connection, Inc. (TCI) and declare that a vote by the company’s bus drivers to allow union representation was valid. 

The ruling came in response to a petition for review filed by the bus company. “For the reasons stated below, we deny TCI’s petition for review and grant the NLRB’s application for enforcement of its order,” Judge Harvey Bartle III ruled. 

The NLRB previously had found that TCI had engaged in unfair labor practices when it refused to bargain with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1548 (Union), which the NLRB had certified to serve as the representative for TCI bus drivers. However, TCI refused to recognize the union and did everything it could to prevent an election by the bus drivers to organize the union.

TCI was ordered by the NLRB to stop refusing to recognize the union and interfering with the drivers’ rights to representation. In preparing for an election among the bus drivers to decide whether they would organize and join the union, TCI was required to provide the union with employee address information. TCI did not fully cooperate in this effort in that the addresses they provided were not up-to-date and some were not valid. 

Concerning an election held in March 2015, the NLRB found that 46 percent of the residential addresses TCI provided were inaccurate or incomplete, and 18 out of 39 envelopes were returned as undeliverable. In response, the NLRB ordered another election. TCI admitted it had P.O. box addresses for 60 to 70 percent of the bus drivers, yet failed to provide this information to the union.

A second election was held in September 2015, and a majority of bus drivers voted to have the union represent them in negotiating with TCI. However, TCI protested the results of this election, saying some of the bus drivers had been threatened if they did not vote to accept the union. Two of the bus drivers had jokingly told another that they would kill him if he didn’t vote for the union. 

The hearing was presided over by the Bartle III, U.S. districtjJudge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, sitting by designation.

In explaining this action, Bartle said, “All the events in question occurred on Martha’s Vineyard, far from the 11th Circuit. Nonetheless, we have jurisdiction over this appeal because TCI, although a Massachusetts corporation, also conducts business in the state of Florida. Under the NLRA, appellate jurisdiction over an order of the NLRB extends to any U.S. court of appeals in the circuit wherein the aggrieved person resides or transacts business.”

In summary, Bartle wrote, “It was within the NLRB’s discretion to conclude that the address list TCI provided ahead of the March election did not comply with the rules. And it was likewise within the NLRB’s discretion to determine the September election was not tainted by voter intimidation. We have no grounds to overturn the NLRB’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of the certification of the union to represent the bus drivers of TCI on Martha’s Vineyard.”

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