Illinois Car Dealership’s Lawful Request to Address Pay Disparity Violated NLRA

During a union organizing drive, a company employee asked the human resource director of Liberty Toyota if low-paid technicians could see the changes in the company’s pay plan without selecting a union. The HR director responded, “I think it’s absolutely possible,” and asked for the opportunity to address pay issues “before you pay [a union] to address them.” The company’s vice president said that the company “would be willing to consider pay adjustments for employees who had not been given competitive rates of pay.”

According to the National Labor Relations Board, these comments were promises of raises and “directly linked the remedying of employees’ grievances with the employees’ rejection of union representation.” Such action interfered with employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act. A lone dissenting Board Member found importance in the employer’s phrase wanting a chance to address the wage issue. According to him, wanting a chance is not the same as promising, and he would not have found the company to have violated the Act. Unfortunately, he was out-voted.