Teamsters Acting Like a Company Over Back Pay Fight

I always chuckle when a union’s behavior mirrors behavior unions condemn about companies. For example, when unions try to stop their own employees from organizing or joining a union. Or when union officials live a luxurious lifestyle. The same goes for openly pro-union National Labor Relations Board Regional Directors. I had a good conversation with one several years ago who was on the NLRB’s bargaining committee for negotiating a successor collective bargaining agreement against the NLRB employees’ union. His stories of how he didn’t like “taking management’s side” still make me laugh.

Here, the Teamsters operated a union hiring hall. But the Teamsters unlawfully refused to refer a specific employee for work opportunities. The NLRB ordered the Teamsters to pay the employee back pay for 3½ years which amounted to time the Teamsters did not refer him to jobs.

Instead of paying, the Teamsters fought back. The union alleged the back pay award should be substantially reduced because the employee allegedly did not mitigate his damages. The Teamsters even commissioned a report to show the employee did not avail herself of other work opportunities available in the area. The NLRB rejected the report because it lacked details about whether the available jobs were actually comparable to the ones she should have worked through the Teamsters.

What I find amusing is that the Teamsters – who never forget to argue for the fullest remedies allowed by law – probably spent more than the 3½ years back pay fighting the employee on this case.  

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers throughout the U.S.A. dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at