February 11, 2016
for Review and Cross-Application for Enforcement of a
Decision and Order of the National Labor Relations Board. No.
Bauer and Williams, Circuit Judges, and Adelman, District
Williams, Circuit Judge.
Kemlite Laboratories makes specialty lights, such as those on
airplane wings. Its employees in Illinois went on strike to
protest low wages. The National Labor Relations Board found
that Amglo unlawfully retaliated by transferring some work
from Illinois to a separate Amglo facility in Mexico. The
Board issued a remedial order. In this case, the Board asks
us to enforce its order and Amglo asks us to set it aside.
Because the order has a reasonable basis in law and is
supported by substantial evidence, we enforce it.
Strike and Response
September 19, 2011, Amglo's President, Izabella
Christian, visited Amglo's Illinois facility. Before her
visit, several employees had complained to her-and to the
Illinois plant manager, Anna Czajkowska-about low wages.
During the visit, a supervisor reminded Christian about the
employees' complaints, but she responded that Amglo would
not raise wages.
next morning, nearly all of the plant's 94 employees went
on strike. Christian and Czajkowska arrived shortly after the
strike began, told employees that Amglo would not raise
wages, and directed employees to return to work or go home.
The employees asked to speak to Amglo's owner, Jim
Hyland, but Christian responded that Hyland was not as
"pro-Polish" as he used to be. (Nearly all of the
employees were of Polish descent.) Czajkowska said:
"I'll tell you what he's going to say. He will
tell us to get rid of half of you. And you're not going
to do anything. You're not going to scare him. You're
not going to threaten him. You're going to lose."
Czajkowska held resignation forms in her hand and told
employees that if they did not like their wages, they could
quit. Christian discussed globalization and explained that
companies can move production to China and Mexico (two places
where Amglo had plants). The employees made a written demand
for guaranteed annual raises and for backpay since their last
raise. They got no response.
arrived at the plant at 5:00 a.m. the next morning and
continued striking. Two hours later, Christian and Czajkowska
arrived and ordered employees to return to work or get off
the company's property. Choosing the second option,
employees reassembled on public property and continued their
strike-but not for long. Over the next week, several
employees returned to work, with no raise.
September 27, all of the employees who remained on
strike-more than 50 people-signed an unconditional offer to
return to work without a raise. Christian said that she could
not give them a timeline for recalls, nor could she say how
many of them would be recalled, because Amglo was
transferring some work from Illinois to Mexico "because
of the situation." By September 30, Amglo had recalled
all but 22 employees. A month later, Amglo sent those 22
people a letter stating that, in part because of the transfer
of work to Mexico, there were no jobs available. The letter
informed the employees that, if a job opened up, they would
be recalled before any new employee was hired. As of February
2012, none of the 22 had been recalled.
National Labor Relations Board includes a General Counsel,
who is responsible for investigating and prosecuting unfair
labor practices. It also includes a "Board, " which
is a quasi-judicial body that decides such cases. The General
Counsel is independent of the Board. See generally
https://www.nlrb.gov/who-we-are. Here, after an
investigation, the General Counsel charged Amglo with unfair
Administrative Law Judge held a hearing and issued findings
and conclusions, which were appealed to the Board. The Board
concluded that Amglo engaged in unfair labor practices by:
(1) threatening to fire employees for striking, and (2)
transferring work from Illinois to Mexico in retaliation for
the strike. The Board ordered Amglo to avoid taking such
actions in the future, to return the transferred work to
Illinois, to offer full reinstatement to any employee who