Murray’s to contest NLRB ruling that backed union


The owners of Murray’s restaurant plan to contest a National Labor Relations Board ruling rather than accept a finding by the NLRB’s District 18 office that the restaurant illegally imposed a contract on workers and refused to bargain in good faith with UNITE HERE Local 17.

Murray’s will seek to overturn the ruling at a hearing before an administrative law judge of the NLRB scheduled for July 15, reported Nancy Goldman, Local 17 president.

The union has charged that Murray’s had engaged in unfair labor practices and refused to bargain in good faith (Labor Review, March 19, 2010).

In a May 28, 2010 ruling, the NLRB agreed and sought an order that Murray’s “make whole employees for any losses suffered” under the contract Murray’s imposed March 1. The contract cut wages 10 percent for all employees except servers, increased eligibility requirements for health insurance to impossible levels, reduced vacation benefits, and eliminated free meals and uniforms.

The NLRB’s six-page complaint cited Murray’s for several violations of the National Labor Relations Act.

The NLRB ruling found that Murray’s “has been failing and refusing to bargain collectively and in good faith…”

Murray’s imposed a contract, the NLRB said, “unilaterally and without having exhausted the collective-bargaining process and without having reached a bona fide impasse in negotiations.”

The NLRB also found that Murray’s “interfered with, restrained, and coerced employees” in the exercise of rights protected by the National Labor Relations Act.

The NLRB charged that Murray’s manager Jill Murray “threatened to engage in surveillance of employees’ protected concerted and union activities” and “engaged in and/or created the impression of surveillance” of protected union activities.

Following expiration of a two-year contract September 30, 2009, the UNITE HERE Local 17 unit at Murray’s twice voted to reject unsatisfactory contract offers.

Management responded by imposing the contract on the 37 workers, declaring an open shop, and announcing that workers’ paychecks no longer would automatically deduct union dues.

The NLRB’s May 28 ruling, signed by Region 18 director Marlin Osthus, affirmed that UNITE HERE Local 17 had not lost its status as “the designated exclusive collective bargaining representative” of the Murray’s  unit.

Murray’s, located at 26 S. 6th Street in downtown Minneapolis, has been a union house since the 1940s, through three generations of family ownership.

Many of the employees have worked there 10, 20, 30 years or more — thanks to union wages and benefits.

After Murray’s imposed the contract March 1, UNITE HERE Local 17 filed charges of unfair labor practices with the NLRB and urged the community to stop patronizing the business.

The NLRB will defend its case against Murray’s at the July 15 hearing, scheduled for 9:00 a.m. at the NLRB hearing room, 330 So. Second Ave., Suite 790, Minneapolis. The hearing is open to the public.

To view a complete copy of the
NLRB’s “Complaint and Notice of Hearing,” visit