Judge Grants Injunction Against Foster Farms

A federal judge in California ordered Foster Poultry Farms to recognize and bargain with the League of Independent Workers, an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists, on behalf of more than 2,000 workers at a poultry plant in Livingston, California., while the National Labor Relations Board resolves unfair labor practice charges against the employer

Judge Wanger of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California granted a petition for temporary injunction requested by NLRB Regional Director Alan B. Reichard under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act. In granting the petition, Wanger found reasonable cause to believe the employer committed the alleged unfair labor practice of withdrawing recognition from the league following its affiliation with IAM. He also found the possibility of irreparable harm to the union without the injunction.

The League of Independent Workers was certified as the representative for the workers in November 2004. Bargaining for a first contract began at the end of 2004, and negotiations reached impasse in early May 2005. On Sept. 11, 2005, the league conducted a secret ballot election, open to all employees in the bargaining unit, on whether to affiliate with the IAM. Of the roughly 2,000 eligible voters, 918 voted for the affiliation, while 21 voted against affiliation. On Sept. 30, the company withdrew recognition from the union, saying it did not recognize the affiliation.