NLRB rejects appeal from ex-lineman at Concordia Electric

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 20, 2000

JONESVILLE, La. — The Washington office of the National Labor Relations Board has rejected an appeal by an ex-Concordia Electric employee.

On Jan. 31, former lineman Dewayne Guice filed charges with the agency, claiming he was fired as retaliation for his involvement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. But an investigation showed that Concordia Electric fired Guice for work-related reason and did not violate the National Labor Relations Act, according to a Friday letter sent to IBEW representative Joe Pledger by NLRB Office of Appeals Director Yvonne Dixon.

&uot;The investigation disclosed that the employer had a good faith belief that Mr. Guice had engaged in various infractions on company time,&uot;&160;Dixon said.

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Billy Harris, Concordia Electric’s general manager, would not comment. Guice could not reached for comment.

In charges filed with the NLRB’s New Orleans office, Guice alleged that Harris asked him on Dec. 1 to &uot;get rid of the union,&uot;&160;and that Guice was fired on the same day the company signed a contract with the union.

Guice said he was fired over an &uot;alleged one-half hour discrepancy&uot; on his time sheet but that two other employees with similar discrepancies were only suspended for three days.

In April, the New Orleans office ruled the charges were not valid, prompting Guice to appeal to the Washington office. The charges followed several years of union-management problems at the cooperative.

In December, U.S. Magistrate Judge Lance Africk ordered the company to strike a deal with Local 788 as soon as possible — more than six years after workers first voted to start the union.

The company has said it is exempt from NLRB requirements because it is a public body, a view rejected by the NLRB and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

It has also argued that the union and the company agreed that union members would have to ratify an agreement before it would be executed, but Africk disagreed.