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Sawyer v. Noah's Ark Processors, LLC

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

November 1, 2019

PAULA S. SAWYER, Acting Regional Director of the Fourteenth Region of the National Labor Relations Board, for and on behalf of the NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner,
v.
NOAH'S ARK PROCESSORS, LLC d/b/a WR RESERVE, Respondent.

          ORDER

          JOHN M. GERRARD CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on further hearing pursuant to the Court's Memorandum and Order of Contempt (filing 36) entered October 17, 2019. As explained in that order, the Court found Noah's Ark to be in contempt of the Court's Memorandum and Order (filing 21) of May 10 awarding the Board injunctive relief. The issues for further hearing were the appropriate sanction and purge plan for Noah's Ark's contempt. See filing 36 at 15.

         Having heard from the parties and reviewed the record, the Court will order the following coercive contempt sanctions in order to ensure Noah's Ark's compliance with the Court's injunctive order:

1. A compliance fine of $10, 000 is imposed on Noah's Ark, in addition to a daily compliance fine of $500 for each day that Noah's Ark is in violation of the specific provisions of the Court's purge plan, set forth below. Those fines shall be calculated on a daily basis from the specific deadlines for compliance set forth below, and shall be separate and cumulative for each violation.
2. These compliance fines are suspended so long as Noah's Ark complies with the Court's purge plan.
3. Should Noah's Ark fail to materially comply with the purge plan, the Court will, on the Board's motion, rescind the suspension and impose the accrued compliance fines on Noah's Ark.
4. Compensatory damages for Noah's Ark's contempt will be awarded, in an amount to be determined on subsequent motion by the Board.[1] The Board shall file its motion on or before November 18, 2019. Noah's Ark may respond to the Board's motion on or before December 2, 2019.

         In order to purge itself of contempt and avoid the Court's compliance fines, Noah's Ark must comply with the following purge plan:

         1. Noah's Ask shall comply with all the terms of the Court's May 10, 2019 order (filing 21).

         2. On or before Wednesday, November 6, 2019, Noah's Ark shall at the Union's request immediately rescind all unilateral changes to the terms and conditions of employment for the bargaining unit employees that were implemented pursuant to Noah's Ark's January 2019 "Best and Final Proposal." That shall include permitting the Union access to the plant floor, employee cafeteria, and Union bulletin board that is not disruptive to plant operations, in accordance with past practice, and rescinding at the Union's request any other unlawful unilateral changes covered by the Court's May 10, 2019 order (filing 21), but shall not include revoking any wage increases.

         3. On or before Wednesday, November 6, 2019, Noah's Ark shall disband the "ad hoc" committee that employees were told they could bring their concerns to in lieu of the Union-specifically, the "employee committee" described in the Court's contempt order, filing 36 at 6, and found to be contemptuous anti-Union activity, filing 36 at 10-11.

         4. Noah's Ark shall bargain in good faith with the Union and shall send a representative with bargaining authority to negotiation sessions with the Union. Specifically, Noah's Ark may purge itself of contempt for its failure to bargain in good faith by taking the following steps:

a. On or before November 10, 2019, Noah's Ark shall provide the Union and the Acting Regional Director of Region 14 at least 4 dates during November 2019, 8 dates during December 2019, and 8 dates during January 2020 on which Noah's Ark's representatives are available to bargain for no less than 6 hours on each date, so that the parties can bargain for a minimum of 24 hours per calendar month, until the parties reach a complete collective-bargaining agreement or a good-faith impasse.
b. In the event that the parties have not reached a complete collective-bargaining agreement or good-faith impasse by the end of December 2019, then on or before January 10, 2020, Noah's Ark shall provide the Union and the Acting Regional Director of Region 14 with at least 8 dates during February 2020, 8 dates during March 2020, and 8 dates during April 2020, on which ...

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