An administrative law judge from the National Labor Relations Board ordered Walcott-based Needham Excavating to reinstate two employees after illegal termination.

Needham permanently laid off Brett Gripp and terminated Adam VanOpDorp in 2019 for supporting a union. Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), supporting a union is federally protected. The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 filed federal labor charges against Needham on behalf of both employees in 2019.

In a December 20, 2021 decision, Judge Sharon Levinson Steckler found that Needham Excavating violated the NLRA by laying Gripp off permanently and discharging VanOpDorp. According to a press release from Local 150:

The judge also found that Needham violated the NLRA by discriminating against employees because of their involvement in proceedings before the NLRB, creating an impression of surveillance of employees’ union activities, coercively interrogating employees about union activities, threatening employees for engaging in union activities, discriminatorily restricting employees from discussing the union, and soliciting employee grievances or requests for improved working terms and conditions to discourage support for the union.”

International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150

“We agree with the judge’s conclusion that these workers were illegally fired for exercising their protected rights,” Local 150 President-Business Manager James M. Sweeney said. “Needham ignored these workers’ rights and stripped their livelihoods away from them. This happens around the country every day, and workers need to know that they have protection.” Both employees will return to work on January 11 and will be escorted back by a representative from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150. 

Click here to view the court documents.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 is a labor union representing 23,000 working men and women in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. Local 150 represents workers in construction and related industries, including material production, concrete pumping, steel mill service, slag production, public works and others.