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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) unanimously authorized its lawyers to seek an immediate injunction via federal court against Kellogg’s lockout of more than 220 Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union (BCTGM) members in Memphis.

The full five-member board took the vote April 4 after the NLRB general counsel issued an opinion a week earlier that the company had violated the National Labor Relations Act. According to a BCTGM release, the NLRB complaint stated that Kellogg’s “’threatened to lockout employees’ and ‘locked out all bargaining-unit employees… in support of its bargaining demands if the union did not ratify [Kellogg’s] last contract by October 22, 2013.’” The union noted that the company was insisting that Local 252G bargain on and modify changes to a contract already in effect.

In the BCTGM statement, the NLRB further asserted that the cereal maker “’interfere[d] with, restrain[ed], and coerce[d] employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Section 7 of the Act;’” “’discriminate[d] in regard to the hire or tenure or terms or conditions of employment of its employees,’ and ’fail[ed] and refuse[d] to bargain collectively and in good faith with the exclusive collective-bargaining representative of its employees.’”

BCTGM International President David Durkee stated, “The board’s action to seek injunctive relief magnifies the depth and severity of these violations and the callous human tragedy brought on by Kellogg’s illegally conceived and brutally implemented plan of action. The harm that those violations are causing Kellogg workers have been clearly recognized by the federal government, which is apparent in the NLRB five-member board unanimously seeking this injunctive relief.”

The BCTGM listed the trial date as May 5. The union also noted the rarity of such NLRB action, pointing out that of the tens of thousands of unfair labor practice charges filed last year, the board sough pre-trail injunctions in only 40 cases.

MTD Executive Board Member and BCTGM International Secretary-Treasurer Steve Bertelli updated the MTD on the Memphis situation when he spoke during the department’s board meeting in February. The board unanimously adopted a statement of support for the locked out union members.