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Erickson Trucking Service, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

July 10, 2019

Erickson Trucking Service, Inc., Petitioner/Cross-Respondent,
v.
National Labor Relations Board, Respondent/Cross-Petitioner.

          Argued: June 25, 2019

          On Petition for Review and Cross-Application for Enforcement of an Order of the National Labor Relations Board; No. 07-CA-178824.

         ARGUED:

          Matthew M. O'Rourke, MILLER JOHNSON, Grand Rapids, Michigan, for Petitioner/Cross-Respondent.

          Ruth E. Burdick, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Washington, D.C., for Respondent/Cross-Petitioner.

         ON BRIEF:

          Matthew M. O'Rourke, Keith E. Eastland, MILLER JOHNSON, Grand Rapids, Michigan, for Petitioner/Cross-Respondent.

          Ruth E. Burdick, David A. Seid, David Habenstreit, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Washington, D.C., for Respondent/Cross-Petitioner.

          Before: SUTTON, BUSH, and LARSEN, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          SUTTON, Circuit Judge.

         What's down in the well, it's said, comes up in the bucket. The National Labor Relations Board concluded that Erickson Trucking Service, a unionized crane-rental company in western Michigan, unlawfully fired several employees due to a labor union's activities on their behalf. We agree, most notably because that's how the company explained the matter to the discharged workers.

         I.

         Erickson Trucking Service, founded in the 1920s and headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, offers cranes for rent. It owns 36 cranes, with lift capacities ranging from 18 to 900 tons. The company sends cranes and crane operators to construction sites across the country, renting its larger, more specialized cranes to projects as far away as Texas and Florida.

         Erickson Trucking has used union labor since 1923. It employs 20 members of Local 324, International Union of Operating Engineers, to operate forklifts and cranes. The company is the only unionized company of its kind in western Michigan. According to Steven Erickson, the owner and sole officer since the 1980s, that reality leads to "additional costs that . . . other contractors d[o] not have." J.A. at 146. The company has been "struggling" with declining demand for smaller cranes for a couple of decades, Erickson testified, partly because western Michigan "is being taken over by ...


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