Argued: June 25, 2019
Petition for Review and Cross-Application for Enforcement of
an Order of the National Labor Relations Board; No.
Matthew M. O'Rourke, MILLER JOHNSON, Grand Rapids,
Michigan, for Petitioner/Cross-Respondent.
E. Burdick, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Washington, D.C.,
Matthew M. O'Rourke, Keith E. Eastland, MILLER JOHNSON,
Grand Rapids, Michigan, for Petitioner/Cross-Respondent.
E. Burdick, David A. Seid, David Habenstreit, NATIONAL LABOR
RELATIONS BOARD, Washington, D.C., for
Before: SUTTON, BUSH, and LARSEN, Circuit Judges.
SUTTON, Circuit Judge.
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.
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
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 ...