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APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS REHIRING, BACKPAY OF EX-MONFORT WORKERS NOT HIRED FOR UNION ACTIVITY

 APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS REHIRING, BACKPAY OF EX-MONFORT WORKERS
 NOT HIRED FOR UNION ACTIVITY
 DENVER, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Monfort, Inc., discriminated in applying its hiring criteria in 1982 when the meatpacker reopened its Greeley, Colo., plant, closed in 1980 after a labor dispute, the U.S. Court of Appeals found in directing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to oversee reinstatement and backpay for an estimated 258 former union members employed at the plant.
 "What is especially significant about the appeals court's decision is that the judges limited Monfort's 'wiggle' room for further litigation and even more delay for these workers who've been seeking justice for a decade," said Phillip L. Immesote, a vice president of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union.
 Immesote, director of the union's manufacturing, food processing and packinghouse division, hailed the decision issued Monday as "proof of the UFCW's tenacity in its commitment to workers treated unfairly by their employer."
 The court found Monfort "failed to rebut the prima facie case" that it unlawfully discriminated against the former employees as a group and rejected statistical claims that similar percentages of former employees and new applicants were hired.
 "Monfort's application of its hiring criteria was far more rigorous for former-employee applicants than new applicants, and that in many cases, new applicants were not even subject to the hiring criteria because Monfort did not have the necessary information," the court said.
 Noting that Monfort conceded the NLRB's finding of a discriminatory motive behind its hiring, the court criticized the NLRB's proposed case-by-case review to determine if the former employees would meet the criteria if they had been applied in a non- discriminatory manner some 10 years ago.
 The UFCW had appealed the procedure as an unwarranted departure from the NLRB's traditional remedy of reinstatement and backpay in such cases. The court agreed with the UFCW that the board's approach was faulty and instructed the NLRB to enter a new remedial order consistent with the finding of discrimination.
 "It is time for Monfort to abandon its costly practice of delaying the inevitable through further appeals and to turn a new page in its labor relations policies by working quickly to get these workers back on the job with the backpay to which they are entitled," said Immesote.
 The court also ruled Monfort illegally fired James Little for union activity, and upheld the NLRB's "extraordinary remedy" for Monfort's unfair labor practices in a subsequent union representation election. The remedy includes providing the union with a list of current employees, allowing union representatives equal time whenever Monfort discussions unionization with employees, and union access to non-work areas of the plant.
 Under labor law, the back pay and interest to which the workers are entitled is offset by interim earnings. Union estimates place the total backpay award at a minimum of $30 million, not considering interest.
 -0- 4/30/92
 /CONTACT: Al Zack or Carol Clifford of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, 202-223-3111/ CO: United Food and Commercial Workers International Union; Monfort,
 Inc. ST: Colorado IN: SU:


MH-DC -- DC010 -- 4902 04/30/92 11:56 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 30, 1992
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