JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Teamsters union is suing two Jacksonville railroad companies for imposing what they consider unlawful layoffs and hiring freezes in retaliation for workers voting to join the union.
In the lawsuit filed in Jacksonville federal court, members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees claim Genesee & Wyoming Inc. and Railroad Engineering Services LLC “have unlawfully taken reprisal against employees and have interfered with their right to organize and bargain collectively.”
Specifically, the Brotherhood, a branch of the Teamsters, argues that the companies are violating the Railway Labor Act, which is nearly a century old, and are asking U.S. District Judge Brian Davis to block the companies for interfering with an employee’s right to unionize.
In addition, union members scheduled a picket Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. outside the companies’ offices on Sutton Park Drive South.
Genesee & Wyoming is known for operating 115 short lines across the United States and around the world. Jacksonville acts as the company’s operations headquarters. Railroad Engineering Services is a spinoff company of Genesee & Wyoming.
Federal law prohibits employers from interfering with decisions to unionize. The Brotherhood contends that the companies began pressuring employees to not join the union by extending layoffs and freezing hiring shortly after the Brotherhood voted to join the Teamsters union in April.
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