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Walcott excavating company ordered to reinstate two union employees
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Walcott excavating company ordered to reinstate two union employees

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Two workers will return to work at Walcott-based Needham Excavating almost two years after being illegally fired for supporting a union, according to a news release from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150.

An administrative judge from the National Labor Relations Board ordered Needham Excavating on Dec. 20 to reinstate the two employees. They will return to work on Jan. 11, and they will be escorted by a representative from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, the release states.

Needham fired Brett Gripp on June 10, 2019, and Adam VanOpDorp on July 8, 2019. The union filed federal labor charges against Needham on behalf of both employees in 2019.

Judge Sharon Levinson found that Needham violated the National Labor Relations Act by firing the two employees, and also by creating an impression of surveillance of employees' union activities, interrogating employees about union activities and other forms of union-based discrimination. 

The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150 is a labor union representing 23,000 working men and women in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. Local 150 represents workers in construction and related industries, including material production, concrete pumping, steel mill service, slag production, public works and others.

"Needham ignored these workers’ rights and stripped their livelihoods away from them. This happens around the country every day, and workers need to know that they have protection," Local 150 President James M. Sweeney said in the release. "We were proud to represent these two men, and we will be proud to walk them back into work on January 11th."

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