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Teamsters lose unionization vote, allege tech shuttle company ‘bullied’ drivers

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Teamsters and drivers for Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation protest the shuttle company on Aug. 11, 2015, at the corner of Valencia and 24th streets. (Michael Ares/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Local Teamsters lost a recent vote to unionize Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation, a private bus company.

Now the Teamsters have filed a complaint alleging Bauer’s bullied its workers into voting down forming a union.

The National Labor Relations Board found merit to the accusations, and will now address them in a hearing set for Feb. 1.

Bauer’s did not respond to requests for comment.

Bauer’s is one major provider of so-called “tech shuttles” that ferry tech industry workers in their San Francisco-to-Silicon Valley commute. Bauer’s serves a number of local tech companies, including Cisco Systems and game maker Electronic Arts.

Teamsters successfully unionized two other providers of tech shuttles — Compass Transportation and Loop Transportation — last year.

According to documents filled to the labor board, 79 of Bauer’s shuttle drivers participated in the Sept. 30 vote to join the Teamsters Local 665 — 25 drivers were for unionization and 41 against.

The Teamsters allege Bauer’s repeatedly engaged in illegal activity to dissuade its members from voting to form a union.

In the complaint filed to the NLRB, the union alleges a “vocal anti-union [Bauer’s] employee and company supporter” assaulted another Bauer’s employee, Guillermo Vargas.

Teamsters also allege Bauer’s terminated employee Roy Flugence, a “vocal supporter” of the union, in September.

“Word of the suspension and termination of Flugence, recognized as a vocal union supporter, spread quickly among the bargaining unit employees,” the complaint reads.

On Dec. 31, Joseph Frankl, who heads the NLRB’s Region 20 offices, ordered both the Teamsters and Bauer’s to hash out their differences in a hearing set for Feb. 1.

In September 2015, the Teamsters alleged Bauer’s formed a “sham” union to shake off the Teamsters, an allegation the NLRB took seriously.

The labor board filed an injunction against Bauer’s, forcing Bauer’s to dissolve its company-started union.

“Such restraint is necessary now to prevent the irreparable harm likely to result from Respondent’s unlawful foisting upon its employees of a textbook, sham ‘company union,’” wrote local NLRB attorney Carmen Leon, in court filings at the time.

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