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

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

Bauer’s accused of forming ‘sham’ union

A local private bus company’s CEO set up a company-run union to thwart Teamsters’ efforts to build a legitimate workers’ union, according to recent court filings.

Now, a federal agency is moving to halt what it calls a “sham” union.

In a rare move, the National Labor Relations Board filed a petition for an injunction against Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation, requesting the U.S. District Court to step in and halt the practice.

Bauer’s runs commuter shuttles for Bay Area tech companies like Cisco Systems and Electronic Arts. The NLRB and Teamsters allege Bauer’s engaged in “intimidation” tactics, such as following employees and photographing them as they met with union organizers.

The Teamsters said they are trying to organize the tech shuttle drivers in efforts to garner higher wages and fair working practices.

The injunction was filed by the NLRB’s Region 20, headquartered in San Francisco. The filings express support for Teamsters Local 665 in seeking temporary relief from Bauer’s practices until matters are resolved at the NLRB.

That resolution is likely a year down the road, the NLRB argues, which is why it’s asking the court to halt Bauer’s alternative union in the short term.

“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, to the court.

The “sham” union in question is the Professional Commuter Drivers’ Union. In the filings, Leon wrote that a Bauer’s road supervisor, Clarence Murdock, with support from Bauer’s owner Gary Bauer, “prevailed on employees to sign a blank piece of paper — not disclosing that their signatures would be used to furnish a veneer of legitimacy” to the commuter drivers’ union.

The San Francisco Examiner was unable to reach Bauer’s for comment.

In a filing to the NLRB, Bauer’s attorneys provided few details.

“Respondents deny each and every allegation contained therein,” Bauer’s wrote in the filings more than a dozen times, without specifics.

“It’s been one thing after another,” said Rome Aloise, principal officer of Teamsters Local 853, of organizing Bauer’s drivers. He alleged Bauer’s alternative union won’t protect workers.

With Bauer’s union, he said, “Let’s say you get fired or disciplined improperly, who makes the decision? Your employer, [who is also] the head of the phony union.”

Labor attorneys the Examiner spoke with described requests for injunctions from the NLRB as extremely rare, though that may be changing. According to its website, the NLRB issued less than 60 requests a year since 2012.

“I’ve been around for a long long long time, and I haven’t seen this happen very often,” Aloise said.

The U.S. District Court may consider the injunction in October, according to filings.

Google busNational Labor Relations BoardTeamsterstech shuttlesunionization

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Giants second baseman Donovan Solano scores on a double in the seventh inning against the Dodgers at Oracle Park on July 29. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Will the Giants make the playoffs? Kris Bryant may be the answer

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner You’d be hard-pressed to find… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Fourth-grade students at Lucerne Valley Elementary School don masks and Western wear for a “Walk Through California” history day during in-person instruction. (Courtesy of Krystal Nelson)
Confusion over mask mandate for California schools sparks tension between districts and parents

By Diana Lambert EdSource Shifting rules around mask mandates at schools are… Continue reading

In his extensive filming of The City during the pandemic, Eric Goodfield said he has been “observing how the environment affects the behavior of people.” (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Filmmaker Eric Goodfield fixes lens on SF’s COVID days

140 days of shooting in The City made for ‘greatest adventure’

Most Read