A U.S. District Court judge ordered a Frankfort-based gas hauling company owned by William McEnery to recognize and bargain with its union drivers, even though the original company shut down and moved operations to a non-union business, also owned by McEnery, according to a release by the National Labor Relations Board.
The case came as a result of A.D. Conner Inc. closing in October but transferring about half of its union-represented workers to Heidenreich Trucking Company, a non-union shop that used the same trucks and facilities as A.D. Conner did, the release stated.
When there were no negotiations with the union about the transfer or the closing, the union filed charges, and the National Labor Relations Board's Chicago office filed a complaint after an investigation, according to the release.
In his July 11 decision, Judge Robert M. Dow Jr. ordered the company to restore the union pay and benefits that the drivers lost in the transfer, pending final resolution of the case before the board, the report said.
“There is copious evidence from which the Board could conclude that (the owner) decided to shut down Conner in order to avoid the collective bargaining and other labor-related obligations that it had to Conner’s employees,” Dow said in his decision.
According to the release, McEnery and the manager of A.D. Conner told union representatives the company was in financial trouble, and the union needed to decertify and accept pay and benefit cuts. After the union agreed to this, A.D. Conner shut down. Along with its Frankfort facility, A.D. Conner also operated a facility in Porter, Ind., the report said.
This ruling comes as another blow to McEnery's corporate empire. Last year, McEnery's Frankfort-based Gas City company filed for bankruptcy, and in April, the business's service stations were auctioned off to pay back debts. McEnery also owned The Creamery, a chain of ice cream shops througout the Southland, which were auctioned off in May. The final sale of those outlets is still pending.