Addressing Employee Questions Regarding Their Employment Status & Notifying The Unemployment Agency

MITA has heard rumors that on or before 7:00 am on Tuesday, September 4, 2018, employees in the bargaining unit represented by OE 324 may approach their contractor employers asking about their status and/or claiming that they have been laid off.

If you receive such an inquiry, you should tell the worker that:

· The worker has been locked out as a part of a labor dispute with OE 324 effective Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 7:00 am

· The reason for the defensive lockout is because of OE 324’s coercive tactics to disrupt work for other MITA contractors and the strike action against Ajax Paving, Inc.

· The worker has not been laid off

· The lockout will end when OE 324 ratifies the MITA statewide road agreement that MITA sent to OE 324 on August 29, 2018

· There currently is no statewide road agreement entered into between MITA and OE 324

· Employees will receive their remaining pay on the company’s next regularly scheduled pay date

Since issuing the lockout notice, MITA has received reports that some OE 324 employees have quit or walked off their job sites while work was in progress, apparently initiating a strike. It is important to highlight some strict NLRB rules that will play into the situation.

· It is important to differentiate between striking employees, lockout employees and employees who quit.

· Striking employees and lockout employees remain employees of your company. They are not treated as former employees; they are current employees. It is an unfair labor practice to treat a striking employee or lockout employee as a former employee. When the lockout is over, all contractors hope and expect that the striking/lockout employees will return to work.

· Employees who actually quit their jobs are no longer employees.

Therefore, it is mandatory for each contractor to determine when an employee quits whether that employee is actually giving up their job, OR prior to the lockout, engaging in a strike.

The Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) requires notice of a labor dispute within five days of its initiation.

· Therefore, if you have employees who have initiated a strike either on August 30 or 31, you must notify the UIA that a labor dispute started within five days of that strike action.

· If there is no strike action until the lockout on September 4th, then the notice of labor dispute to the UIA must be filed within five days of September 4 (September 11). We recommend that you get the notice of labor dispute in as quickly as possible to avoid any concern about missing the five-day limit.

A sample notice form to the UIA regarding the labor dispute is attached here.

If you have any questions, please contact Mike Nystrom, Executive Vice President/Secretary, at, or at (517) 896-1493 or Glenn Bukoski, Vice President of Engineering Services, at at (517) 256-0741.