Sprint Ordered to Rehire Workers at Closed Subsidiary

Sprint Corp. must rehire and pay back wages and benefits to employees of a telemarketing operation closed more than two years ago during a union organizing drive, the government says.

In a ruling last week, the National Labor Relations Board found Sprint and its San Francisco subsidiary intimidated pro-union employees and faked a letter to make it seem the office was being closed for business reasons.

Sprint filed an appeal Monday with the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., said Bill White, spokesman for the Kansas City, Mo.-based telecommunications company.

The Communications Workers of America, which tried to organize the shop, said 177 workers lost their jobs when La Conexion Familiar closed in July 1994, eight days before an organizing vote the union was expected to win. The subsidiary sold long-distance telephone service to Spanish-speaking people.


The labor board panel said Sprint had practiced “widespread misconduct, demonstrating a general disregard for the employees’ fundamental rights,” and it issued a broad order for the firm to cease and desist from illegal anti-union activity.

The ruling amended the decision of an administrative law judge who had found that despite widespread anti-union practices, Sprint appeared to have compelling reasons for closing the operation that were unrelated to the organizing drive.

White said the company was disappointed that the NLRB rejected the “well-reasoned ruling by its own administrative law judge.”