Press Release: NLRB Orders Sunbelt to Restore Franksville Facility

Terrance E. McGowan
President/Business Manager
General Vice President

May 19, 2020

National Labor Relations Board Orders
Sunbelt to Restore Franksville Facility

PEWAUKEE, WI – Sunbelt Rentals, Inc., has been ordered to restore its Franksville, Wisconsin, operations and reinstate, with back pay, all unlawfully terminated employees who unanimously voted to be represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 139. On May 13, 2020, after hearing five days of testimony, an Administrative Law Judge issued a decision finding that Sunbelt Rentals committed multiple violations of Federal law, known as unfair labor practices, including threatening and interrogating its employees, eliminating the entire Franksville, Wisconsin, bargaining unit while continuing to perform bargaining unit work with its non-union employees, and bargaining in bad faith. A copy of the decision is available at the NLRB’s website:

In reaching his conclusions, the Judge found Sunbelt’s witnesses lacked credibility and that Sunbelt demonstrated Union animus from the moment IUOE Local 139 filed its petition to represent Sunbelt’s Franksville employees in February 2018. In March 2018, Local 139 was certified by a unanimous secret ballot election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board as the exclusive bargaining representative for employees of Sunbelt Rentals’ Franksville, Wisconsin, facility. As detailed in the decision, from the outset, Sunbelt engaged in a concerted pattern of illegal activities to deprive its employees of their right to Union representation.  

In response to the decision, Local 139 Business Manager Terry McGowan said, “This decision sends a strong message and illustrates how it has been far too easy for employers like Sunbelt to deprive their employees of the basic rights protected by the National Labor Relations Act. Local 139 hopes that Sunbelt is ready to bargain in good faith and treat its employees fairly. Until then, Local 139 will continue to expose Sunbelt’s violations of Federal labor law and to fight to better the working conditions at Sunbelt’s Franksville shop, and throughout the State of Wisconsin.”

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Established in 1902, Operating Engineers Local 139 is a statewide Wisconsin trade union that primarily represents skilled Operators of heavy construction equipment and mechanics who service the machines. The union has over 10,000 members throughout the state and is headquartered in Pewaukee. Local 139 also maintains district offices in Madison, Appleton, and Altoona, as well as a state-certified training school for Operating Engineers in Coloma.