The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that an employer who warned workers before a labor election that getting a union could hurt business was making an illegal “veiled threat.”

In a 2-1 decision the three-member panel of the board said Tim Krise—the vice president of Student Transportation of America Inc, a Bristol, Penn., school bus company—violated the rights his employees when he reportedly told them that the company could “walk away” from its contract with the Bristol Township if operations became “too costly.”

The case was brought before the board following a November 2013 contested union election when employees voted 24-23 to join the Teamsters. Two ballots from that election were contested and have not been counted, leaving the outcome of the election unclear.

The board ordered the remaining contested ballots be opened and counted. If they show the union won, the company must recognize the Teamsters as the collective bargaining agent. If not, a new vote must be held.

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