Labor Relations Update

Category Archives: Collective Bargaining

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Union Adherent’s Antics Not Protected By Act, NLRB Rules

The NLRB recently issued a rare decision completely dismissing all allegations against an employer; rarer still because it was unanimous.  In Brooke Glen Behavioral Hospital, 365 NLRB No. 79 (May 15, 2017) the NLRB was confronted with a situation where an employee-union adherent engaged in behavior ultimately found to be inappropriate and unprotected. The employer, a … Continue Reading

Employer Did Not Violate Duty To Bargain Over Change To Christmas Gift Policy, NLRB Rules

What would the holiday season be without a Christmas gift case?  A perennial problem for labor relations personnel is whether the yearly Christmas turkey given to employees is something that an employer must bargain over before (bah humbug) discontinuing. See, e.g., Q-1 Motor Express, Inc., 323 NLRB 767, 775 (1997). In a decision issued shortly … Continue Reading

Micro-Units under the Microscope: The Second and Fifth Circuit Courts Consider Specialty Healthcare and Its Misapplication

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit joined the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Circuits in upholding the Board’s Specialty Healthcare standard for determining appropriate bargaining units under the National Labor Relations Act, although with a very skeptical eye on how it applied.  Constellation Brands, U.S. Operations, Inc. v. NLRB, … Continue Reading

NLRB Majority Stuns Nation By Ruling Employer Has Management Right, Chairman Dissents

In another example of the inconsistency of the current state of Board law, a 2-1 majority of the NLRB ruled that an employer not only had a management right but it wasn’t necessary that this right be expressly set forth in the parties’ contract.  This is certainly odd because the NLRB went out of its … Continue Reading

Employer Claims Of Unprofitability And Competitive Disadvantage Enough To Trigger Audit Of Financials By Union, NLRB Majority Concludes

The end of another NLRB fiscal year is upon us.  Today, September 30, marks the last date of the fiscal year.  We can expect to see a number of decisions issue from the Board, and many determinations made at the regional level, as the agency attempts to pump up its case processing statistics.  We will … Continue Reading

Non-Compete Agreement A Mandatory Subject of Bargaining, NLRB Rules

The first day of employment is often chaotic.  New employees must learn their way around the jobsite, meet (and remember the names of) many new people and otherwise familiarize themselves with working at a new job.  Oh, and there’s the paperwork.  Seemingly endless mounds of paperwork.  New employees are asked to sign a multitude of documents … Continue Reading

Recent NLRB Decision A Reminder That NLRA Can Protect Actions Of A Single Employee

So far, it has been a long quiet Summer with little NLRB activity, – with the exception of the recent ruling that temporary agency employees can be part of a bargaining unit with the principal employer’s employees, of course.  More change may be coming, though.  The end of the NLRB’s fiscal year is September 30 and … Continue Reading

NLRB Majority, Management Rights Clause Must Be Specific To Enable Employer To Make Unilateral Changes

Collective bargaining agreements, do not, and cannot cover every issue that will arise during their term.  Matters concerning terms and conditions of employment that are not addressed in the labor contract have to be negotiated before changes can be made.  Sometimes, however, the parties agree that management can make changes to certain terms and conditions of … Continue Reading

No Duty To Bargain Over Discipline During Contract Hiatus, NLRB Division of Advice

The NLRB has been active but quiet during the last few months as the agency quietly reaffirms decisions nullified by the Supreme Court.  By all accounts, however, and as history has proved, the NLRB is getting ready to issue an onslaught of law-changing decisions as we head into the holiday season.  This onslaught of change … Continue Reading

Ebola and Potential Labor Relations Issues

The Ebola panic presently sweeping the U.S. raises a host of potential issues for employers.  We recently provided guidance to help employers ensure employee safety while also complying with legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar laws.  In addition, the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) recently released a comprehensive summary of … Continue Reading

NLRB Refines Its Test for Independent Contractor Status

The National Labor Relations Board, with one member dissenting, has issued a decision in which it “refines” the test it uses for determining whether it will find individuals performing services for an employer to be employees, who are covered by the National Labor Relations Act, or independent contractors, who are not.  The case is FedEx … Continue Reading

Department Store Units Decided Under Specialty Healthcare

This week the NLRB decided two cases involving union organizing in large department stores. In each case an NLRB regional director applied the Board’s Specialty Healthcare test to determine whether the bargaining unit requested by the union was appropriate. In Specialty Healthcare, the Board held that a unit will be presumptively appropriate for collective bargaining … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Invalidates Recess Appointments To NLRB: Several Labor Board Decisions Now In Doubt

In a rare 9-0 decision issued today, the United States Supreme Court invalidated the recess appointments President Obama made to the NLRB on January 4, 2012, while the Senate was in a three day recess.  The decision in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning (USSC June 26, 2014) means that the NLRB was operating without the requisite … Continue Reading

NLRB Rules That Union’s Offer To Waive Dues For Six Months To Make Up For Tiny Wage Increase Did Not Interfere With Decertification Election

As of July 31, the NLRB has a full complement of Board Members, for the first time in about ten years.  The fact the deal on appointments has been progressing for a few weeks did not prohibit the three member Board of questionable constitutional validity from continuing to render decisions. The NLRB recently ruled that … Continue Reading

NLRB Overrules Another Longstanding Precedent: Witness Statements No Longer Exempt From Disclosure

The precedents are falling fast.  Last week the NLRB overruled the five decade old Bethlehem Steel decision, and now another longstanding precedent has fallen.  The NLRB issued a decision overruling Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 237 NLRB 982 (1978), the case that held that witness statements obtained during an employer investigation of workplace misconduct are exempt from disclosure … Continue Reading

Holiday Season Extravaganza: NLRB Issues Flurry Of Law Changing Decisions

Last week the NLRB issued several significant decisions.   In the press release announcing the decisions, the agency noted that most were actually issued “the week of December 10, but were issued this week following editing and formatting which is typical for the final decisions in a Member’s term.”  This is a reference to Member Hayes’ … Continue Reading

NLRB Discards 50 Years Of Precedent – Dues Checkoff Clauses Now Survive Expiration Of Bargaining Agreement

Claiming that the Board “has never provided a coherent explanation” for the 50 year old rule that the obligation to continue deducting dues pursuant to a dues checkoff provision ceases upon expiration of the collective bargaining agreement, the NLRB recently announced it has overruled existing precedent.  Dues checkoff provisions now survive the expiration of an agreement … Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Reverses NLRB Finding Of No Impasse

Sometimes in negotiations the parties just cannot agree on certain items.  Such a deadlock under certain circumstances can have legal consequences under the concept of “impasse,” one of the more shadowy, hard to define issues in labor law.  A true legal impasse over an important issue can allow one party to temporarily suspend negotiations, and in … Continue Reading

Contract Language Requires Continued Wage Increases Even After Expiration, rules divided NLRB

The process of collective bargaining is filled with nuance and sublety.  Unlike other business negotiations, there is often a dance that takes place as the parties attempt to reach an agreement.  Given the Act’s mandate that the parties “meet and confer” at “reasonable times” to try to reach an agreement, it is legally impossible to … Continue Reading

NLRB Acting General Counsel Clarifies Duty to Provide Information in Bargaining

In a May 17 memorandum, NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon furnished guidelines to Regional Directors concerning parties’ obligation to provide information in collective bargaining negotiations.  GC Memorandum 11-13  traces the development of two different analytical frameworks for assessing a party’s obligation to provide requested information to its bargaining counterpart.  The first applies to cases involving … Continue Reading
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