Labor Relations Update

Category Archives: NLRA

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BREAKING: Jennifer Abruzzo is Sworn In as General Counsel of the NLRB

After being nominated by President Biden on February 17, 2021, Jennifer Abruzzo was sworn in as General Counsel of the NLRB yesterday by Chairman Lauren McFerran. Abruzzo will serve a four-year term as General Counsel, spearheading the agency’s investigation and prosecution of unfair labor practice cases and supervising the NLRB field offices in the processing … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Overturns Board Decision Finding Unlawful Secondary Picketing, Citing Insufficient Evidence of an Intent to Coerce a Neutral Employer

Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned a decision by the NLRB dismissing a complaint against two joint employers alleging unlawful termination in retaliation for picketing activity. The Court, reversing the Board, found that the employees’ picket was not unlawful secondary activity and therefore did not lose the protection … Continue Reading

Requiring Employees to Maintain the Confidentiality of Arbitration Proceedings Held to be Lawful Under the NLRA…For Now

In a recent decision by the NLRB, the Board upheld the lawfulness, in part, of an arbitration agreement that required employees to maintain the confidentiality of the arbitration proceedings, including the discovery process and the hearing. Dish Network, LLC, 370 NLRB No. 97 (March 18, 2021). However, Chairman McFerran’s considerable dissent likely signals that the … Continue Reading

Recent Labor Victories for Adjunct Professors Signal Likely Uptick in Contingent Faculty Organizing

Recently, adjunct professors at Elon University and Ithaca College won victories before the NLRB and an American Arbitration Association arbitrator, respectively, that further bolster the position that adjunct, or contingent, faculty members are “employees” as defined by the NLRA.  Moreover, it also suggests that there will likely be a surge of new organizing activity amongst … Continue Reading

NLRB Finds Employer Acted Lawfully by Paying Statutory Minimum Christmas Bonus, Rejecting Unilateral Change and CBA Modification Claims

On January 14, 2021, the NLRB issued a decision in Asociacion de Empleados del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, 370 NLRB No. 71. The decision involved the issue of whether a term of employment contained in a collective bargaining agreement continues after the expiration of the contract. This issue has been vexing for employers … Continue Reading

Employer Leaves Lasting Impression…of Unlawful Surveillance

The NLRB rang in the New Year by examining what constitutes an impression of unlawful surveillance. In Dignity Health d/b/a Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, 370 NLRB No. 67 (January 6, 2021), the Board reaffirmed helpful guidance for employers regarding the dos and don’ts in the context of union organizing campaigns. Specifically, the Board held that … Continue Reading

NLRB Advice Memorandum: Firing Employees Because of Discussions Related to Tip-Pooling Violates Section 8(a)(1)

In an Advice Memorandum released Thursday, the NLRB’s Division of Advice concluded that employees who discussed an employer’s tip-pooling practices engaged in protected concerted activity, such that discharging the employees for this activity violated Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA. Employees working at a steakhouse in New York City often complained about the restaurant’s tip-pooling system. … Continue Reading

NLRB: Members Of Trade Group Are Not “Employees” Covered By The NLRA

On September 11, 2020, a three-member National Labor Relations Board panel unanimously ruled that a trade group representing sign language interpreters did not violate Section 8(a)(1) of the Act by removing its members’ posts on its closed Facebook page.  The posts, made by individual members of the trade group, discussed the interpreters’ work conditions and … Continue Reading

Update: NLRB Final Rule Governing Employee-Status of Student Workers May Issue As Soon As September 2020

As we previously reported, the NLRB published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in September 2019 regarding the employee-status of student workers at private colleges and universities. Under the proposed rule, the NLRB seeks to establish that undergraduate and graduate students performing services for compensation, including teaching and research, in connection with their studies are … Continue Reading

NLRB GC Issues Guidance Memo Laying Out Changes to Evidence Collection in Unfair Labor Practice Investigations

NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb issued a Memorandum on June 17th setting forth new guidelines for how Regions conduct unfair labor practice investigations—specifically, how Regions secure the testimony of former supervisors and agents, as well as how to handle audio recordings.  The stated goal of the Memo is to “promote transparency and apply fairness” during … Continue Reading

NLRB Establishes Bright-Line Test Denying Jurisdiction over Religious Educational Institutions

We have seen this movie before.  NLRB precedent established by the Board under the prior Administration conflicted sharply with decisions by the D.C. Circuit reviewing the Board.  Then the current iteration of the Board reverses its own precedent and sides with the D.C. Circuit.  This situation occurred recently with regard to whether the “clear and … Continue Reading

Union’s Efforts to Scare Employees From Participating in Employer Investigations Rebuked by the Board

On June 5, 2020, the NLRB held, in Teamsters Local Union No. 735-S (Bemis Co., Inc.), 369 NLRB No. 97, that union officials’ retaliatory actions against members who participated in an investigation resulting in the discharge of the union president violated the NLRA’s prohibitions against union restraint or coercion (Section 8(b)(1)(A)) and causing employer discrimination … Continue Reading

NLRB: Policy Prohibiting Personal Cell Phones in Work Areas Due to Safety Concerns May Be Lawful under Boeing

As we previously suggested, the NLRB’s adoption of the Boeing standard for determining the lawfulness of employer’s workplace rules, policies and handbook provisions has provided significant fodder for interesting cases. The Board has struggled for years with the concept that certain commonsense employer business policies can be unlawful. It is difficult to draw bright-line rules … Continue Reading

“Hard” Bargaining Proposals Placed Into Final Offer Evidence Bad Faith Bargaining, NLRB Concludes

On May 21, 2020, the NLRB issued a decision in Altura Communication Solutions, LLC. The case asked the Board to consider whether a series of broad proposals made by the employer during collective bargaining amounted to bad faith bargaining and 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(5) violations. The Board noted that while it is not its role to … Continue Reading

Update: NLRB Extends Suspension of Notice-Posting Requirements to Cases Involving Informal Settlement Agreements

As we discussed here, the National Labor Relations Board decided early this month that it would temporarily suspend the remedial notice-posting and emailing requirement at facilities shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic until after reopening and a return of a “substantial complement” of employees.  See Danbury Ambulance Service, Inc., 369 NLRB 68 (2020). The … Continue Reading

BREAKING: NLRB to Resume Unfair Labor Practice Trials June 1, 2020

As many states throughout the country have begun implementing phased reopening plans, so too has the NLRB begun to return to a semblance of normality. Representation elections resumed in early April, and the NLRB recently provided clarification as to how representation hearings should be conducted. In the last few weeks the agency has counted ballots … Continue Reading

NLRB Establishes Bright-Line Rule Voiding Election Ballots with Dual or Additional Markings

One area of controversy over the years is the NLRB’s attempt to interpret markings on representation ballots that are not clearly “yes” or “no.”  This has given rise to a number of tests for divining voter intent.  Overruling decades of conflicting precedent involving the interpretation of a voter’s intent, the NLRB issued a key decision … Continue Reading

NLRB: Hearings in Representation Cases with Witnesses Must Be Conducted By Videoconference during COVID-19 Pandemic

As most of the country’s workforce continues to adjust to the new realities of social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and limited travel, the practice of law and the forums for adjudicating disputes have shifted to video and telephonic hearings to ensure that the wheels of justice continue to turn notwithstanding COVID-19.  The NLRB has been no … Continue Reading

NLRB Suspends Remedial Notice-Posting Requirements for Facilities Shutdown During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Board continues to issue decisions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, while acknowledging that business operations around the country are far from “business as usual.” The agency is up and running.  Representation elections vote counts are being conducted via video conference as are hearings.  The remedy stage of unfair labor practice proceedings also has caught up … Continue Reading

NLRB: Unions Also Obligated To Provide Timely Relevant and Necessary Information Requested by Employers

We have often reported about how an employer’s failure to adequately respond to an information request made by a union can lead to unfair labor practice charges and litigation.  Sometimes a union makes an information request for strategic reasons, not for any representational reason.  Sometimes, an employer’s response can lead to further complications. The same … Continue Reading

NLRB Reaffirms Limitations on Employers’ Ability to Solicit Employee Assistance in Anti-Union Campaigning and Confidentiality Restrictions

In maintaining business as usual as best it can amidst the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the Board recently decided an issue concerning limitations on employer campaign tactics, and an employer’s limits in restricting discussions with employees related to terms and conditions of employment. In First American Enterprises d/b/a Heritage Lakeside, 369 NLRB No. 54 (2020), the … Continue Reading

Update: NLRB Delays Implementation of Final Election Rule Changes to July 31, 2020

As we reported here, on April 1, 2020, the NLRB published its final rule making three amendments to its rules and regulations governing union elections (relating to the Board’s blocking charge policy; timing and notice requirements attendant to voluntary recognition; and 9(a) recognition in the construction industry).  The rule was expected to be effective as … Continue Reading

NLRB: Employee’s Profanity and Threatening Comments Insufficient to Forfeit Protections of the Act

In the past, we frequently have discussed protected activity and how an employee’s profane outburst or deliberate conduct may render otherwise protected activity, “unprotected.”  However, as this recently issued decision reinforces, the Board is usually quite tolerant of impulsive behavior and outbursts in response to legitimate grievances over the terms and conditions of employment. Plant … Continue Reading
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