Labor Relations Update

Category Archives: NLRB

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Board Invites Briefing on Potentially Overturning “Johnnie’s Poultry” Standard for Questioning of Employees About Putative Protected Activity

On Monday, the Board voted 3-1 to solicit public briefing on whether it should overrule the Johnnie’s Poultry Co., 146 NLRB 770 (1964) safeguards employees must receive if they are questioned by employers about their own or another employees’ potentially protected concerted activity. Those safeguards include requiring the following: The employer must communicate to 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: Initial Burden of Union Animus Met Largely by Timing of Employer’s Discharge of Employee

It is an unfair labor practice for an employer to retaliate against (1) union supporters pursuant to Section 8(a)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”), and (2) employees for filing a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, testifying in a Board proceeding, or otherwise utilizing the Board’s processes, under Section 8(a)(4).  Both … Continue Reading

BREAKING: President Biden Nominates Former Deputy General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo for NLRB General Counsel

President Biden nominated Jennifer Abruzzo, Special Counsel for Strategic Initiatives for the Communications Workers of America, to be General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board. Abruzzo was a Board veteran with more than two decades at the agency before becoming the union’s point person on NLRB issues. She was NLRB Deputy General Counsel and … Continue Reading

No “Finite Fellows” in the Bargaining Unit – the Board Weighs in on Temporary Workers

When it comes to fellowship—and collective bargaining—it looks like “fellows” aren’t treated the same as their permanent status co-workers.  In Phoenix News Times, LLC and The Newsguild–CWA, 370 NLRB No. 84 (Feb. 10, 2021), the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board” or “NLRB”) found that workers employed at a Phoenix newspaper in a fellowship program … Continue Reading

NLRB Acting General Counsel Strikes Again, Directs Agency to Withdraw Complaints Attacking Neutrality Agreements

As we recently reported, National Labor Relations Board Acting General Counsel Peter Sung Ohr recently gave us a peek behind the curtain at his prosecutorial priorities as General Counsel when he rolled back a number of General Counsel Memoranda issued by his predecessor, Peter Robb.  Consistent with that roll back, Ohr recently directed the agency … Continue Reading

NLRB Acting General Counsel Rolls Back Guidance from Prior Administration

On February 1, National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) Acting General Counsel Peter Sung Ohr rescinded a slew of General Counsel Memos issued by his predecessor, Peter Robb. On February 2, Ohr continued his actions by rolling back two Operations Management memos that were also issued during Robb’s term. Ohr’s actions come one week after he … Continue Reading

NLRB Sees First Challenge to the Authority of Acting NLRB General Counsel’s to Process Unfair Labor Practice Cases after Recent Shakeup

In the first known of its kind objection to an ongoing NLRB proceeding, an employer has urged the NLRB to dismiss an unfair labor charge against it, arguing that the agency is unable to prosecute the matter, in light of President Biden’s unprecedented firing of then-General Counsel Peter Robb and Deputy GC Alice Stock, and … Continue Reading

After Unprecedented Firings of General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel, President Biden Names Peter Sung Ohr Acting General Counsel of the NLRB

President Biden named Peter Sung Ohr as Acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board today. Ohr is a career employee of the NLRB, having served as a Field Attorney, Deputy Assistant General Counsel in the NLRB’s Division of Operations-Management, and as Regional Director of the Board’s Chicago Regional Office. Biden’s action comes after … Continue Reading

BREAKING: President Biden Continues NLRB Shake-Up By Firing Acting NLRB GC

One day after a standoff between President Biden and NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb resulted in his unprecedented termination, President Biden fired the NLRB’s second-ranked attorney, NLRB Deputy General Counsel Alice Stock, according to a Bloomberg report.  Stock would have served as Acting NLRB General Counsel after Robb’s termination on January 20th.  As of this … Continue Reading

Breaking: On First Day in Office, President Biden Shakes Up NLRB By Firing GC and Appointing New Chair

*** UPDATE:  On his first day in office, President Biden fired NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb, according to a report by Bloomberg News. This marks the first time in the history of the NLRB that a President has terminated the agency’s General Counsel before the expiration of their term. As we reported earlier below, President … 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

NLRB Division of Advice Dishes Some Guidance With Respect to COVID-Related ULP Charges

The pandemic has thrown a number of obstacles at employers and employees as everyone attempts to navigate a novel situation.  On August 13, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) Division of Advice (“Advice”), the agency’s internal think-tank, published five Advice Memoranda dismissing unfair labor practice charges against employers in connection with issues concerning the … Continue Reading

Senate Confirms Pair of Appointees to National Labor Relations Board

In a package deal, the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointments of two members to the National Labor Relations Board (“Board” or “NLRB”).  Lauren McFerran, who previously served as a member of the NLRB for five years until her term expired on December 16, 2019, will rejoin the current Board as its only Democrat.  Current Republican … Continue Reading

National Labor Relations Board Announces Another Proposed Rule Regarding Representation Elections

On Tuesday, July 28, 2020 the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or “the Board”) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the National Federal Register. With its latest foray into rulemaking, the Board is looking to make two amendments to the current rules governing representation elections held under the National Labor Relations Act.  Both these … 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 Redefines “Solicitation,” Broadening Conduct that may be Considered Unprotected

On May 29, 2020, the NLRB issued an important opinion overruling two decisions in order to define the term “solicitation” in a manner consistent with prior Board decisions and the dictionary definition of the term. Wynn Las Vegas, LLC, 369 NLRB No. 91 (2020). In defining “solicitation,” the Board held that “where an employee makes … 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
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