Labor Relations Update

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BREAKING: NLRB General Counsel Seeks to Scrap 50 Years of Precedent and Require Card Check Recognition

With Congress failing to make the organizing process easier for unions, the NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo is now asking the Board to require employers to recognize unions without a secret ballot election. As foreshadowed by her August 2021 memo on Mandatory Submissions to Advice, in a brief filed in Cemex Construction Materials Pacific LLC, … Continue Reading

Union Representation Petitions Increase by Astonishing 57% in the First Half of FY 2022

On April 6, 2022, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) issued a press release recognizing the shockingly large surge in new union organizing. Specifically, during the first half of Fiscal Year 2022 (October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022), the NLRB reported that union representation petitions increased by 57%. Representation petitions are … Continue Reading

NLRB GC Seeks Dramatic Change to Employer’s Right to Speak to Employees About Unionization at Work

For decades, employers had been free to gather employees to discuss – in a non-coercive manner – the employer’s views on unionization, and had been free to share with employees what employees’ rights were with respect to the same.  Earlier today, the NLRB General Counsel issued a memorandum declaring her intent to attempt to overturn … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Takes Supreme Court Cue and Rejects “Implied” Union Contracts

On March 30, 2022, three judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously overruled prior precedent allowing “implied” contracts to survive the expiration of a written agreement. The instant panel held, instead, that “implied” contract provisions that “have no durational limit of their own” are “governed by the general durational clauses of the … Continue Reading

We Knew This Was Coming: NLRB General Counsel Recommends Abandoning Workplace Rule and Confidentiality Rule Frameworks

As foreshadowed by the NLRB General Counsel’s August 2021 Advice Memorandum (which we discussed here), the vacillating standard for the legality of employer handbooks and policies and confidentiality requirements during open employer-investigations have been ripe for reversal by the NLRB. On March 7, 2022, in response to the NLRB’s January 6, 2022 notice and invitation … Continue Reading

President Biden Signs Executive Order Requiring Project Labor Agreements for Large-Scale Federal Construction Projects ($35 Million)

On February 4, 2022, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects (the “Order”), which requires the federal government to require a project labor agreement (“PLA”) before awarding any “large-scale construction contract,” defined as a contract for which the estimated cost is $35 million or more.  The … Continue Reading

NLRB GC Announces Initiative Seeking 10(j) Relief For Threats Or Coercive Conduct During Organizing Campaigns

On February 1, 2022, the General Counsel (“GC”) of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) announced a new initiative encouraging NLRB Regions to seek injunctive relief under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or “Act”) where workers have alleged unlawful threats or other coercion by employers during union organizing campaigns—even if the … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Rejects RICO Claim Filed Against Unions for Conduct During Corporate Campaign By Adopting A Union’s “Claim-of-Right” Defense

The Third Circuit issued a noteworthy split 2-1 decision last month, finding that a company’s claim under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) against several Unions failed, where the Unions’ tactics as part of a corporate campaign and its “extortion through fear of economic loss” directed at the company is committed to … Continue Reading

NLRB Plans to Revise Joint Employer Standard Once Again

On Friday, December 10, 2021, the Board announced in its regulatory agenda that it plans to engage in rulemaking on the standard for determining whether two employers are “joint employers” under the NLRA.  It remains to be seen exactly what the contours of the new joint-employer rule would be, although it has been widely predicted … Continue Reading

BREAKING: Senate Committee Proposes Bill to Add Civil Penalties to NLRA

As we have discussed previously (here, here, here and here), Congressional Democrats have been attempting to amend the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) for the last few years.  However, attempts to invoke sweeping changes to a number of areas of the NLRA through the Protect the Right to Organize Act (“PRO Act”) have stalled in … Continue Reading

Here We Go Again: NLRB Foreshadows A Potential Return To Micro-Units

The ability to form smaller bargaining units by breaking up larger aspects of an employer’s organization—sometimes called “micro-units”—is generally seen as an effort to enhance the ability of unions to gain entry into an employer by making it easier to organize.  Those opposed to the practice, including both employers and trade groups, contend that carving … Continue Reading

Google’s Union Campaign Strategy Documents Not Privileged, NLRB Administrative Law Judge

Google recently suffered a blow in its ongoing National Labor Relations Board litigation, when an Administrative Law Judge appointed to rule on a discovery dispute ordered the Silicon Valley company to turn over the lion’s share of certain documents subpoenaed by former Google employees. Discovery issues have become more prevalent in NLRB litigation as massive … Continue Reading

NLRB, DOL, and EEOC Announce Joint Initiative to Combat Worker Retaliation

Today, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), along with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), announced the creation of an interagency initiative to raise awareness of worker retaliation issues. Building upon their pre-existing interagency relationships, the NLRB, DOL, and EEOC seek to further protect workers from unlawful retaliatory … Continue Reading

While Democrats Whittle Down Pro-Labor Provisions Of Social Spending Bill, Civil Penalties Remain

As we discussed here, members of the House Education and Labor Committee have been attempting to end-run the procedural hurdles that have prevented the Protect the Right to Organize Act (“PRO Act”) legislation from becoming law, through a process called “budget reconciliation.”  (For a refresher on the PRO Act, see our blog posts on the … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Court Rules NLRB’s Access to Property Test is Arbitrary

General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, Jennifer Abruzzo, is already on her way to accomplishing one of the objectives she laid out in her recent Advice-Memorandum 21-04 (discussed here earlier on this blog). In the GC’s memo, she identified a number of Board decisions to re-evaluate, including Bexar County Performing Arts Ctr. Found., … Continue Reading

House Committee Attempts to Secure “PRO Act” Changes to Labor Law Through Reconciliation Process of Next Federal Budget

As we have discussed in previous posts (see here and here), the Protect the Right to Organize Act (“PRO Act”), which would drastically and fundamentally change the nature and scope of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) and labor-management relations in the private sector, has languished in the U.S. House of Representatives over the last … Continue Reading

New NLRB General Counsel Signals Greater Utilization of 10(j) Injunctions

The recently-sworn in General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, Jennifer Abruzzo, has had a busy month, setting the stage for a slate of new enforcement initiatives.  First, the GC issued Advice Memorandum 21-04 (discussed here last week), identifying numerous Board decisions that are all but certain to be reassessed once the full complement … Continue Reading

Access Denied: Supreme Court Finds California Regulation Permitting Union Access to Employer Property Constitutes An Unconstitutional Taking

In a 6–3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held on June 23, 2021 that a California regulation granting labor organizers the “right to take access” to agricultural employers’ private property to solicit union support violated the Takings Clause of the U.S. Constitution. See Cedar Point Nursery et al. v. Hassid et al., USSC Case No. … Continue Reading

Hands Off My Ballot: NLRB Finds that Solicitation of Mail-Ballots is Objectionable Conduct That May Warrant Setting Aside an Election

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, mail-ballot elections—rather than manual, in-person elections, have been mandatory for most NLRB representation elections. The NLRB’s recent ruling, on June 9, 2021, in Professional Transportation Inc., 370 NLRB 132 (2021), provided important guidance regarding when solicitation in the context of such elections constitutes objectionable conduct, such that it … Continue Reading

BREAKING: President Biden Nominates Union-Side Attorney Gwynne Wilcox to Fill NLRB Seat

On Wednesday, May 26, 2021, President Biden nominated Gwynne Wilcox to fill the last remaining vacancy on the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”).  If confirmed by the Senate, Wilcox would be the second Democrat on the Board, joining Board Chair Lauren McFerran (who had been a member of the Board since 2014, and was appointed … Continue Reading

NLRB Majority: Employer May Continue “No Recording” Rule, Even After Unlawfully Applying it to Single Employee

In AT&T Mobility LLC , 370 NLRB No. 121 (2021), the NLRB majority (Members Ring and Emanuel) held that the Employer could lawfully maintain a workplace policy prohibiting its workers from recording conversations with their co-workers, managers or third-parties, even though its application in one particular circumstance was found unlawful.  Notwithstanding the fact that the … Continue Reading

NLRB: Employer’s “Hard-Bargaining” Proposals—By Themselves—Did Not Violate Duty to Bargain in Good Faith

In Universal Health Services, Inc., 370 N.L.R.B. No. 118 (April 30, 2021), the Board dismissed a complaint alleging that an employer’s bargaining proposals seeking significant concessions violated the duty to bargain in good faith.  Notably, the Board found that even when faced with extreme proposals, a union must still “test” the employer’s willingness to make … Continue Reading

NLRB Finds Social Media Policies Lawful, Sheds Light on Impact of Boeing

As we have discussed before, several years ago, the Board instituted a significant paradigm shift in analyzing the lawfulness of employers’ handbook policies in relation to employees’ Section 7 rights, when it issued its decision in The Boeing Company, 365 NLRB No. 154 (2017).  Boeing established a balancing test that takes into account the employer’s … Continue Reading

NLRB Holds that Leaflet Outlining Consequences for Threatening Workers Is Not Unlawful

In adopting the ALJ’s Recommended Order in S&S Enterprises, LLC d/b/a Appalachian Heating, Case No. 09-CA-235304, the NLRB found that a leaflet distributed by the employer during union organizing efforts, which stated that it is against federal law for a labor union to threaten employees, did not violate the NLRA because it did not constitute … Continue Reading
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