Category Archives: Union Issues

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National Labor Relations Board Signals That It May Leave Purple Communications Black and Blue

On August 1, 2018, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) issued a Notice and Invitation to File Briefs, inviting the public to file briefs on whether the Board should overrule its 2014 decision in Purple Communications, Inc., 361 NLRB 1050 (2014), in which the Board held, absent special circumstances, employees who have been given access … Continue Reading

National Labor Relations Board’s General Counsel Releases Memorandum Providing Guidance On Handbook Rules After Its December 2017 Boeing Decision

On June 6, 2018, the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB” or “Board”) General Counsel issued Memorandum GC 18-04 (“GC 18-04”), which provides guidance to employers on the legality of certain handbook rules following the Board’s decision in The Boeing Company, 365 NLRB No. 154 (Dec. 14, 2017).  By way of background, in 2004, the Board … Continue Reading

Considering Offering Severance Pay in Exchange for Certain Post-Employment Obligations? Think Again.

An employer violated employee’s labor rights by offering her a separation agreement that contained unlawful terms ruled a National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) administrative law judge (“ALJ”) in Baylor Univ. Med. Ctr., Case No. 16-CA-195335 (Fort Worth, TX, February 12, 2018) (“Baylor”). This decision is one of the first ALJ rulings to apply the NLRB’s … Continue Reading

The End of Union-Dictated Micro-Units: NLRB Overturns Specialty Healthcare

On the eve of Chairman Phillip Miscimarra’s departure from the NLRB, he gave one final gift to employers: the overturning of Specialty Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center of Mobile, 357 NLRB 934 (2011), an Obama-Era Board decision that allowed unions to organize “micro-units” of employees—drastically limiting any challenges employers could have to a petitioned-for unit before … Continue Reading

Striking A New Balance – The NLRB Abandons the Lutheran Heritage Test and Devises a New Standard for Assessing the Facial Validity of Neutral Work Rules

In 2004, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued Lutheran Heritage Village-Livonia, 343 NLRB 646 (“Lutheran Heritage”), and held that the mere maintenance of a neutral work rule violated Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) if employees would reasonably construe the rule to prohibit union and other protected concerted activity (Section 7 … Continue Reading

New Labor Board May Kill “Quickie Election” Rule; Requests Public RFI

The NLRB announced yesterday, a Request for Information (“RFI”) on the Board’s 2014 “Quickie Election” representation regulations (at 29 CFR parts 101 and 102). The RFI seeks input on the amendments to representation case procedures, which drastically changed the process for NLRB conducted elections in which employees vote on whether they want to be represented … Continue Reading

New Labor Board GC Signals Overturning Obama-Era Rulings, But Anticipated Vacancies and Recusals Create Uncertainty

On November 8, 2017, Peter B. Robb was sworn in as the General Counsel (GC) of the NLRB for a four year term. Robb succeeds Richard Griffin, who has been the GC since November 2013. Robb wasted no time in taking initial steps to undo many of the NLRB’s more controversial recent decisions. On December … Continue Reading

Labor Relations Update: New NLRB General Counsel Nominee Poised to Undo Obama-Era Precedents

Senate Republicans recently confirmed William Emanuel, the second Trump nominee to the five-member National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”), giving the Board a Republican majority for the first time since 2007. Mr. Emanuel’s confirmation follows the September 25, 2017 appointment of Peter Robb, a management-side labor and employment lawyer, as General Counsel of the Board. Each … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Moves To Rescind “Persuader Rule” with Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

On June 12, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Office of Labor-Management Standards published a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding its intention to rescind the so-called “persuader rule,” moving the DOL one step closer to withdrawing the controversial regulation introduced by the Obama administration.… Continue Reading

7th Circuit Issues Ruling That Waiver of Statutory Rights under FLSA in Collective Bargaining Agreement Must Be Clear and Unmistakable

On May 15, 2017, the Seventh Circuit issued its ruling in Vega v. New Forest Home Cemetery, LLC, finding that an employee was not barred from bringing a Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) claim in a judicial forum, despite his failure to exhaust the grievance procedure in the applicable collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”).… Continue Reading

Unpersuasive: Federal Judge Invalidates DOL’s New Persuader Rule

On November 16, 2016, a federal district judge in Texas barred the Department of Labor (“DOL”) from enforcing its new so-called “Persuader Rule.”  The rule, which would have imposed broad disclosure requirements on employers responding to union-organizing campaigns, has been mired in controversy since it was proposed in 2011.  In April 2016, Sheppard Mullin wrote … Continue Reading

Legacy and Grandfathered Agreements are Not Subject to Disclosure Requirements Under the Department of Labor’s New “Persuader” Regulations and Interpretation of the “Advice” Exemption

On March 24, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“USDOL”) Office of Labor-Management Standards (“OLMS”) published its highly controversial “persuader” regulation, which requires employers and labor relations consultants, including legal counsel, to publicly disclose relationships that have traditionally been permitted to remain confidential under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (“LMRDA”).  Although the new persuader … Continue Reading

Department of Labor’s Long-Debated “Persuader” Regulations Expand the Scope of the Consulting Relationships that Must be Reported Under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (“OLMS”) recently issued its long-debated “persuader” regulations which, as of July 1, 2016, will require employers and their labor relations consultants, including legal counsel, to publicly disclose relationships which had long been permitted to remain confidential under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (“LMRDA”).… Continue Reading

Non-Union Employee’s “Bad Attitude” Protected by the NLRA

As a reminder that non-union employees are also protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago recently upheld a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision holding that Staffing Network Holdings, LLC (“Staffing Network”) violated the NLRA by twice threatening non-union employees with discharge for engaging in protected, … Continue Reading

NLRB Weighs-In on Franchise Joint Employers

In late April, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) General Counsel’s office issued an Advice Memorandum (“Advice Memo”) (No. 177-1650-0100, available here) addressing whether a franchisor (Freshii Development, LLC) was a joint employer with one of its franchisees (Nutritionality, Inc.).  The General Counsel’s office determined that the franchisor was not a joint … Continue Reading

NLRB “Quickie Election” Rule Accelerates the Union Organizing Process

In December 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) announced new rules governing “Representation—Case Procedures.”  The new rules—set to take effect in just under a month, on April 14, 2015—have been commonly referred to as “quickie” or “ambush” election rules, as they will significantly increase the speed at which the union election process moves.  The … Continue Reading

AFL-CIO’s Industry Wide Agreement May Have Wide Reach in Hospitality Industry

Mid-way through 2012, the Hotel Association of New York City and the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO (the “Union”), renewed a seven-year collective bargaining agreement known as the Industry Wide Agreement, or IWA.  While the IWA controls nearly all aspects of the employer-employee relationship for covered hospitality organizations, it does much more … Continue Reading

Employers Beware! Employees are Permitted to Use Employer’s Email Systems for Non Work Purposes, Including Union Organizing

Overturning existing precedent, the NLRB has ruled that certain employees have a right to use employer email systems for protected communications, unless special circumstances exist. This decision potentially has far-reaching implications and all employers who allow employees to access their email systems should promptly review their policies and practices in light of this decision.… Continue Reading

An In-Depth Analysis of the NLRB’s Decision to Permit Employees to Use Employer Email Systems for Union Organizing and Other Non-Work Purposes

The rights of employees under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act have been given quite the digital treatment over the last few years.  In its newest decision issued on December 11, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that “employee use of email for statutorily protected communications on nonworking time must presumptively be … Continue Reading

NLRB Abandons Fight Over Mandatory Workplace Poster Rule

For over two years, the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) fought to require employers to post in their workplaces a notice of employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  Those efforts met with stiff opposition from employers, and now appear to have come to an end.… Continue Reading

NLRB Launches New Website Regarding Concerted Activity

Last week, in an effort to increase its presence and exposure in the workplace, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) launched a new webpage to define and provide specific examples of what it considers “concerted activity.” As you may be aware, the National Labor Relations Act’s (“NLRA”) Section 7 provides that “[e]mployees shall have the … Continue Reading

President Obama Appoints Three to NLRB During Purported Congressional “Recess”

By Gregg Fisch and Jenny Chang On January 4, 2012, President Obama used his recess powers to appoint three members to the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”). These appointments were made one day after the NLRB lost a quorum on its five-seat board following the expiration of the 2010 recess appointment of NLRB … Continue Reading
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