Through Board decisions, rule making, and NLRB General Counsel’s (“GC”) memoranda, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “the Board”) continues to expand the potential penalties for employers found to have committed unfair labor practices (“ULP”). The shift toward an employee-friendly enforcement scheme has continued with GC Jennifer Abruzzo’s latest memorandum, issued on April 8, 2024, wherein the GC stated her desire to expand the availability of remedies for violations of labor law to even those employees who did not file, or are not identified in, ULP charges. Continue Reading NLRB General Counsel Issues New Memo Further Expanding Penalties for Unfair Labor Practice Violations

As we previously reported and discussed here, the Cemex Construction Materials Pacific, LLC ruling has dramatically changed the threshold that will prompt the National Labor Relation Board (“NLRB”) to issue mandatory bargaining orders and is going to have a significant impact on the manner in which employers may respond to union organizing efforts. As the NLRB held in Cemex, if a union demands voluntary recognition based on a showing of majority support, the employer has two choices, which it must exercise within two weeks: (i) recognize and bargain with the union, or (ii) file a RM-Petition to initiate the NLRB conducting a secret ballot election. If the employer chooses the latter, and commits an unfair labor practice during the election period, the NLRB likely will require the employer to recognize and bargain with the union.Continue Reading Judge Issues First Post-Cemex Bargaining Order Despite Employer Winning Union Election

Major changes are coming to the Minor League. In April, Major League Baseball (MLB) players and owners voted to ratify a historic collective bargaining agreement that, for the first time in history, covers Minor League players. MLB owners voted unanimously to ratify the agreement on April 3, following a March 31 vote in which more than 99 percent of Minor League players voted to ratify the agreement. The five-year agreement, which was negotiated by MLB and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA), more than doubles the salaries at all Minor League levels and provides that Minor League players will be paid almost year-round.Continue Reading A Major Deal for the Minor League: California Bill Paves the Way for Historic Collective Bargaining Agreement for Minor League Baseball

As we previously reported here, at the beginning of 2023, the Supreme Court heard oral argument on one of the most anticipated labor cases on the high court’s docket in decades to address whether the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or the “Act”) preempts state court lawsuits for tort damages caused by unions during strikes. On June 1, 2023, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Glacier Northwest, Inc., dba Calportland v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union No. 174, U.S., No. 21 – 1449, reversing the Washington Supreme Court’s decision and held that the employer’s state law tort claims were not preempted by the Act.Continue Reading SCOTUS Issues Decision Allowing State Court Lawsuit Against Union for Property Damage Caused During Labor Dispute

On March 22, 2023 Jennifer Abruzzo, General Counsel (“GC”) of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) issued a memorandum intended to assist the Regions in responding to inquiries regarding the Board decision in McLaren Macomb, 372 NLRB No. 58 (2023).Continue Reading NLRB General Counsel Releases Memo Concerning Confidentiality and Non-Disparagement Clauses in Severance Agreements Post-McLaren

As we previously reported, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) under President Biden is working to undo much of any employer-friendly actions taken during the previous administration. On February 21, 2023, the Board continued in its trend and wiped away a Trump-era ruling which gave employers certain latitude in drafting and executing severance agreements with their employees. Specifically, the Board, in a divided decision, ruled employers can no longer offer severance agreements containing clauses that (i) prevent employees from making disparaging remarks about their former employer or (ii) compel departing employees to keep the contents of the severance agreement confidential.Continue Reading We Can Now Add Civility and Secrecy to the List of Things Money Can’t Buy: NLRB Rules Non-Disparagement and Confidentiality Clauses in Severance Agreements Unlawfully Restrain and Coerce Employees

Did an NLRB’s Regional Director abuse her discretion when she directed a mail ballot election instead of an in-person (manual) ballot election during the COVID-19 pandemic?  Though not getting the attention it deserves, this is an extremely important issue going to the very integrity of the Board’s representation process.  Manual balloting has long been the Board’s preferred manner of conducting an election because mail balloting is held under less controlled conditions and, thus, more prone to irregularities.  Moreover, mail ballot elections may result in lower employee election participation.  Most importantly to employers, mail ballot elections also generally favor unions.
Continue Reading The Board Weighs In on the COVID Mail Ballot Controversy

On June 23, the National Labor Relations Board’s (Board or NLRB) issued a decision in Mountaire Farms, Inc., 5-RD-256888 in which the Board granted review of a Regional Director’s decision applying the Board’s contract bar doctrine, finding that the case presented substantial issues warranting the NLRB’s review and announcing its intention to establish a schedule for the filing of briefs on review and inviting amicus briefs.  On July 7, the Board acted on that intention and issued a Notice and Invitation To File Briefs in the case (Notice).
Continue Reading Board Invites Briefs and Signals a Possible Shift in Its Contract Bar Rules

As we previously discussed earlier this month, District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson issued an Order in American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations v. National Labor Relations Board, Civil Case No. 2020-0675, invalidating five of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB or Board) soon-to-be implemented new elections rules (2019 rules).  Issued in haste on May 30 to head off the Board’s May 31 implementation of the new rules, Judge Jackson’s Order offered little explanation for her decision except to say that she found each of the challenged new election procedure rules unlawful and set them aside because they were “not procedural rules” exempted from the Administrative Procedure Act’s (APA) notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements.
Continue Reading Judge Jackson Explains the Basis for Her Invalidation of the Board’s Election Regulations

On June 10, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) issued Bethany College, 369 NLRB No. 98, in which it held that it does not have jurisdiction over matters concerning teachers or faculty at bona fide religious educational institutions.  Bona fide religious educational institutions are those who (1) hold themselves out to students, faculty and the community as providing a religious educational environment; (2) are nonprofit organizations; and (3) are affiliated with, or owned, operated or controlled by a recognized religious organization or with an entity, membership of which is determined, at least in part, with reference to religion.  In Bethany College, the Board also overruled its decision in Pacific Lutheran University, 361 NLRB 1404 (2014), where the Board had concluded it could assert jurisdiction over a religious school and its teachers if the teachers were not held out as performing a specific role in creating or maintaining the school’s religious educational environment.  In overruling Pacific Lutheran on constitutional grounds, the Bethany College Board found that its Pacific Lutheran decision could not be squared with the First Amendment and Supreme Court precedent.
Continue Reading The NLRB Rethinks Its Position on When It May Assert Jurisdiction Over Religious Schools in Labor Matters Involving Faculty Members