It’s now officially public: under the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB)  General Counsel Peter B. Robb, unions may face greater scrutiny and a higher burden in defending against claims that they violated the duty of fair representation.  Under the National Labor Relations Act, unions owe this duty to its members and can be liable under Section 8(b)(1)(A) if they represent them arbitrarily, discriminatorily, or in bad faith. Continue Reading New General Counsel Memorandum Reiterates The NLRB’s Policy of Increased Scrutiny of Unions

The NLRB’s Office of the General Counsel recently issued an internal directive regarding the manner in which NLRB Regions prosecute duty of fair representation charges against unions.  Under the National Labor Relations Act, unions have a duty of fair representation to the members of the bargaining unit it represents by engaging in conduct that is not arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith, particularly with regard to the processing of worker grievances.  Board law has established (and unions typically offer as a defense) that “mere negligence” alone does not amount to arbitrary conduct that would serve to breach the duty of fair representation.

Continue Reading NLRB General Counsel Elevates Standard for Unions’ Duty of Fair Representation

The National Labor Relations Board issued a decision that serves as a reminder to employers of their bargaining obligations upon implementing changes to their business.  Rigid Pak Corp., 366 NLRB No. 137 (2018) involves a unionized company (“Rigid”) that manufactured and sold plastic products.  Rigid maintained an injection-molding division and a blow-molding division housed on different sides of its facility.  The injection-molding division manufactured open-head containers, lids, and crates while the blow-molding division manufactured plastic bottles.  In 2014, Rigid encountered various financial difficulties, and to address them, the company entered into a supply agreement to outsource its work to a third-party manufacturer.

Continue Reading NLRB Provides Refresher On Decision Bargaining Obligations

In a highly anticipated decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public employee unions may not collect involuntary fees from the public employees they represent.  Janus v. AFSCME, U.S., No. 16-1466, 6/27/18.  Here are the key points of the court’s decision:

Janus involved state employees represented in a bargaining unit by an Illinois public employee union.  The union was the exclusive collective bargaining representative of all the employees in a bargaining unit.  The union bargained with the State of Illinois for a collective bargaining agreement covering the employees in bargaining unit.  The union also engaged in other activities not directly related to the bargaining and administration of the collective bargaining agreement. Continue Reading Supreme Court Strikes Down Involuntary Public Employee Union Fees

As we reported last December, the NLRB, in The Boeing Company, 365 NLRB No. 154 (2017), reversed its workplace rule standard under Lutheran Heritage.  Specifically, instead of assessing whether an employee could “reasonably construe” a workplace rule as barring the exercise of rights under the NLRA, the new test will evaluate the nature and extent of the potential impact on NLRA rights and the legitimate justifications associated with the rule.  The results of the new balancing test will place the rule in one of three categories: Category 1 (lawful work rules), Category 2 (work rules that warrant individualized scrutiny in each case), or Category 3 (unlawful work rules).

Continue Reading NLRB Issues Guidance Memorandum for Workplace Rules

A common misconception among banks and financial services companies is that if they are non-unionized, the National Labor Relations Act does not apply to them. Hunton & Williams LLP partner Emily Burkhardt Vicente and senior attorney Amber Rogers discuss the key points non-unionized financial services companies should know about the NLRA. View the 5-minute video here.