Many in the labor community are familiar with the Machinists Union’s long running effort to unionize Boeing’s South Carolina-based 787 Dreamliner manufacturing facility.  After failing in two previous attempts to organize the entire facility, the Union recently won a bid to organize a “micro-unit” limited to a group of flight line technicians and inspectors. 
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The saga continues with regards to the status of a December 2017 NLRB decision that loosened restrictions on employer workplace rules.  As we reported, on December 14, 2017, the NLRB overruled the “reasonably construe” standard for evaluating the validity of employer work rules and replaced it with an evaluation that balances 1) the nature and extent of a rule’s impact on NLRA rights and 2) an employer’s legitimate justifications for the rule.  The new standard is widely-perceived as a victory for employers and indicated the newly-composed NLRB’s intent to revise the law in situations where the previous administration had stretched key legal principles too far, turning the “reasonably construe” standard into a “possibly construe” standard.
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On April 16, newly confirmed member John Ring was sworn in as the fifth member and Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board, establishing a Republican-controlled Board.   While all has been relatively quiet with regard to rulings from the Board,  we will likely see a rise in activity now that the NLRB (with a  newly-minted majority) is poised to roll back some of the Obama-era rulings.
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Recently the National Labor Relations Board invited interested parties and amici to submit briefs in Velox Express, Inc. to address under what circumstances, if any, the Board should deem an employer’s misclassifying statutory employees as independent contractors constitutes a violation of Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act.  Briefs from parties and interested amici must be submitted on or before April 16, 2018.
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We previously informed you of the NLRB’s decision in Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors, Ltd. and Brandt Construction Co. in which the Board  overruled the controversial joint employer test which it had announced in Browning-Ferris Industries. On February 26, 2018, the Board entered an order vacating the Hy-Brand decision.  It did so in light of a determination by the Board’s Designated Agency Ethics Official, that Board Member William Emanuel “is, and should have been, disqualified from participating in the [Hy-Brand] proceeding.” 
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Raytheon Network Centric Systems, 365 NLRB No. 161 (Dec. 15, 2017), is one of several decisions issued this month by the National Labor Relations Board’s (the “Board”) new Republican majority which reverse Obama-era precedent. Raytheon overrules the Board’s decision E.I. du Pont de Nemours, 364 NLRB No. 113 (2016), which limited the changes employers can make unilaterally in a union environment.
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Earlier this week, the NLRB issued yet another troubling decision in the joint employer space, a world the Board already turned upside-down last summer with its landmark Browning Ferris ruling. In Miller Anderson, the Board overturned Bush-era precedent and held that a union seeking to represent employees in bargaining units that combine both solely and jointly employed employees is no longer required to obtain the consent of the employers, provided the proposed bargaining unit is appropriate under “traditional” Board precedent.
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