Union Organizing and the NLRB

On May 7, 2013, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit invalidated a rule promulgated by the NLRB that would have required employers to post notices of employee’s rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) in the workplace.  According to the Court, employers have the right not to speak, and thus can be silent, on these issues.  Another case regarding the same issue is currently pending on appeal in the Fourth Circuit.

Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Strikes Down NLRB Union Posting Rule — Silence Is Golden, At Least For Now

Furthering its controversial ruling in Banner Health System d/b/a Banner Estrella Medical Center, 358 NLRB No. 93 (July 30, 2012), the National Labor Relations Board’s Office of the General Counsel recently released a memorandum providing additional guidance on the confidentiality of internal workplace investigations.  Banner Health held that to require confidentiality of investigations, an employer must show more than a generalized concern with protecting the integrity of its investigations.  Rather, an employer must “determine whether in any give[n] investigation witnesses need[ed] protection, evidence [was] in danger of being destroyed, testimony [was] in danger of being fabricated, and there [was] a need to prevent a cover up.”

Continue Reading NLRB Releases Guidance On Workplace Investigation Confidentiality Policies

In numerous prior posts, we have reported about the pro-labor decisions and regulatory changes by the Democratic-majority National Labor Relation Board.  Unfortunately, the Board is at it again, this time in WKYC-TV, Inc., 359 NLRB No. 30 (2012) , reversing a fifty-year-old precedent regarding the effect of contract expiration on a dues checkoff clause contained in the expired contract.

Continue Reading NLRB Reverses 50-Year-Old Precedent; Strips Employers of Longstanding Economic Leverage During Contract Negotiations

Those employers hoping for an appellate court decision on President Obama’s controversial “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board will have to wait a while longer.  In Richards v. NLRB, 7th Cir. No. 12-1973 (decision issued December 26, 2012), the Seventh Circuit sidestepped a ruling on the “recess” appointment question by denying the employer’s petition for review on standing grounds.

Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Sidesteps Recess Appointment Question In Recent Decision

Michigan GOP leaders announced plans on December 6, 2012, to fast track “right to work” legislation during the lame duck session.  Just hours after the legislation was introduced and amid protests at the state Capitol, both the state Senate and House of Representatives approved bills prohibiting private-sector unions from requiring non-union employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment.  The Senate also quickly voted to approve a bill banning public-sector unions, except those representing police officers and firefighters, from requiring non-union members to pay union dues. 

Continue Reading Michigan Legislature Votes to Approve “Right to Work” Legislation

The National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) General Counsel recently released an analysis of contested at-will employment clauses in two employment handbooks and ultimately concluded that neither violated the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).

Employees had filed charges with the NLRB alleging that the at-will employment clauses contained in the employee handbooks distributed by Rocha Transportation, a California trucking company, and SWH Corporation d/b/a Mimi’s Café, a restaurant in Arizona, defined at-will employment so broadly that employees would reasonably think that they could not engage in activity protected by the NLRA.  The clause contained in Rocha Transportation’s handbook advised its employees that their employment is at-will and may be terminated at any time.  It also stated that “No manager, supervisor, or employee of Rocha Transportation has any authority to enter into an agreement for employment for any specified period of time or to make an agreement for employment other than at-will.  Only the president of the Company has the authority to make any such agreement and then only in writing.”  Mimi’s Café’s description of at-will employment in its handbook included the sentence: “No representative of the Company has authority to enter into any agreement contrary to the foregoing “employment at will” relationship.”  The NLRB’s Division of Advice prepared two memos which found that each of the clauses described above were lawful.

Continue Reading NLRB Finds At-Will Clauses In Two Employee Handbooks Are Lawful

As noted yesterday in our post, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia’s decision to strike down the National Labor Relations Board’s “quickie” election rules was based on a highly technical analysis.  Specifically, the Court found that the Board failed to obtain a proper quorum of at least three Board Members because of Republican Member Brian Hayes’ limited involvement in the rulemaking process.  However, the Court indicated that the Board might have authority to issue the quickie election rules if it musters a legally recognized quorum.

Continue Reading UPDATE: NLRB’s “Quickie Election” Rules Struck Down . . . But For How Long?

Late yesterday afternoon, Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia struck down the National Labor Relations Board’s recently passed "quickie" election rule. The Board’s rule, published in December 2011 and purportedly effective as of April 30, 2012, amended election case procedures to significantly reduce the time between the filing of a union election petition and the holding of a representation election.

Continue Reading NLRB’s “Quickie Election” Rules Struck Down….But For How Long?