On March 31, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that it had finalized a series of amendments to its blocking-charge policy, voluntary recognition bar, and rules governing Section 9(a) recognition in the construction industry.
Every day media outlets are reporting on people’s concerns about how the COVID-19 pandemic is being handled: citizens are complaining about the government; politicians are complaining about each other; and workers are complaining about their employers. In addition, stories about protests, walkouts, or other employee-led work disruptions have become increasingly more common. Whether constructively sincere or mere venting, in the context of labor relations, it is imperative employers know and understand the legal parameters that govern their responses to such employee actions.
On April 1, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board announced it will not extend its temporary suspension of Board-conducted elections past April 3, 2020. Instead, it will resume conducting elections beginning on Monday, April 6, 2020.
On August 9, 2019, we explained that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would be publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding certain proposed amendments to the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) rules on “blocking charges,” a bar on voluntary recognitions, and Section 9(a) recognition in the construction industry. On March 31, 2020, the Board announced that it has finalized the proposed amendments, which it believes “better protect employees’ statutory right of free choice on questions concerning representation.” The final rules will be published in the Federal Register on April 1, 2020, and should take effect after May 31, 2020.
As employers everywhere grapple with the COVID-19 crisis and its impact upon their employees and operations, questions have arisen regarding union contracts that expire on or about March 31, 2020. Although every labor contract and bargaining relationship is unique, established federal labor law principles can be applied to guide employers during this difficult time.
Ogletree Deakins’ Traditional Labor Relations Practice Group is pleased to announce the publication of the winter 2020 issue of the Practical NLRB Advisor. This special double issue offers readers a thorough year in review of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) activity in 2019.
The COVID-19 outbreak implicates many different laws for employers to consider as they develop and refine their responses to rapidly changing circumstances.
Federal labor agencies have kicked their rulemaking efforts into high gear. One month after the U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule defining (and limiting) when one entity can be deemed the joint employer of another’s employees, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has followed suit.
On February 6, 2020, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2474, The Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019 (PRO Act). The PRO Act would fundamentally alter federal labor law by dramatically tilting the playing field in favor of labor unions at the expense of employers and employees.
On December 18, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published final rules that will take effect April 16, 2020, changing and clarifying many of the procedures established in the 2014 amendments to the representation case procedures.
December 2019 brought significant changes to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) case law and election procedures. The following highlights a few of those changes as we get into the new year and policy reviews get underway.
The United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) is a free-trade pact that was agreed to by U.S. President Donald Trump, then-president of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on November 30, 2018. This agreement changes the current rules governing North American trade contained in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
On December 18, 2019, the NLRB published final rules changing and clarifying many of the representation case procedures established in the 2014 amendments. The rules, which will take effect April 16, 2020, state unequivocally that “the Board is not rescinding the 2014 Amendments in their entirety.” Rather, the 2019 rules address issues of fairness and statutory compliance the 2014 amendments altered or did not address.
Arbitration is a strongly favored federal policy and generally can be relied on to resolve even statutory discrimination claims. This is not a novel concept in federal jurisprudence from the Supreme Court of the United States down (although California and the Obama-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have and had a different view).
Some employers may think the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is a law that does not apply to them because their employees are not represented by unions. However, the NLRA’s coverage is much broader than just union relationships.
Apogee Retail reversed the NLRB’s controversial 2015 decision in Banner Estrella Medical Center, which had made it illegal for employers to maintain rules or policies requiring confidentiality of employees during ongoing workplace investigations.
In Caesars Entertainment d/b/a Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, Case 28-CA-060841 (December 16, 2019), the National Labor Relations Board ruled that employees do not have a statutory right under the National Labor Relations Act to use their employer’s email system or other information technology (IT) resources for Section 7 purposes, such as union organizing.
On December 16, 2019, in Valley Hospital Medical Center, Inc., Case 28-CA-213783, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reversed Lincoln Lutheran of Racine, a controversial Obama Board decision that had overruled more than 50 years of precedent. So what was old is new again.
One of the more significant reforms made by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under the leadership of President Barack Obama’s appointees were the modifications made to the representation-case procedures. These regulations became known to many as the “quickie” or “ambush” election regulations and, as those names suggest, resulted in union representation elections being held in shorter periods of time and consequently often caused employees to have to decide the question of union representation without the time needed to fully evaluate that important decision.
On November 20, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Office of the General Counsel granted an appeal filed by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTWLDF) on behalf of a hotel housekeeper in Seattle finding that a neutrality agreement arguably violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and that the hotel’s recognition of the union pursuant to that agreement was unlawful.
In a recent decision, a majority of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) overturned an administrative law judge’s (ALJ) finding that an employer’s confidentiality rule and media rule violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Applying the balancing test articulated in The Boeing Company, 365 NLRB No. 154 (2017), for the first time, the NLRB emphasized that a work rule is lawful if, when reasonably interpreted, it does not interfere with rights protected by the NLRA.
Ogletree Deakins’ Traditional Labor Relations Practice Group is pleased to announce the publication of the summer 2019 issue of the Practical NLRB Advisor. This edition examines the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) new framework for determining whether an incumbent union has lost the support of a majority of bargaining unit members in circumstances where the employer informs the union that it will withdraw recognition when the current agreement expires.
Coming on the heels of its decision in Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation d/b/a Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 368 NLRB No. 46 (2019) in which the Board rebalanced the rights of property owners versus Section 7 rights of employees during a labor dispute, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently issued another pro-employer decision.
Reversing among its most controversial lines of precedent, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a decision on September 10, 2019, that significantly changes the legal standard to determine whether an employer with an existing collective bargaining agreement has a continuing duty to bargain as to particular matters.
On August 22, 2019, a three-member panel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled unanimously in favor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, dismissing an unfair labor practice charge filed by seven unions that represent newspaper employees.
On August 23, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board reversed precedent and rebalanced the rights of property owners versus the Section 7 rights of employees in a labor dispute.
Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), employees have the right to determine whether union representation is in their best interests. The freedom of employees to make this critical choice in an atmosphere free of coercion or intimidation is one of the Act’s bedrock principles.
On July 31, 2019, Mexico’s Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare or Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social (STPS) published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (Diario Oficial de la Federación) (DOF) the protocol to legitimize currently existing collective bargaining agreements (CBAs).
On May 7, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board issued a decision that will be welcomed by employers desiring to maintain differences in the benefits provided to their union and nonunion employees.