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.
Ogletree Deakins’ Traditional Labor Relations Practice Group is pleased to announce the publication of the spring 2019 issue of the Practical NLRB Advisor. This edition provides a close look at the development of the independent-contractor standard at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB’s recent decision on this issue—one of the most critical legal questions of the day, both in the context of traditional labor law and in employment law generally—marks yet another significant reversal of Obama-era NLRB decisional law.
The Iowa Supreme Court released five eagerly awaited opinions upholding the 2017 amendments to the Public Employment Relations Act (PERA). The main case on which the four other companion cases relied was American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Iowa Counsel 61 v. State of Iowa, No. 17-1841 (May 17, 2019).
In Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, No. 16-1466 (June 27, 2018), the Supreme Court of the United States significantly expanded the rights of nonunion public employees by holding that unions may not collect fees from such employees without their consent.
The United Auto Workers (UAW) have disclaimed the bargaining unit of 160 skilled-trades workers at Volkswagen’s (VW) Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant. The union organized the maintenance employees in 2015 but failed to secure a first contract for the group. In the past few years, the UAW has accused VW of multiple unfair labor practices, including that VW violated federal law by refusing to bargain.
In a long-awaited decision, United Nurses & Allied Professionals (Kent Hospital), issued on March 1, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that a private-sector union may not require nonmember objectors (also known as Beck objectors) to pay for its political lobbying expenses because lobbying falls outside the union’s “representational function.”
Construction employers and general contractors are all too familiar with Scabby the Rat. The inflatable rat—appearing in sizes of up to a reported 30 feet tall—has infested construction job sites as part of trade union protest activities targeting employers that are not signatory to union labor agreements.
Ogletree Deakins’ Traditional Labor Relations Practice Group is pleased to announce the publication of the winter 2019 issue of the Practical NLRB Advisor.
On January 25, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board issued a decision friendly to businesses—particularly those operating in the gig economy.