NLRA Issues for Employers Raised by the COVID-19 Pandemic

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.

NLRB Finalizes Rules on Blocking Charges, Voluntary Recognition, and Section 9(a) Recognition

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.

Contract Negotiations in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic: What if Your Union Contract Expires on March 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.

Long-Awaited NLRB Joint-Employer Rule Sets Employer-Friendly Standard for Joint-Employer Determinations

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.

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO Act) of 2019: An Outline of its Proposed Labor Reforms

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.

USMCA Review: A New Deal for Labour in the ‘New NAFTA’

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).

The NLRB’s Revised Representation Case Procedures, Part I: The New Pre-Election Procedures

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 Decisions Matter: The NLRB Reverts to Prior Standards on Deferral to Arbitration and Pre-Arbitration Settlements

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).

NLRB Restores Employers’ Right to Restrict Employees’ Personal Use of Company Email and Other IT Resources

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.

Trump NLRB Modifies Obama Board’s Union Election Case Regulations

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.

Common Neutrality Agreement Provisions Between Union and Hotel May Violate the NLRA

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.

NLRB Takes Commonsense Approach on Work Rule Enforcement

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.

The Practical NLRB Advisor: Summer 2019

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.

NLRB Continues Trend to Protect Employer Property Rights

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.

Mexico’s New Requirements to Validate Existing Collective Bargaining Agreements: What Employers Need to Know

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).