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Total Articles: 162

NLRB Reinstates Liberal Standard For Unionizing Temp Workers

In today’s 3-1 decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) resurrected a union-friendly standard making it easier for unions to combine jointly employed temporary workers with an employer’s existing workforce to form a union. For over a decade, employers had enjoyed a standard which permitted them to block such a combined pairing by refusing to provide consent. As of today, however, that standard has been scrapped (Miller & Anderson, Inc.).

eLABORate: Texas Judge Blocks DOL's 'Persuader' Rule

A Texas federal judge entered a nationwide injunction yesterday, barring the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") from enforcing its "persuader" rule. According to U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings, the persuader rule threatens employers' rights to secure legal advice about union organization.

NLRB General Counsel Orders Complaints in All Withdrawal-of-Recognition Cases

In yet another assault on long-established labor law precedent, on May 9, 2016, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Richard Griffin ordered the issuance of NLRB complaints in every case in which an employer withdraws recognition from a union without the union first being decertified by the results of a secret ballot election. In General Counsel (GC) Memo 16-03, Griffin instructs the NLRB's Regional Directors, Officers-in-Charge, and Resident Officers to issue a complaint in any unfair labor practice case where an employer withdraws recognition from a union, even based on overwhelming "objective evidence" of loss of majority status, without being certified by the results of an NLRB-conducted secret-ballot election.

Religious Affiliation Is Not Enough – The Ever-Expanding Reach of the National Labor Relations Act

The National Labor Relations Act has been enjoying a resurgence in attention and application in recent years. From last year’s thirty page memorandum from the National Labor Relations Board’s Office of the General Counsel regarding “Employer Rules” reminding all employers – unionized or not – that handbooks may not contain any language that may have a chilling effect on employees’ rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, to President Obama’s comment that Tom Brady’s “Deflategate” case was an example of why unions are still important, the expansive reach of the NLRA has been at the forefront of employment law.

Labor Board Will Decide Organizing Rights of Non-Teaching Employees at Religious Colleges, Universities

The National Labor Relations Board is set to decide if the same test used to determine whether teaching employees of a religious school are subject to the Board’s jurisdiction should be extended to non-teaching employees. Islamic Saudi Academy, Case 05-RC-080474 (May 12, 2016).

NLRB to Decide Organizing Rights of Non-Teaching Employees at Religious Colleges, Universities

The National Labor Relations Board is set to decide if the same test used to determine whether teaching employees of a religious school are subject to the Board’s jurisdiction should be extended to non-teaching employees. Islamic Saudi Academy, Case 05-RC-080474 (May 12, 2016).

Congress Seeks to Block ‘Persuader’ Rule

Republicans in the House of Representatives have introduced a joint resolution (H.J. Res. 87) expressing congressional disapproval and seeking to block implementation of the United States Department of Labor’s controversial Final Rule relating to “persuader” activity under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). The Rule is set to become effective on April 25, 2016.

New Rule Requiring Disclosure of Attorneys/Consultants Hired to Aid in Responding to Union Activity

Yesterday, the Department of Labor's controversial "Persuader Rule" was published in the Federal Register and will require employers, beginning July 1, 2016, to make disclosures to the DOL regarding consultants and attorneys they hire to assist them in persuading employees regarding representational (union organizing) and collective bargaining matters. Previously, such disclosures were required only if the consultant had direct contact with the employees, but not if the consultant merely gave advice and assistance to the employer on how to communicate with employees.

DOL's Controversial Final 'Persuader Activity' Rule Expands Employer Reporting Requirements

On March 24, the US Department of Labor (DOL) published a controversial and long-awaited final rule under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) that expands an employer's obligation to report persuader activity - activity engaged in to directly or indirectly persuade employees concerning their rights to organize and collectively bargain.

Equal Time for Union Organizers: How Far Will the NLRB Go?

Recently, 106 labor law professors and labor studies academics filed a rulemaking petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seeking an administrative rule that would require employers to provide “equal time” to union organizers to campaign on employer-controlled premises at the employer’s cost. This “equal time” requirement would be imposed if an employer conducted meetings at any time after the employer first became aware of a union organizing campaign or had a sense that such a campaign was likely to be launched.

NLRB Says "Road Supervisors" Entitled to Organize

The NLRB continues to scrutinize closely cases presenting issues of supervisory status. In Veolia Transportation Services, Inc., 363 NLRB No. 98 (slip op. January 20, 2016), an NLRB panel voted 2 to 1 to overturn a Regional Director’s decision that a transportation company’s road supervisors possessed the authority to discipline and reward employees and therefore were supervisors within the meaning of Section 2(11) of the NLRA.

NLRB Seeks Briefs on Question of Graduate Students' Right to Organize

On January 13, 2016, the National Labor Relations Board issued a call for interested parties to file briefs addressing the Board’s current standard on whether graduate student assistants are “employees” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Employer “Captive Audience” Communications Rule Under Attack

A group of 106 university and law school professors of labor law and employment relations has petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to issue a rule amending its long-held position regarding “captive audience” meetings held by employers in connection with NLRB-conducted union elections. The petition, filed on January 15, 2016, requires “equal time” for unions, if requested; if the union is not given equal time, an employer’s election victory will be overturned and a new election conducted.

Postcards from the R-Case Edge: Insights into Supervisory Status Issues in a Proposed Unit

Since the new “ambush” election rules went into effect on April 14, 2015, there have been over 1,000 petitions for elections filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Approximately 60 of those petitions have led to pre-election representation-(R-case) hearings to determine unit issues. I participated in one of those 60 or so cases earlier this month and had the opportunity to glean insights on how the new procedures impact employers.

"Click Here To Organize" -- NLRB now Accepts E-Signatures on Authorization Cards

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has made union organizing by email and social media a reality. The NLRB’s General Counsel issued Memorandum 15-08 on September 1, 2015, stating that, “[e]ffective immediately, parties may submit electronic signatures in support of a showing of interest.” On October 26, 2015, the General Counsel issued Revised Memorandum 15-08 providing more detail and examples of how the new process will work. Employers should expect unions to take advantage of this groundbreaking development by using email and social media to expedite and expand the organizing process.

NLRB Poised to Reconsider Brown After Granting Review of UAW’s Petition to Organize Graduate Students at The New School

In what some are characterizing as a final effort to shape the landscape of unionization at private colleges and universities during the Obama administration, the NLRB granted the United Auto Workers’ request to review an NLRB’s Regional Director's two-time dismissal of the union’s petition seeking to organize graduate students at The New School in New York City. The decision has generated discussion around the broader topic of whether the NLRB will use the review of The New School case to reverse its position on unionization at private colleges and universities

Swipe Right For Unions? Companies Should Brace Themselves For Labor Organizing Version 2.0

Unless you’ve been hibernating, hiding under a rock, or vacationing in a location without Wi-Fi reception, you may have noticed that the last several months have been kinder to labor unions than any in recent memory. Changes in labor laws have provided an opening for labor unions to reassert their relevance in the American workplace after decades of decline.

NLRB Dismisses Northwestern Football Players' Organizing Petition

A unanimous decision on Monday by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ended the Northwestern University scholarship football players’ bid to unionize — without addressing the key issue that has plagued collegiate athletics for so many years: whether college athletes are employees and entitled to the rights as such under federal law.

NLRB’s Unanimous Decision Is Major Victory for College Sports

Yesterday, in a highly anticipated decision, the National Labor Relations Board (the Board) declined to exercise jurisdiction over the College Athletes Players Association’s (CAPA) representation petition. CAPA asked the Board to find that scholarship football players at Northwestern University are employees within the meaning of Section 2(3) of the National Labor Relations Act (the Act), thereby opening the door to unionization. Although the Board chose not to determine whether grant-in-aid scholarship football players at Northwestern are “employees” under the Act—even noting that the question does not have an “obvious answer”—the Board found that asserting jurisdiction in the case would not promote the purposes of the Act.

The NLRB Refuses to Require its General Counsel to Explain the Joint Employer Case Against McDonald's

The National Labor Relations Board continues the string of controversial moves in its unfair labor practice cases against McDonald’s. In December 2014, the NLRB’s General Counsel filed thirteen complaints naming the franchisor, McDonald’s USA, as a joint employer for alleged unfair labor practices of various local franchisees. On August 14, 2015, the Board issued a decision affirming an Administrative Law Judge’s decision denying McDonald’s USA, LLC’s motion for a bill of particulars.1 A bill of particulars would have required the General Counsel to specify the particular facts and law that support its theory of joint employer liability.

NLRB Rebuffs Northwestern Football Players' Unionization Bid

In a case that sparked nationwide debate, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has declined jurisdiction and, therefore, dismissed an attempt by Northwestern University football players to unionize. The players claimed they are university employees and should be allowed to form a union and collectively bargain.

NLRB Sacks College Football Player Union Organizing Drive

Earlier today, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) unanimously decided that college football players at Northwestern University cannot comprise an appropriate bargaining unit, squelching their attempt to form the first-ever union comprised of collegiate athletes. The decision by the five-member panel puts to bed this organizing effort – for now.

D.C. Circuit Declares AT&T Had Right to Ban "Prisoner" T-Shirts

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ruled that AT&T had a right to forbid employees, when interacting with the public, from wearing t-shirts that the company reasonably believed could harm its relationship with customers or its public image. In Southern New England Telephone Company v. National Labor Relations Board, Nos. 11-1099 and 11-1143 (D.C. Cir. July 10, 2015), the court vacated and refused to enforce a decision by the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) that found the company’s actions unlawful.

The NLRB is Primed to Change How Unions Organize Temporary Employees

Under current National Labor Relations Board rules, a union can organize a bargaining unit of temporary employees, and the user employer’s solely employed regular employees, only if both employers consent. However, the Board is primed to change this rule in Miller & Anderson, Inc.1 On May 18, 2015, the NLRB granted review of a Regional Director’s 2012 decision to dismiss a union election petition. By granting review of the Regional Director’s decision, the Board appears to be on the verge of including jointly employed temporary employees in a single unit with employees solely employed by one of the joint employers.

NLRB's General Counsel Confirms an Employer is Not Required to Provide Information Relating to a Union's Unsupported Belief that Two Separate Subsidiaries are Operating as One

Executive Summary: In a case handled by FordHarrison attorneys, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel recently held that an employer was not required to provide information regarding the non-bargaining unit employees of a separate subsidiary to the union representing its employees. Dismissing unfair labor practice charges filed against the employer, the General Counsel held that the union failed to present objective evidence that the two subsidiaries were acting as a single employer; accordingly it was not entitled to information on the non-bargaining unit employees. See ABM Indus., Inc., NLRB Div. of Advice, No. 18-CA-136876 and 19-CA-124390, April 8, 2015, (released April 22, 2015).

Unions Are Poised To Make Gains In South's Auto Industry

Employers working for foreign-based automotive manufacturers in the 13 right-to-work states throughout the South should consider preparing for what may become a protracted battle over industry unionization. Volkswagen AG may have unwittingly shifted the paradigm last November when it became the first foreign-based automotive manufacturer to open its doors (in a manner of speaking) to organized labor at a domestic plant that is not jointly owned by an American-based manufacturer. A new policy at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant — entitled the Community Organization Engagement policy — allows labor organizations to be involved in employee-related discussions if it can be established by an outside auditor that the labor organization has enrolled at least 15 percent of the plant’s workers in a relevant employee group.

NLRB OVERRULES ITSELF ON EMAIL POLICY

In 2007, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided in Register Guard that employers could limit employee use of company email systems to business purposes so long as the limitation was applied consistently to all non-business communications. In other words, the policy could not be focused solely on prohibiting “protected concerted activity,” such as union organizing, or discussing hours, wages, and other terms and conditions of employment.

eLABORate: NLRB Rules that Employees May Use Work Email for Union Communications

In a divided opinion issued on December 11, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board decided that employees who have been given access to their employer’s email system in the course of their work are entitled to use the system on nonworking time to engage in statutorily protected discussions about their terms and conditions of employment. Purple Communications, Inc., 361 NLRB 126 (2014). In so doing, the NLRB overruled its divided 2007 decision, Register Guard, 351 NLRB 1110 (2007), to the extent that it held that employees had no statutory right to use their employer’s email system for Section 7 purposes.

Faculty Can Unionize Absent Actual Managerial Control, NLRB Decides

Last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) revised its standard for determining when faculty members can unionize. Although the decision is expected to be appealed, it undoubtedly will open the door to a new wave of organizing efforts targeting private college and university faculties. Pacific Lutheran University.

NLRB Opens Company Email Systems to Employees for Communications Protected by the National Labor Relations Act

Executive Summary: Perhaps overlooked due to the announcement by the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB" or the "Board") of its revised procedures for union elections, the NLRB issued a decision on December 11 that will have a far-reaching impact on employers' e-mail systems.

NLRB Overrules Itself and Appropriates Companies' Email Systems for Employees' Protected Communications

In 2007 the National Labor Relations Board held, in The Guard Publishing Company, dba Register Guard, 351 NLRB 1110 (2007), that employers do not have to permit union organizing activity over their own email system.

NLRB Follows Expected Course, Adopts Highly Controversial "Quickie Election" Rule With Sweeping Changes to Union Election Procedures

Today, the National Labor Relations Board announced that it has adopted a final rule amending its representation case procedures, implementing the controversial "quickie" or "ambush" election rule that makes sweeping changes to the Board's current procedures. In its press release, the Board characterized its action as "modernizing its rules in light of modern technology, making its procedures more transparent and uniform across regions, and eliminating unnecessary litigation and delay." Barring any legal challenges, the new rule will take effect on April 14, 2015.

Latest NLRB decision has employers seeing . . . Purple!

On December 11, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) stoked the fire that has been building around issues related to employees’ use of company e-mail for non-work-related issues. It did so when it held that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) supports an employee’s right to use an employer’s e-mail system for non-business purposes, including discussions about union organizing. Purple Communications, Inc. and Communications Workers, AFL-CIO, 361 N.L.R.B. No. 126 (December 11, 2014).

NLRB Overturns Register Guard Decision Governing Employee Use of Employers’ E-mail Systems; Allows Use for Section 7 Activity by Employees

The National Labor Relations Board today overruled its Register Guard decision that generally prohibited employees from using their employer’s computers to engage in protected activity, and permitted employers to lawfully discipline employees for doing so. This morning in Purple Communications, the sharply divided Board found that Register Guard was “incorrect in several significant respects,” and expanded employees’ existing rights to communicate in the workplace about their terms and conditions of employment to reach communications over employer e-mail systems as well. Absent “special circumstances” justifying total bans on non-work use of e-mail, the Board’s new Purple Communications standard requires employers to accommodate employees’ use of e-mail for protected concerted activity, subject only to “uniform and consistently enforced controls” that are “necessary to maintain production and discipline.” The decision, which applies retroactively to all cases pending before the Board, carries significant legal implications, and will require all employers to make some immediate policy changes. However, the case may ultimately have fewer practical effects on employers than other recent reversals of NLRB precedent.

The Dawn of "Micro-Unions": A Scary Proposition for Employers

Executive Summary: Unions can be difficult enough to manage, even for experienced employers. Imagine taking your workforce of 100 employees and dividing them up into 10 different collective bargaining units… represented by 10 different unions… and 10 different collective bargaining agreements… with 10 different effective dates. Sound like an administrative nightmare? Welcome to the brave new world of "micro-unions." Recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decisions have legitimized the use of such micro bargaining units and, by so doing, have thrust unparalleled confusion into the already murky waters of collective bargaining. This article discusses how the concept of micro-unions came about and how employers can best prepare and protect themselves from having micro-unions form in their workplaces.

Avoid Making Your Business “Easy-to-Unionize”

Last year, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) put its stamp of approval on “micro-units,” or small groups of employees who may unionize. The Board recently decided two cases involving micro-units in Macy’s and Bergdorf Goodman, which should make employers ask themselves, “Does my business model make it easier for a union to organize my employees?”

The New Union-Organizing Tool … Embarrassment

Unions and other third parties have never before so heavily used public embarrassment as a means of organizing employees. The key to union organizing is to find a disgruntled employee who will serve as a leader and capitalize on existing workplace problems. These problems are typically compounded by communication breakdowns and ineffective supervisors. Surveys show that the most divisive workplace issues are a sense of unfairness, discrimination, an unsafe workplace, and a sense that the employer does not care about employees.

Box Score Petitions Compiled By The Hospitality Update Staff

In the most recent 60-day period, we were aware of 19 petitions filed against hospitality employers.

NLRB Decisions on “Micro Units” Provide Guidance for Employers Concerned With Union Organizing

In two recent decisions, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reached different conclusions on whether unions can organize small groups of employees in a workplace. While the NLRB’s decisions in Macy’s, Inc. and The Neiman Marcus Group, Inc. d/b/a Bergdorf Goodman, both deal with retail employers, the principles articulated are applicable to employers in all industries. The decisions constitute a roadmap for unions seeking to gain representation rights over workers in single departments or within single job classifications. Employers concerned about union organizing need to understand the new paradigm that the NLRB created with these cases and take proactive steps to counter the expected surge in union organizing.

SCOTUS Preview: Is the End in Sight for Public Employee Unionism (and Fair Share Fees)?

Does a collective bargaining agreement that requires nonunion home-care workers to pay a fee to a union representative violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? In the next few days the Supreme Court of the United States will decide this question in a case challenging a state law requiring workers who provide in-home care to disabled individuals through Medicaid-waiver programs to pay “fair share fees.” The case, Harris v. Quinn, will determine the constitutionality of an Illinois law that requires these workers to accept and financially support a union as their exclusive representative to petition the state for greater reimbursements from its Medicaid programs. The Court will also rule on whether the claims brought by some employees who have rejected unionization and are not subject to fair share fees are ripe for judicial review.

Healthcare Employers Must Be Consistent When Restricting Union Buttons and Other Insignia

Executive Summary: The National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB" or "Board") recently held that a healthcare employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by prohibiting employees from wearing union protest stickers. See HealthBridge Mgmt., LLC, 360 N.L.R.B. No. 118 (June 22, 2014). In the 2-1 decision, the Board found that HealthBridge could not prohibit employees from wearing union protest stickers inside or outside patient care areas because its rules were only selectively enforced, and HealthBridge could not establish "special circumstances" to justify the ban.

Northwestern Football Players' Unionization Remains Long Shot

An article by Freedley Hunsicker Jr., was featured in The Legal Intelligencer on May 6, 2014.

Will the Star Quarterback Be Sacked by the Taxman?

On March 26, 2014, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided scholarship football players at Northwestern University are employees because they “perform services for the benefit of the employer for which they receive compensation.” A main factor in the regional director’s decision was that the monetary value of football scholarships is “as much as $76,000 per calendar year” meaning that the players receive in “total compensation in excess of one quarter of a million dollars throughout the four or five years they perform football duties.” The regional director also found that Northwestern’s scholarship football players are not primarily students but rather are “employees” under the common law definition. He noted that Northwestern has not treated scholarships or stipends as taxable income but held that not to be dispositive, citing a 2002 case decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Seattle Opera v. NLRB.

Are We There Yet?: Do Northwestern Players Have a Union or not?

When a Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that scholarship football players at Northwestern University were employees entitled to vote on union representation, many media reports treated the case as a victory for the union. But as one Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” The union scored first, but the game has not been decided.

NLRB to Decide Whether Northwestern’s Scholarship Football Players Are Students or Employees

Late this afternoon, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, D.C. granted the request for review (i.e., an appeal) filed by Northwestern University in the much-watched case involving the status of Northwestern’s grant-in-aid scholarship football players. Northwestern is asking the NLRB to review and reverse the decision of the regional director of the NLRB’s Chicago office, finding that Northwestern’s scholarship football players (but not walk-ons) are “employees” under the law and eligible to vote on the issue of union representation.

Northwestern Ruling Is Full Of Conflicts

Popular support for unionization of college athletes grew out of legitimate safety concerns and recognition that some players may need stipends to supplement their scholarships, Kevin wrote. However, the recent narrowly applicable, politically driven decision to permit scholarship football players at Northwestern University to unionize does more harm than good.

Flag On The Play: Will Unions Change the Game of College Sports?

In a historic move, members of the Northwestern University football team recently took initial steps to form a union and seek collective-bargaining rights with the university. Shortly thereafter, the team filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In a decision that has some experts scratching their heads, the Board’s Regional Director in Chicago issued a decision finding that scholarship athletes are, in fact, employees under the National Labor Relations Act and are eligible to vote for union representation.

Shame On Who? Responding to Union Corporate Campaigns, Protests, and Bannering

The recent retail and fast food industry protests regarding demands for a “living wage” remind us that corporate campaigns by unions are a form of corporate warfare. They seek to inflict upon employers a “death from a thousand cuts.” Corporate campaign tactics include publicizing extremely negative and often false statements concerning the target company and its executives and attempting to intimidate those doing business with company. The objective is typically to embarrass the target, cause customers to take their business elsewhere, and ultimately force the employer to agree to some union demand.

NLRB Rules That Scholarship Football Players at Northwestern University Are “Employees” Under the National Labor Relations Act With Right to Unionize; Northwestern Will Appeal

Earlier this week, NLRB Regional Director for Region 13, Peter Sung Ohr, issued a highly publicized decision and ruled that grant-in-aid scholarship football players at Northwestern University are “employees” under the National Labor Relations Act and, as such, have the right to unionize.

Recent NLRB Decision Finding Scholarship Football Players to be "Employees" Raises a Host of Legal and Practical Issues for College Football Programs

By decision dated March 26, 2014, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Regional Director Peter Sung Ohr upheld the findings of a hearing officer which determined that all football players at Northwestern University who receive grant-in-aid scholarships are “employees” within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act, and that a petitioned-for unit — comprising all Northwestern University football players receiving scholarships who have not exhausted their playing eligibility — may vote by secret ballot to determine whether the College Athlete Players Association (CAPA) should be their bargaining representative/union.

NLRB Regional Director Rules College Football Players Can Unionize

On March 26, 2014, a regional director for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a decision and direction of election in a union representation petition filed by the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) seeking to represent Northwestern University’s football players. CAPA, led by former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter, petitioned the Board for a ruling that Northwestern football players who receive grant-in-aid scholarships are university employees and therefore eligible to form a union and engage in collective bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The United Steelworkers and the National College Players Association supported the student-athletes’ efforts. The university opposed the petition, arguing that scholarship athletes are not employees, but similar to graduate teaching assistants who receive stipends and whom the Board has historically held are not employees because their primary purpose and relationship to their schools is educational, not economic.

Are Unions the Newest Item on the Menu? A Look at the Restaurant Unionization Movement

In August 2013, employees at more than 1,000 fast-food restaurants in over 50 cities staged work stoppages. Employees took to the streets demanding a wage increase to at least 15 dollars an hour, twice the federal minimum wage. These protests were supported by organized labor as well as community groups such as Justice at Work, a nonprofit organization that provides legal services to support and encourage organization of low-wage immigrant workers. Even though UNITE HERE has traditionally been seen as the main union representing food service workers, it was the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents more than two million workers in health care, janitorial and other industries, that provided financial support and training for local organizers across the country in preparation for the strikes.

State of the Unions: New Tactics Target Unorganized Workers

If you've been following the news, you probably realize that it has been a busy year for organized labor. The percentage of unionized workers in the private sector has fallen to historic lows, leaving unions with fewer dues-paying members, and motivating them to adopt new tactics to stem the decline. Exploiting a more favorable environment created by recent NLRB decisions promoting unionization, unions are turning their focus to grassroots organizations, social media, and previously uncharted geographical territory in an effort to revitalize their base.

Cherry Picking Supporters and Unionizing Them – The New World of Micro-Units

The Sixth Circuit Court recently held in Kindred Nursing Centers East, LLC v. NLRB that the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) did not abuse its discretion in Specialty Healthcare, a decision allowing the creation of “micro-bargaining units” e.g., small groups of employees, in non-acute healthcare facilities.

New Health Care Law Poses New Union Organizing Threat

A New Orleans-based labor union has begun using the new federal health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act in an effort to unionize workers over a three-state territory, including Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. That's according to an alert issued on October 24, 2013, by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry ("LABI"). Click here to read the full text of the alert and learn who's behind the new union organizing scheme and how it works.

Everything You Need to Know About the New FMLA

The new FMLA rule went into effect March 8. Are you ready?

Unions Want Fast Food – Now!

With union membership rates at their lowest level since the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) was enacted in 1935, organized labor is desperately seeking to attract new members, even if that means targeting new industries that have traditionally been ignored. Over the past few months, unions have been busy sparking drives to organize retail and fast food service workers across the country.

Employers Using Labor Lawyers and/or Persuaders Likely to Face Reporting Requirements

Change may be coming for employers who hire labor relations consultants, including attorneys, to conduct union-related activities.

Major Threat to American Businesses is Back on the Table

Union boss Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO, is predicting the return of one of the biggest threats to American employers – “card check” legislation.

Talk, Talk, Talk About Unions

Most employers are reluctant to talk about unions and haven’t done it.

Michigan As a Right to Work State - Random Thoughts

First, somewhat as an aside, the news coverage of this issue reminds me that any time I follow an issue that is covered by the media and falls into an area where I have my own expertise, I always come away with one thought - yikes. And then I quickly remind myself, I need to apply more skepticism to other things that the talking heads say in areas where I don't have any particular expertise.

At Year’s End, Pending NLRB Decisions Weigh Heavily on Higher Education December 10, 2012

A trio of cases currently pending before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) could drastically affect employment relationships within higher education. At stake in all three cases are members of the university community’s right to organize, join, form, and assist labor unions. We have been closely following major developments in all three cases, and because decisions are likely to be issued before the end of the year, we want to re-focus your attention on these potentially landmark cases.

Box Score Petitions Compiled by the HLL Staff

We are aware of only ten petitions filed during the month of October, the last month for which we have any reports.

NLRB Continues Focus on Universities, Will Revisit Graduate Students’ Right to Organize

In what appears to be a continuing effort to revisit key labor decisions involving private colleges and universities, the National Labor Relations Board agreed to hear companion cases involving the rights of graduate students to join and form unions. This announcement comes on the heels of the Board’s invitation for interested parties to file amicus briefs addressing whether the NLRB should overturn its longstanding Yeshiva University case, which held that professors at private Universities are barred from unionizing, which we previously reported.

In Threat to Private Colleges and Universities, NLRB Invites Comments on Faculty Unionization

Last week, the Democratic majority of the National Labor Relations Board invited interested parties to file amicus briefs addressing whether faculty members at private higher education institutions are eligible to unionize under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Courts and the Board itself have long considered this issue resolved by a 1980 Supreme Court decision, NLRB v. Yeshiva University, which essentially barred the formation of full-time faculty unions at private institutions because their role in the shared governance of their institutions renders them “managers.” The Board’s recent invitation suggests that it plans to reconsider that position and may establish new criteria for applying the Yeshiva decision, paving the way for full-time faculty unions at private colleges and universities.

Second Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Starbucks’ “One Union Button” Policy

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has taken some high profile hits in the federal courts in the past few weeks. As we reported recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit put the NLRB’s notice posting rule on hold. Earlier this week, a federal judge also halted, for now, the NLRB’s “quickie election” rule. Late last week, the NLRB suffered another defeat when the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit refused to enforce an NLRB decision that found Starbucks had violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by prohibiting its employees from wearing more than one pro-union button on their uniforms.

Unions Poised to Exploit Changes in NLRB Rules

After winning 73% of elections in healthcare units in 2011, unions seeking to organize more healthcare workers are preparing to exploit opportunities arising from significant new rule changes and recent decisions by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, clinics and other healthcare employers who want to preserve their union-free status must therefore be prepared for a significant uptick in activity.

May Day? A Lack of A Call?

Earlier this morning I received an email forwarded from the management company in the downtown office building where I work, advising that there could be traffic issues arising out of protest activities planned for this afternoon.

Reading the Writing on the Cyber-Wall

The chief lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) knows that guidance on how to craft a lawful social media policy is weak at best. He also knows guidelines for when to discipline employees for improper Internet comments is equally obscure. In January, the general counsel issued his second paper summarizing the NLRB’s decisions on this point. Some general guidelines are emerging, but more questions than answers remain.

NLRB's General Counsel Issues New Guidance for "R" Cases

The NLRB revised its procedures for handling "representation" cases - the NLRB proceedings that relate to elections.

D.C. Circuit Court Enjoins Enforcement of NLRB Notice Posting Rule

On April 17, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an injunction preventing the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") from enforcing its employee notice posting rule, which had been scheduled to become enforceable on April 30, 2012. See Nat'l Ass'n of Mfrs. v. NLRB, Case No. 12-5068 (D.C. Cir. April 17, 2012). In issuing the injunction, the Circuit Court noted conflicting lower court decisions and held that "[t]he uncertainty about enforcement counsels further in favor of temporarily preserving the status quo while this court resolves all of the issues on the merits." This ruling means that employers are not required to post an employee rights notice by April 30, 2012 informing employees of their rights to, among other things, organize into unions, engage in collective bargaining, discuss wages, benefits, and working conditions or to refrain from any of these activities.

NLRB Poster Takes Another Hit

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals enjoined the NLRB's implementation of the poster in an order here.

D.C. Court of Appeals Blocks Notice Posting Rule Pending Appeal; April 30 Date on Hold

Employers across the country can breathe a little easier today, as an appellate court has put the National Labor Relations Board’s notice posting rule on hold. It will not take effect on April 30.

Friday The 13th An Unlucky Day For The NLRB

For months now, the business community has been bracing for the implementation of two key pro-labor initiatives on April 30, courtesy of the National Labor Relations Board: 1) an expedited election rule designed to cut the period between petition and election in half; and 2) a first-ever mandatory-posting requirement that would educate employees as to their representation rights, while laying the groundwork for unfair labor practice charges and extended limitations periods against those employers who fail to comply. The first initiative is proceeding on course, despite ongoing challenges that will ultimately be played out before the courts.

Federal District Court Strikes Down NLRB's Posting Rule

On April 13, 2012, a federal district court in South Carolina invalidated the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) notice posting rule. Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. NLRB, No. 2:11-cv-02516-DCN, U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina (April 13, 2012).

Are You Ready to Display Your NLRB Poster?

A recent court decision upheld the NLRB’s authority to require the poster and denied a challenge on free-speech grounds, but it was not a total victory for the agency.

Federal Judge Rejects Request for Stay In Implementation of Union Rights Posting Requirements

A federal judge has ruled that implementation of a rule, requiring most private sector employers to post notice of employee union rights, will not be stayed pending an appeal of the court ruling allowing it to proceed.

District Court Refuses to Block NLRB Notice Posting Rule During Appeal; April 30 Date Still Applies

As we noted in an alert last week, the District Court for the District of Columbia issued its final order in National Association of Manufacturers v. NLRB on the challenge by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) to the National Labor Relations Board’s notice posting rule. The court upheld the legality of the notice posting rule itself and, earlier this week, the court declined to block enforcement of the rule while NAM and NFIB appeal the decision. Accordingly, employers still face an April 30, 2012, notice posting deadline, barring another successful court or legislative challenge.

What the NLRB Posting Ruling Means for Employers

A federal judge upheld the NLRB posting rule but rejected two of its rather onerous penalties.

Court Invalidates Sections of NLRB's Recent Notice-Posting Rule

Today, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia invalidated key provisions of the National Labor Relations Board's "Notification of Employee Rights" rule, under which all covered employers would have been required after April 30th of this year to post an 11" x 17" poster, or else to face possible legal consequences. While she left the actual posting requirement intact, she ruled that the proposed penalties attached to the Board's rule were unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Notice Posting Decision Disappoints Employers

On March 2, 2012, a federal trial judge in the District of Columbia issued a highly-anticipated ruling on the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) controversial notice posting rule. The court held that the NLRB did not exceed its statutory authority by requiring employers to post its "Notification of Employee Rights under the National Labor Relations Act." In language that seems at first favorable to employers, the court ruled that a failure to post is not automatically an unfair labor practice and does not automatically toll the statute of limitations in unfair labor practice actions. A closer reading, however, reveals that the court opened the door for the NLRB to find, on a case-by-case basis, violations and tolling for failure to post, thus allowing the Board to accomplish by decision what it cannot do by rulemaking.

NLRB's power to impose penalties for employer's failure to post "Employee Rights Notice" is clarified by the D.C. Circuit.

On March 2, 2012, a federal trial judge in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a highly-anticipated ruling on the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) controversial notice posting rule. National Association of Manufacturers v. NLRB, No. 11-1629 (ABJ), U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (March 2, 2012).

District Court Invalidates Portion of NLRB Posting Rule

Today a federal district court judge partially invalidated the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) rule requiring private sector employers to post a notice informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Further update on the NLRB's "Employee Rights Notice" - another extension of the posting deadline.

As most employers now are aware, on August 25, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced its final rule related to the Notification of Employee Rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Under that rule, private-sector employers whose workplaces fall under NLRA jurisdiction will be required to post a notice of employee rights regarding unionization. The final rule requires employers to post and maintain the NLRB notice in conspicuous places, and to take “reasonable steps” to ensure that the notices are not altered, defaced, or covered by any other material, or otherwise rendered unreadable.

NLRB Poster Requirement Delayed Until April 30, 2012

As we notified our clients several months ago, the NLRB recently issued a new notice-posting requirement, mandating that employers post an oversized (11" x 17") Notice of Employee Rights. See our August 25 Legal Alert. Because of the pressure of legal actions challenging the new rule, the implementation date was first pushed back from November 9 to January 31, which we noted in an updated Legal Alert on October 6.

NLRB Postpones Notice Posting Effective Date to April 30, 2012 December 27, 2011

On December 23, the National Labor Relations Board announced that it was postponing the effective date of its rule requiring covered employers to post a notice informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. You can read the NLRB's press release here. The notice posting requirement was scheduled to take effect on January 31st, but has now been pushed back to April 30, 2012.

NLRB Delays Requirement for Employers to Post Pro-Union Notice

In August, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued regulations requiring virtually all employers to post a large notice to employees informing them of rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), particularly their right to unionize. In December, the NLRB postponed the effective date until April 30th, 2012.

NLRB Delays Posting Deadline Requirement

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has postponed the implementation date for its new notice-posting rule by more than two months in order to allow for enhanced education and outreach to employers, particularly those who operate small and medium sized businesses.

NLRB Delays Effective Date of Employee Rights Notice

On October 5, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a press release announcing its decision to postpone the implementation date for the new NLRA employee rights notice. According to the NLRB, the initial effective date of November 14, 2011 has now been pushed back to January 31, 2012 to allow for enhanced education and outreach to employers.

NLRB Makes New Poster Available Amid Legal and Legislative Challenges to Rule Requiring Its Posting

As we reported in late August, the NLRB announced a final rule requiring private sector employers to post a notice of employee rights under the NLRA. This past week, the NLRB published copies of its new poster. A copy is available from the NLRB website. Employers have the option of downloading a single 11” x 17” poster, or two 8.5” x 11” posters. Copies are also available at the Board’s regional offices. The final rule requires employers to begin displaying these posters by November 14, 2011.

NLRB Makes New Poster Available Amid Legal and Legislative Challenges to Rule Requiring Its Posting

As we reported in late August, the NLRB announced a final rule requiring private sector employers to post a notice of employee rights under the NLRA. This past week, the NLRB published copies of its new poster. A copy is available from the NLRB website. Employers have the option of downloading a single 11” x 17” poster, or two 8.5” x 11” posters. Copies are also available at the Board’s regional offices. The final rule requires employers to begin displaying these posters by November 14, 2011.

Labor Day, A Day After - Should We Put This To A Vote?

Any thoughts on how the following legislative finding might fare in today's Congress?

NLRB Hands Down Union-Friendly Decisions

As expected, the end of Chairman Wilma Liebman's term at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) did not end without an onslaught of radical, precedent-reversing decisions. On August 30, the Board published three very significant 3-1 decisions signed by Liebman in the closing hours of her term.

NLRB Overturns Key Bush-Era Decisions, Boosts Union Card Check Campaigns

As we predicted in September 2010, with the Employee Free Choice Act stalled in Congress, a majority of the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) has taken the opportunity to overturn two key employer-friendly decisions from the Bush-era Board, boosting the prospects for union card check campaigns.

NLRB Requires Employers to Post Pro-Union Notice: Employment Law Update

On August 25, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued regulations requiring virtually all employers to post a large notice to employees informing them of rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), particularly their right to unionize. Employers must post the notice beginning November 14, 2011.

NLRB's Rescue Plan for Unions - Part One

Under a new rule published by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board), most private sector employers will be required to post a workplace notice of employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) starting November 14, 2011. In essence, the notice informs employees that they have the right to form and join unions, bargain collectively with their employers, and to engage in other protected concerted activities, or to refrain from engaging in any of those activities. Specific rights are outlined, as well as prohibited conduct by employers and unions.

NLRB rule requires employers to post notice regarding employee rights to unionize.

On August 25, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a press release in which it announced its final rule related to the Notification of Employee Rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Private-sector employers (including labor organizations) whose workplaces fall under the jurisdiction of the NLRA will be required to post a notice of employee rights under that Act. In addition, employers who customarily post notices to employees regarding personnel rules or policies on an internet or intranet site will be required to post the Board’s notice at those sites. The proposed rule has been pending since December of last year, and will take effect on November 14, 2011, at which time the required notices must be posted.

National Labor Relations Board Now Requires Posting Of Employee Rights

n August 25, 2011, over the dissent of Member Brian Hayes, the National Labor Relations Board issued a final rule addressing "Notification of Employee Rights under the National Labor Relations Act." Effective 75 days following the August 26, 2011 scheduled publication in the Federal Register, which would be November 9, or November 14 (per the NLRB's inconsistent press release), every employer covered by the National Labor Relations Act will be required to post the prescribed 11x17 inch notice.

NLRB Issues Final Rule Requiring Employers to Notify Employees of Their Rights Under the NLRA

In December 2010, Franczek Radelet notified employers that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) had announced a proposed rule which would require employers to post a notice of employee rights under the NLRA. On August 25, 2011, the Board announced that a final rule regarding this posting requirement will go into effect for all employers subject to the Board’s jurisdiction on November 14, 2011.

Final Rule, Finally Issued, on Employee Rights Notice Posting

On August 25, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a press release announcing its final rule on Notification of Employee Rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The proposed rule had been pending since December of last year.

Unions Continue Success In Organizing Healthcare Employees

In recent years, unions have continued to realize greater success in organizing healthcare employees than employees in other industries. Union win rates in the healthcare sector have been at or above 70%, generally about 10% above their win rates in other sectors. Additionally, more elections are taking place in the healthcare industry. The total jumped from 220 elections in 2009 to 305 elections in 2010.

Piling On! DOL Proposes Rule Changes That Will Impact Employers

By now you're aware of the NLRB's proposed rule changes aimed at speeding up elections to make it easier for unions to organize. (See our Legal Alert "Unions In Decline? Labor Board To The Rescue!" June 30, 2011).

NLRB Issues Key New York New York Decision

Finally, after over a decade of litigation, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued its decision in New York New York LLC, 356 NLRB No. 119 (March 25, 2011) on remand from the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. Based on the Board’s precedent-setting ruling, we could have waited a little longer.

Unions In Decline? Labor Board To The Rescue!

The failure of the Employee Free Choice Act to become law does not mean that unions are giving up, or that their elected and appointed officials are throwing in the towel on their efforts to increase unions' ever-shrinking share of the American work force. Last week the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) took a giant step in that direction.

Micro unions could create big problems

Recent pro-union actions by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are making it easier to unionize employees. One of the latest potential changes involves micro-unions, a possible outcome of Specialty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center of Mobile and United Steelworkers, District 9, a case pending before the NLRB.

Constitutional Showdown Threatened Over South Carolina's Secret Ballot Protection Amendment

In a January 13, 2011, letter to newly-elected Attorney General Alan Wilson, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) threatened to file suit against South Carolina if the General Assembly ratifies the recently passed constitutional amendment guaranteeing individuals the right to a secret ballot vote on the issue of union representation. The letter, written by Acting NLRB General Counsel Lafe Solomon, asserts that federal labor law preempts state law � including state constitutional provisions � and gives him the right to file suit in federal court to hold the conflicting state provision unconstitutional.

Under proposed NLRB rule, all employers must post a notice of employees' right to unionize and to strike.

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is one of the few federal employment/labor laws which does not include a specific provision requiring employers to post a notice related to employee rights under that law.

NLRB Going Wild.

The National Labor Relations Board is proposing a regulation that requires all employers under the NLRB's jurisdiction - both union and non-union- to post a notice explaining to employees their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. That notice will include helpful information like how to file an unfair labor practice complaint, the right to collectively bargain and elect a union, etc. The entire contents of the notice is posted below. The proposed regulations currently require qualifying employers to post the notice on paper with the other millions of government posters, and also send the notice out by email or put it on a company intranet. Multiple languages, etc. too.

NLRB Examines The Electronic Workplace.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently issued a decision finding that an employer must distribute remedial notices electronically when that is a customary means of communication with its employees. As a result, the NLRB modified its standard notice posting provision - which requires posting of remedial notices in all places where notices to employees are customarily posted - to expressly include electronic communications.

Going Over The Top At Disneyland: Sleazy Union Tactics In "The Happiest Place On Earth"

Disneyland is known as "The Happiest Place On Earth." But UNITE HERE Local 11, the Union that represents the park's 2,100 hotel employees, is not in a happy place. For close to three years now, it has been bargaining over a new labor contract. During that time, the union has staged protests and walk-outs, had its members engage in a week-long hunger strike and gone on a one-day quickie strike. But no matter what the union has done to force the issue, no new labor agreement has been reached.

SEIU Paints A Bull's Eye On Fast Food Industry.

It's common for fast food workers in Canada, Germany, France and Australia to be represented by a union. But in America less than 2% of fast food workers are unionized – and most of them work in stores located on college campuses, in hospitals or in government buildings where labor unions are commonplace. Indeed, until very recently, the conventional wisdom among union leadership was that employees working in freestanding fast food restaurants were simply too short-sighted, too transient, or too timid, to be viable targets for union organizing. Accordingly, even though it promises the possibility of hundreds of thousands of new union members, the fast food industry has gone largely ignored by unions. All of that may soon change.

UNITE-HERE Ups The Ante Against Hotels.

Hotels and other entities should expect unions to routinely use OSHA citations as an organizing tool and a way to harass hospitality employers. In a recent Hospitality Update, we described a May 12 Houston Chronicle article complaining about the allegedly high rate of ergonomic injuries suffered by hotel employees. [See "Multiple Embarrassing OSHA Citations: The Next Union Organizing Tactic?" by Howard Mavity. Hospitality Update, June, 2010.]

If You Build It...

It comes as no surprise that employers in the last several years have been forced to focus on survival in an extremely difficult environment. There have been sharply decreased (or nonexistent) profit margins, falling sales, reorganizations, reductions in force, retrenchment and reversion to the mean. Overall business conditions aren't really much better now than they were three years ago and nobody really knows when they will improve.

EFCA, Schmefca: The Obama Board Won't Wait For Legislation To Change Labor Law

Even with the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) now seemingly DOA, major reform of labor law is not far off. Wilma Liebman and the three new Obama appointees, including Craig Becker, are now in the driver's seat at the National Labor Relations Board. Big Labor justifiably expects the Liebman/Becker-led Board to deliver on Obama's campaign promises and to revamp federal labor law in its favor.

NLRB Poised to Advance EFCA Through Reversal of Key Board Decisions

This week, the National Labor Relations Board (the Board) made two announcements, the results of which could further the administration’s EFCA agenda without the need to pass legislation. Most prominently, the Board will revisit its 2007 Dana decision through review of two sets of cases that question when a union’s support among employees can be challenged (Rite Aid Store #6473 / Lamons Gasket Co. and UGL-UNICCO Service Co. / Grocery Haulers Inc.). Dana has been widely cited as legal support for maintaining secret ballot elections in lieu of the union-supported card-check procedures in EFCA.

Hospitality Industry: "Hello. I'm From The Union And I'm Here To Help You."

This is a message to our clients who have union-free operations. We assume that you operate non-union for a reason, and that you work hard to ensure that you preserve and maintain your non-union status. In case you needed one, here is just one more reason that remaining non-union gives you an edge in managing your operation.

Unionization of Private Colleges’ And Universities’ Graduate Students (pdf).

Unionization of Private Colleges’ And Universities’ Graduate Students.

Executive Order 13496 (Employee Posting Rule) Update.

New requirements under Executive Order 13496 could appear in federal contracts and subcontracts as early as this week. The final rule, published on May 21, becomes effective June 21, 2010. Fortunately or unfortunately, the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council (FAR Council) has not yet issued an implementing FAR that will require the employee notice to be posted.

DOL Requires Federal Contractors and Subcontractors to Post Notice Informing Employees of Their Rights to Join a Union and Engage in Concerted Activity.

Effective June 21, 2010, employers who conduct business with the federal government or who perform work essential to a federal contract now must post a notice informing their employees of their right to join a union and engage in concerted activity.

DOL Issues Final Rule on Notification by Federal Contractors of Employee Labor Law Rights.

The Department of Labor's Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS) published a final rule on May 20, 2010, implementing Executive Order (EO) 13496: Notification of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws. This EO mandates that all government contracting departments and agencies include a provision in most government contracts stipulating that the contractor post a notice "in all places where notices to employees are customarily posted both physically and electronically," informing them of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In turn, covered contractors are required to include a similar provision in subcontracts that are necessary to the performance of the government contract and in an amount in excess of $10,000.

Multiple Embarrassing OSHA Citations: The Next Union Organizing Tactic?

While many union organizers seem to have moved to D.C. to become lobbyists, UNITE/HERE, the SEIU, and other unions continue to aggressively campaign against hospitality employers. Campaigns are becoming even more nasty than in the past. Unions consciously harm the property's reputation and inflict costly wage-hour, discrimination, and OSHA costs that may weaken the employer's resolve.

Federal Contractors Must Post Employee Rights Poster and Include Contract Notice.

A final rule issued May 20, 2010, provides the poster federal contractors and sub-contractors are required to post to provide employees notice of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. This rule implements President Obama's Executive Order 13496, signed January 30, 2009. The Order has two requirements for covered federal contractors and sub-contractors; (1) post with other employee notices, including electronically, the "Employee Rights under the National Labor Relations Act" poster and (2) include the language of the employee notice requirement.

New Employee Notification Requirements for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors Issued Today.

Pursuant to a Department of Labor (DOL) Final Rule published on May 20 and going into effect on June 21, 2010, federal contractors and subcontractors subject to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) will be required to include certain language in their contracts and to conspicuously post notices of employee rights under federal labor laws. The Final Rule describes the content of the notice required to be posted by contractors and most subcontractors, and outlines the penalties that can be imposed for noncompliance. This Final Rule, published in today’s Federal Register, implements Executive Order 13496, signed by President Barack Obama in January of last year.

The Future of Unions: A Key Question.

BNA's Daily Labor Report ($) has an article based on its in depth interview with the soon to be former head of the SEIU, Andy Stern, that is well worth the read.

Union Membership Declines In 2009.

The union membership statistics for 2009 suggest that organized labor has lost ground over the past year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' report on annual union membership, private sector unions lost 834,000 members in 2009, bringing membership down to 7.2 percent of the private sector workforce (compared to 7.6 percent in 2008). Overall union membership, however, held steady at 12.3 percent in 2009. This was largely due to public sector union membership, which rose slightly from 36.8 percent in 2008 to 37.4 percent last year.

Union Avoidance + Improved Employee Relations = As Good As It Gets.

While our crystal ball is no better than anyone else's, change in our country's labor laws appears to be drawing ever closer. While EFCA as it was originally proposed with its elimination of secret-ballot elections is undergoing change, a lot of other tweaking has been going on lately in the Senate reflecting unions' desire to find some form of legislation which will pass and which will give them the stimulus they need to revitalize their efforts to halt the continuing loss of union jobs and members.

Who Needs EFCA? - Expect Big Labor Law "Reforms" From the NLRB.

For the past several years, the business community's attention has been focused almost exclusively on federal legislation inaccurately named the "Employee Free Choice Act" (EFCA). That legislation would radically overhaul labor-management relations by substituting "card check" (employees' signatures on union cards) in place of government-protected secret ballot union representation elections, and by compelling arbitration of first contracts written by federally-appointed arbitrators where the union and the employer fail to agree after 120 days of bargaining. EFCA also contains anti-employer penalties and fines of $20,000 per violation and triple back pay, as well as federal court injunctions.

Top Five Reasons You Can't Blame Employees For Joining A Union.

We all know that union membership has been on the decline for decades. But with a new administration in the White House, and Democrat majorities in the House and Senate, employers should expect significant labor law reforms and dramatically different enforcement strategies that will make it easier for labor unions to organize employees. In fact, hopeful labor leaders proclaim that the expected changes could add up to 1.5 million new members per year for the next 15 years.

Carroll College Case Proves No Free Pass For Unions...Yet.

With membership at its lowest point in over 60 years, unions are steadfastly proving they still know how to play politics. Organized labor has recently taken steps to reinforce its ranks through legislation, introducing significant reform efforts such as the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). The Act, in effect, would eliminate secret ballot elections from the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) related to union organizing, substitute card check verification instead, and make employer neutrality mandatory in the electoral process.

New Employee Notice Rule Proposed for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors.

On August 3, 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a proposed rule to implement President Barack Obama’s recent Executive Order 13496 requiring federal contractors to inform employees of their rights under federal labor laws, including the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Executive Order 13496 requires covered contractors to include certain language in their contracts and to conspicuously post notices of employee rights under federal labor laws. The proposed rule describes the content of the required notice, which contractors and subcontractors must post, and the penalties that can be imposed for noncompliance.

EFCA Introduced In Congress.

After much speculation, the Employee Free Choice Act of 2009 (EFCA) was introduced in the 111th Congress on March 10. The bills introduced in both the House of Representatives, H.R. 1409, and Senate, S. 560, are identical to last year's measure, which passed the House but stalled in the Senate due to a filibuster on the motion to debate the bill on the Senate Floor. This year's bills were introduced with fewer original cosponsors amid increasing concerns regarding the economic impact of "card check" and compulsory arbitration of first contracts.

Employee Free Choice Act in the 111th Congress: The Battle is Joined (pdf).

The grossly misnamed and highly controversial Employee Free Choice Act (“EFCA”) was introduced by Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Representative George Miller (D-CA) in the 111th Congress on March 10, 2009 (H.R. 1409, S. 560). The legislative fight over EFCA is a battle royale between business and organized labor and is a defining moment in the history of labor relations in the United States. The President of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donahue, in a major address in Washington last week, called this legislation “Armageddon” and a “game changer.” EFCA is clearly the most ambitious and transformative piece of labor legislation to come before Congress since the 1935 enactment of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) and would radically alter the balance of power between management and labor.

One Step Closer to The Employee Free Choice Act.

The Employee Free Choice Act was introduced in both houses of Congress today. The bill would allow labor unions to bypass secret ballot representation elections that have been in place for 75 years in favor of a streamlined process known as "card check." It also contains binding arbitration provisions that would allow an outside arbitrator to dictate the terms of a first contract in the event that the parties cannot reach agreement within the first four months of negotiations, and it would impose substantially increased penalties against employers who commit unfair labor practices.

EFCA Introduced in Congress.

After much speculation, the Employee Free Choice Act of 2009 (EFCA) was introduced on March 10 in the 111th Congress. The new bills introduced in both the House of Representatives and Senate are identical to last year’s bill, which passed the House but was stalled in the Senate by a filibuster on the motion to debate the bill on the Senate Floor.

New Employment Laws to Worry About: It's Not Just About Card Check Anymore.

Employers are rightfully concerned and even alarmed about what to expect from the new Congress and the Obama Administration. Democrats are firmly in control and owe much to organized labor and other constituencies that are not necessarily employer-friendly. So, what can healthcare expect in the new year and beyond?

A FREE COUNTRY?

The inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama is just a few days away. Congress will assemble with solid Democratic majorities in each house. The new administration doubtless will breathe new life into bills that have languished in Congress during the past eight years.

Video - "Employment Law: How Will the 2008 Election Impact You and Your Business?"

Employers can expect that efforts will be made to significantly change employment and labor laws and regulations over the next several months. Nexsen Pruet Employment and Labor Law attorneys David Dubberly, William Floyd, Cherie Blackburn and Mike Brittingham provide a briefing to help clients prepare for the changes.

2008 Elections Cause Concern Among Employers.

In a historic and hard-fought election, Senator Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States earlier this month. President-elect Obama will be the first African-American president in the country's history.

The EFCA Problem For Retailers.

Gallons of ink have been spilled by lawyers and journalists concerning the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). But this law is likely to have a particular effect on retailers, and retailers – more so than other employers – should start planning for the worst now.

The EFCA, Organized Labor's Legislative Agenda and Its Impact on Your Business.

Organized labor's membership in the private sector has plummeted below 8 % – an all time low. To address this problem, unions have turned to an aggressive legislative agenda designed to tilt the scales in their favor. Among the items on their priority list are the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and the Re-Employment of Skilled and Professional Employees and Construction Tradeworkers Act (RESPECT Act).

Employee Free Choice Act -- Overview and Preparation (pdf).

The recently concluded Presidential and Congressional elections have organized labor salivating over the likely passage of the so-called and grossly misnamed Employee Free Choice Act (“EFCA”). EFCA, which actually would eliminate “employee free choice” concerning unionization, is at the very top of organized labor’s very aggressive legislative agenda and enjoys the strong support of President-elect Barack Obama. You cannot underestimate how dramatically the enactment of this misguided and ham-handed legislation could change your workplace and jeopardize your business and the livelihoods of your employees. The proposed law is nothing short of a power grab by unions. At this point, EFCA is still only proposed legislation, and no one knows exactly what form it will take upon final passage. One thing is certain, however: with strong Democrat majorities in both the House and Senate, and a President who is eager to sign the legislation, EFCA is certain to become law in some form, and employers need to begin preparing for it now.

Unions Continue to Covet Healthcare Workers: Is Your Hospital Ready?

By now, most hospital and healthcare leaders recognize that their employees represent an increasingly inviting organizing target for unions such as the Service Employees' International Union (SEIU) and the California Nurses Association (CNA). If any question remains, it is "when," not "if" one or more unions will mount some sort of an offensive at your facility.

The EFCA: Organized Labor's Legislative Agenda and Its Impact on Your Business.

Organized labor's density in the private sector has plummeted below 8% – an all time low. To address this problem, unions are increasingly turning to an aggressive legislative agenda designed to tilt the scales in their favor. Among those items at the top of their priority list are the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and the Re-Employment of Skilled and Professional Employees and Construction Tradeworkers Act (the RESPECT).

The Return of Labor.

The election looms. No one can say with certainty what the results will be. The political scene may shift dramatically in a few months. But organized labor is as excited as a child on Christmas Eve. Conventional wisdom feeds this optimism.

Hospitality Labor Letter: Box Score (Spring 2008).

There have been 24 union petitions at hospitality employers, that we are aware of, filed since the beginning of 2008.

Prohibition on Union Buttons May Violate National Labor Relations Act.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a decision by the National Labor Relations Board related to a hospital’s prohibition on union buttons. According to the Ninth Circuit, prohibiting the buttons violated nurse/employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

Unions Maintain Focus On Healthcare Employers.

While their overall membership rates continue to decline, unions remain focused on attracting and organizing new dues-paying members in the relatively untapped healthcare market. Maintaining a historic trend, union membership dropped again last year; it's now less than 9% of the private sector workforce, roughly 12.0% counting public employers.

Cute Titles for Bad Laws: A look at union-sponsored federal legislation.

Most of our readers have heard of the "Employee Free Choice Act" (EFCA). The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives, but was subject to a Republican Party filibuster in the Senate. This union and Democratic Party-sponsored legislation would eliminate secret ballot elections regarding union representation in a workplace, and instead make such representation automatic and mandatory if more than 50% of employees in a bargaining unit signed union authorization cards.

Auto Dealership Update: Unions Push on Several Fronts.

Organized labor's efforts to unionize auto dealerships continued unabated during 2007. While these efforts will no doubt continue in 2008, federal legislative changes loom on the horizon which, if enacted, will significantly increase the number of successful unionization efforts. Regardless of whether these changes are implemented, dealerships should consider implementing an updated pre-campaign strategy designed to anticipate and adapt to labor's evolving unionization efforts.

California Nurses Association Launches New Wide-Ranging Mail Campaign.

Fresh from its "victory" in an election at Cypress Fairbanks Hospital in Houston, the California Nurses Association (CNA) has wasted no time in launching a wide-spread direct mail campaign that targets registered nurses in several states. The full color tri-fold campaign pieces, which have been arriving in nurses' homes during the past 10 days, include union authorization cards. At a minimum, nurses in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and Illinois have received these mailers.

Houston Nurses Vote for Unionization.

It has been no secret that high-profile unions are devoting considerable resources to their attempts to organize employees in the healthcare industry. Bolstered by success in California, New York, Illinois and Florida, the California Nurses Association (CNA) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have now set their sights on the vast, relatively untapped state of Texas.

Guidelines For Investigation of "Salting" Claims Issued.

On February 15, 2008, the Office of the General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued two guideline memoranda to Regional Directors, Officers-in-Charge, and Resident Officers, outlining the NLRB's rationale in two recent decisions, and providing guidance for analyzing, investigating, and pleading union "salting" claims in light of those decisions.

9th Circuit Upholds Casino's Right to Express Opinions on Unionization.

The rule of thumb for employers facing union campaigns dictates that managers may offer employees facts about unions, their opinions on unions in general, or their personal experiences in previous dealings with unions. The general limitation on this rule is that employers may not threaten employees, interrogate or spy on them, or promise benefits in exchange for opposing the union.

Zounds! Tough Talk About Bargaining No Threat To Knights And Squires.

Employers who have been involved in union election campaigns know that it's important to educate employees on all aspects of unionism, in order to counter the union's often pie-in-the-sky promises of more money, better benefits, and a chicken in every pot.

Unions Target Healthcare Industry With New Organizing Tactics.

Organized labor has a new target in sight - the healthcare industry - and it has begun using creative ways to make an initial contact and to identify individuals who might be receptive to the union's message. Contacts have focused on social activism, legislative efforts, and improving the quality of patient care, although these issues may not be the union's true organizing objective.

SEIU Establishes New National Healthcare Union.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) recently announced the creation of a "new national healthcare union" called "SEIU Healthcare." This major initiative could have significant ramifications on union organizing in healthcare.

Construction Company's Discharge Of Union "Salt" Held Unlawful.

The federal appellate court with jurisdiction over South Carolina employers recently ruled against a nonunion employer who fired an employee for dishonesty after he started distributing union materials. According to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, there was sufficient evidence that the employer, which did not thoroughly investigate the dishonesty allegation, was motivated by anti-union animus.

Congress Debating "Employee Free Choice Act" (pdf).

With the political shift in Congress, several important labor or employment laws may significantly change.

Union Forced Card Check Bill Passes House by Wide Margin... Next Step The U.S. Senate.

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 241-185 to pass H.R. 800, the misnamed "Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) of 2007." With its passage by the House, organized labor's efforts to overhaul the Nation's labor laws cleared its first legislative hurdle. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate that will take up either the House-passed bill or a companion bill to be introduced by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Edward Kennedy (D-MA).

Unions Urge Congress To Eliminate Secret-Ballot Elections (pdf).

It seems incredible that, in America of all places, arguments must be mustered to support the idea of a secret-ballot election. Yet that is exactly the situation in the current Congress. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), current chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, has introduced the oddly-named “Employee Free Choice Act,” (EFCA) perhaps better known as the “card check” bill. Its purpose is to eliminate the right of employees to decide via secret ballot whether they wish to be represented by a labor union or not.

New Congressional Leadership Introduces Union Organizing Measure To Guarantee Union Contracts (pdf).

New Congressional Leadership Introduces Union Organizing Measure To Guarantee Union Contracts.

Unions Expect Help from New Congress (pdf).

Sieck guaranteed success in organizing, mandated contracts.