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Employer’s Discharge of Employees Did Not Violate Bargaining Obligations under NLRB’s Alan Ritchey Decision

Under the National Labor Relations Board’s 2012 Alan Ritchey decision, an employer generally must bargain with a newly-certified union before imposing certain discipline, including a suspension, demotion, or discharge, where the parties have not concluded negotiations on a first contract. Under Alan Ritchey, however, an employer may impose discipline unilaterally if it has agreed with the union on an interim grievance procedure during negotiations for a first contract. Last week, an NLRB Administrative Law Judge clarified the interim grievance procedure exception, and ruled that such a procedure does not have to include the right to arbitration. The ALJ found that because the newly-certified union had agreed to an interim grievance procedure while the parties continued to negotiate their first collective bargaining agreement, the employer, Medic Ambulance Service, was not required under Alan Ritchey to bargain with the union before discharging 12 employees.
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