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NLRB Joins Other Federal Agencies in Combatting Retaliation

Several federal agencies have joined forces to release a joint Fact Sheet highlighting the various anti-retaliation provisions of the workplace laws these agencies enforce. “Retaliation Based on the Exercise of Workplace Rights is Unlawful” is a collaborative effort of the National Labor Relations Board, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

Seventh Circuit Finds Requirement to Contribute to Fringe Benefits Funds Can Extend Past Decertification

On December 20, 2016, the Seventh Circuit issued an opinion holding that multiemployer benefit funds were entitled to collect contributions required under collective bargaining agreements that were not to expire until 2015, even though the employees had previously decertified the union in 2013.

The NLRB Elevates Form Over Substance to Give Union Another Bite at the Apple

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently issued another decision appearing to prioritize the interests of organized labor above all else. In URS Federal Services, Inc., 365 NLRB No. 1 (December 8, 2016), the two Democratic Board members, over the dissent of the lone Republican member, reversed a regional director and held that a technical violation of the Board’s representation case rules—which did not prejudice the union or impact the election in any way—was nevertheless sufficient grounds to overturn the results of a representation election where the union was defeated by an employee vote of 91 to 54.

Defamation Verdict Drives Union into Bankruptcy

A Texas jury has awarded a company $7.8 million in compensatory damages and interest after finding Service Employees International Union Local 5 significantly damaged the company’s business through false claims of workplace violations. As a result, Local 5 has filed for federal bankruptcy protection.

Voter List Delivered Directly to Union From Employer or Election Set Aside, NLRB Decides

Service of the voter list on the union by the employer is mandatory and the failure to serve it will result in setting aside an employer’s election victory when a timely objection is filed by the union, the National Labor Relations Board has decided. URS Federal Services, Inc., 365 NLRB No. 1 (Dec. 8, 2016). The NLRB reversed the Acting Regional Director’s decision overruling the union’s objection.

Fifth Circuit Upholds Micro-Bargaining Unit at Retailer, But Dissent Finds Labor Board’s Legal Standard Wanting

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has denied, 9-6, a retailer’s request for a rehearing of the decision of a three-judge panel of the Court upholding the National Labor Relations Board’s decision that the retailer must bargain with a unit limited to employees in its cosmetic and fragrance department. Macy’s, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 15-60022 (Nov. 18, 2016).

Seventh Circuit Says Student Athletes Are Not Employees

Back in August, the National Labor Relations Board threw the higher education community a curve ball ruling that student assistants at Columbia University were employees under the National Labor Relations Act, and were therefore entitled to organize a union. (For more information see our alert on the case.) An obvious question left unanswered by the Columbia University case was whether and under what circumstances students may also be entitled to minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. On Monday, December 5, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals weighed in on at least part of that issue, holding that two former University of Pennsylvania athletes were not employees of either the University or the NCAA under the FLSA. Berger v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al.

Hoffa Retains Teamsters Union Presidency — Fewer Concessions Ahead?

James P. Hoffa has received a majority of valid votes cast in the election for General President of the Teamsters Union, according to ibtvote.org, the official website for the Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The counting of ballots was completed on November 18, 2016, but the results will not be official until certified by the Election Supervisor, Richard W. Mark. If certified, this will be Hoffa’s fourth reelection win. The last election was held in 2011.

Federal Court Upholds NLRB Decision Finding That Employee Had Right To Physical Presence of Union Representative Before Consenting To Drug Test

A federal appeals court upheld November 16, 2016 the decision of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that an employer violated Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act by denying an employee the right to the physical presence of a union representative before consenting to take a drug test, and by discharging him for refusing to take the test without a union representative present. Manhattan Beer Distributors LLC v. National Labor Relations Board, Nos. 15-2845, 15-3099 (2d Cir. Nov. 16, 2016).

DOL's 'Persuader Activity' Rule Stopped

A new rule from the US Department of Labor (DOL) that would have expanded an employer's obligation under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) to report persuader activity - activity engaged in to directly or indirectly persuade employees concerning their rights to organize and collectively bargain - appears to be on its last legs.