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Time Flies When You’re Having Fun: NLRB Further Reduces Time Employers Have to Educate Employees During Union Campaigns

On January 29, 2016, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a decision in Guardsmark, LLC, 363 NLRB No. 103 (Jan. 29, 2016) moving the deadline for employers to hold captive audience meetings in mail ballot elections to 24 hours before the regional office mails the ballots. In so doing, the NLRB overruled a near-60 year-old precedent set in Oregon Washington Telephone Co., 123 NLRB 339 (March 24, 1959), which held that employers could hold captive audience meetings until the time the regional office mailed the ballots. This decision, coming on the heels of the NLRB’s recent “ambush” election rules, is another brick in the wall of the NLRB’s effort to limit the time employers have to speak to and educate their employees during a union organizing campaign.

Unions and the Gig Economy

Numerous studies confirm that "gig" workers – freelancers, temporaries, and the like – make up a fast-growing segment of the U.S. workforce. Now, the modern gig economy is coming face to face with traditional industrial relations. A New York local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has filed a representation petition with Region 29 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seeking to organize 600 Uber drivers who transport passengers to and from LaGuardia Airport.

NLRB Continues to Tweak its Election Procedures; Announces New “Captive Audience” Rule in Mail Ballot Cases

The National Labor Relations Board conducts representation elections by manual voting, where voters cast their ballots in a voting booth, by mail voting, where voters mail their ballots to an NLRB regional office, or a combination of manual and mail voting. In order to protect employee free choice in an election, the NLRB has developed rules governing when an employer may hold mandatory captive audience meetings among its employees before an election. In manual voting situations, the NLRB’s long-established rule, known as the Peerless Plywood rule, prohibits employers from conducting mandatory captive audience meetings within 24 hours of the start of the election. In mail ballot cases, the NLRB set out its rule in a 1959 case called Oregon Washington Telephone Co. There, the NLRB ruled that an employer was prohibited from holding captive audience meetings after an NLRB regional office was scheduled to mail ballots to eligible voters.

Why the Future of Public Employee Unions is in Doubt

The Supreme Court recently heard a labor case with significant implications for the future of public employee unions nationwide. In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a group of 10 teachers claim their free speech rights are being violated because they are compelled to pay dues to the state’s teachers’ union.

How Have Dealerships Fared In Fight Against Union "Quickie" Elections?

The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “quickie” election rules took effect on April 14, 2015, substantially expediting the union election process. Among other things, the new rules cut the time period between representation petition and election in half, and require employers to provide expedited disclosure of worker phone numbers, email addresses and other personal information to unions.

Labor Board Sets 24-Hour Ban on Meetings about Unions Prior to Mail Ballot Elections

The National Labor Relations Board has significantly changed its rule governing when “mass campaign meetings” with employees by the parties (employer or union) to an NLRB-conducted mail-ballot election may be held.

NLRB Regional Director Rejects Election Petition of Faculty at Religiously-Affiliated College

Colleges and universities contending that their tenured and tenure-track faculty are managerial employees who do not have the right to unionize or bargain collectively under the National Labor Relations Act should find reassurance in a recent National Labor Relations Board Regional Director’s decision declining to assert jurisdiction over a Catholic liberal arts college. Carroll College, Case 19-RC-165133 (Jan. 19, 2016).

A Break From The Trend? NLRB Regional Director Finds Carroll College Exempt From Board Jurisdiction Under Pacific Lutheran

Union organizing directed at religious college and university faculties has gained momentum since the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) issued its decision in Pacific Lutheran University (“PLU”) in 2014. In PLU, the Board adopted a new, two-part standard for determining whether to assert jurisdiction over faculty at religiously-affiliated colleges and universities. Under the PLU standard, the Board will assert jurisdiction unless 1) the college or university holds itself out as providing a religious educational environment; and 2) the college or university holds the petitioned-for faculty out as performing a specific role in creating or maintaining the university’s religious educational environment.

Fourth Circuit Backs NLRB on Supervisor Status

Executive Summary: The Fourth Circuit recently upheld a finding of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that four employees were not supervisors, even though each employee oversaw the daily work of between 22 and 40 workers. The Fourth Circuit acknowledged that there was some evidence of supervisory authority but deferred to the NLRB's conclusions that the employees at issue were not supervisors. See Pac Tell Grp., Inc. v. NLRB, No. 15-1111, unpublished (Dec. 23, 2015).

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).