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The Latest Developments in Federal Labor Policy

Over the past several weeks, there has been very significant activity with regard to rulemakings and court decisions concerning the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

Top Five Labor Law Developments for March 2019

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that a private-sector union may not require non-member objectors (known as Beck objectors) to pay for its political lobbying expenses. United Nurses and Applied Professionals (Kent Hospital), 367 NLRB No. 94 (Mar. 1, 2019).

On The Front Lines (No. 4, April 2019)

A company’s website used to be the primary vehicle for communicating with its external audiences, its intranet for connecting with employees. Both were largely one-way streets in terms of dialogue. The respective audiences weren’t invited to engage in the conversation. At least not out in the open for everyone else to see, and potentially escalate further.

NLRB General Counsel Seeks to Limit Use of Investigative Subpoenas in Unfair Labor Practice Investigations

The National Labor Relations Board’s Office of General Counsel is urging Regional Directors to limit their use of investigative subpoenas and instead issue complaints “based on the evidence available,” according to a March 13, 2019, memorandum obtained by Bloomberg Law.

Third Thursdays with Ruthie: Picketing, Bannering, and Scabby the Rat

For many years, unions have used “Scabby the Rat” as a symbol of protest. In this episode of the Third Thursdays podcast, Ruthie Goodboe and Brian Hayes take a look at the current state of the law as it relates to the use of Scabby and what constitutes legal picketing and bannering.

Scabby the Rat: Threatening Pest or Famous Labor Icon?

Employers have at least one way to rid themselves of Scabby the Rat, a staple of labor union protest, following a decision from a federal appeals court upholding an ordinance enacted by the Town of Grand Chute, Wisconsin, banning anything placed on a public right-of-way that might obstruct vision or distract passing drivers. Construction & Gen. Laborers’ Union 330 v. Town of Grand Chute, No. 18-1739 (7th Cir. Feb. 14, 2019). The Seventh Circuit has jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

Federal Appeals Court Reworks Legal Test To Determine Faculty’s Union Status

In a unanimous opinion, a federal appeals court just rejected the National Labor Relations Board’s “subgroup majority status rule” for determining when college and university faculty members are to be deemed managers and therefore excluded from coverage under the National Labor Relations Act (University of Southern California v. NLRB). The rule, first articulated in the Board’s 2014 Pacific Lutheran decision, required that a faculty subgroup (e.g. nontenure faculty) seeking to organize must have majority control of any committee that made managerial decisions before the Board would find that subgroup to be managers.

Top Five Labor Law Developments for February 2019

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Member Mark Gaston Pearce has withdrawn his name from consideration for another term on the Board. Pearce reportedly explained his decision by stating it felt best to “remove myself from the center of a political tug of war.” Pearce’s nomination had stalled in the U.S. Senate, which ended its last term without voting on the re-nomination. Many were surprised when President Donald Trump re-nominated Pearce, who had drawn criticism from business groups for a perceived anti-business bias during his tenure on the Board. Until Trump selects a new Democratic nominee for the five-member Board, the NLRB will continue to have a 3-1 Republican majority.

Labor Board: Nonmembers Cannot Be Compelled to Pay Union Lobbying Expenses

Unions no longer can require objectors to contribute toward union lobbying costs, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled in a 3-1 decision. United Nurses & Allied Professional (Kent Hospital), 367 NLRB No. 94 (Mar. 1, 2019).

Big Labor Takes a Hit: NLRB Prohibits Unions From Forcing Nonmembers to Pay for Lobbying Activities

In a long-awaited decision, United Nurses & Allied Professionals (Kent Hospital), issued on March 1, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that a private-sector union may not require nonmember objectors (also known as Beck objectors) to pay for its political lobbying expenses because lobbying falls outside the union’s “representational function.”