Showing 6 posts in Bargaining.

The NLRB Rings in the New Year by Unringing a Few Bells

Over the last month, we have seen a number of significant restorations of status quo antes. These have come in the form of reverting to earlier precedent, regulations, or guidance. Without further ado, we present some of the more notable developments: More ›

Management Rights Clause Does Not Give Management Right to Skip Bargaining Over Non-Compete and Confidentiality Agreement D.C. Court of Appeals Says

In Minteq v. NLRA, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held an employer committed an unfair labor practice under Section 8 (a)(5) by failing to notify and bargain with a union over its requirement that new employees sign a non-compete and confidentiality agreement as a condition of employment. More ›

NLRB has wide Discretion to Delineate Parameters of Bargaining Unit

Despite its efforts to create a larger bargaining unit comprised of allegedly similarly-situated employees, an Alabama nursing home operator recently learned the hard way about the NLRB's "wide" discretion in determining who may be included in a bargaining unit. More ›

Ninth Circuit Enjoins new Hospital Owner from Refusing to Bargain

A company purchasing a hospital required the seller to reject a collective bargaining agreement with a nurse’s union as a condition to the purchase. After the purchase, the company refused to recognize and bargain with the union despite having received a letter from the union indicating that the new owner was a successor employer. The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) Regional Director petitioned the district court for and was granted injunctive relief under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), resulting in an order for the company to cease and desist from refusing and failing to bargain in good faith. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the injunction, noting that the district court did not abuse its discretion. First, there was a likelihood of success on the merits of the underlying interference and failure-to-bargain allegations. The consistency in the staff before and after the sale created a continuity of operation that established that the successor employer had a duty to bargain. At the time that the new owner declared the hospital “fully staffed,” a majority of the nurses on staff were union incumbents. Second, absent injunctive relief, it was likely that the union would suffer irreparable harm because a delay in bargaining following such a transition in ownership threatens industrial peace and discredits the union in the eyes of employees. Third, these harms outweighed the financial and administrative costs the company would accrue if compelled to engage in good faith bargaining. Finally, the strong showing of likelihood of success on the merits and irreparable harm demonstrated that preliminary relief was in the public interest. Successor employers should carefully consider the number of employees necessary to conduct business operations in normal or substantially normal fashion upon acquiring a new business. This number, which should not be based on uncertain staff expansion contingent upon business growth, is critical to determining whether a union enjoys incumbent status following a change in ownership.

Small v. Avanti Health Systems LLC, No. 11-55563 (9th Cir. Oct. 31, 2011) 

Employer need not Disclose Result of Psychological Aptitude Tests to Union

A union requested copies of the results of a pre-hire psychological aptitude test administered by the employer as part of an investigation relating to a bargaining unit dispute. The employer refused to provide the results without the applicants’ consent, arguing that disclosing the aptitude test results would violate the applicants’ reasonable expectations of privacy because the employer had told applicants that the results would generally be treated as private. The union filed an unfair labor practice charge, alleging that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) required disclosure of the records. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit found that the applicants retained a legitimate expectation of privacy in the test results because the written notice that results could be disclosed in certain situations “could not eliminate all expectations of confidentiality in employee test results.” Employers should be aware that an exception allowing disclosure of sensitive information to a union in compliance with the NLRA does not necessarily require disclosure of such information in all circumstances once a demand is made by the union. Employers should review their policies and practices to identify records containing private or sensitive employee information and assess on a request-by-request basis whether such information should be disclosed to unions.

NLRB v. USPS, Case No. 11-1225 (1st Cir. Oct. 27, 2011)

NLRB Issues new rules Affecting Elections

On November 30, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided, by a 2-1 vote, to revise several sections of its Rules & Regulations in an attempt to expedite the election process. The NLRB majority stated that their interest was to end what they referred to as unnecessary litigation. A summary of the changes are as follows:  (1) hearing officers can limit the evidence introduced at pre-election hearings to the issue of whether an election should be held; (2) hearing officers can limit the filing of briefs; (3) appeals of a hearing officer’s decisions will be heard after the election is conducted; (4) elections will not be delayed pending an appeal; (5) requests for special permission to appeal will only be granted in extraordinary circumstances; and (6) the NLRB would have discretion on which appeals to hear. Although these rules are not as favorable to union organizing efforts as the Employee Free Choice Act or the initially proposed rule changes, non-union employers should be vigilant because unions have recently demonstrated increased organizing activities.