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Showing 22 posts in National Labor Relations Board.

The Suggestion Box: Useful Management Tool or Unlawful Solicitation of Grievances

T-Mobile USA, Inc. ("T-Mobile") in 2015 created T-Voice, a nationwide program through which customer service representatives could submit "pain points" regarding certain aspects of the job, including ideas to improve customer service. The majority of these pain points addressed customer service issues, such as billing, fraud procedures, access to computer programs, and at times, the type of music customers were subjected to while on hold. Some of the suggestions have led to action being taken by T-Mobile, like requests for device-charging stations, which resulted in T-Mobile installing three stations. More ›

NLRB Proposes Rule that Would Deny Undergraduate and Graduate Students the Right to Unionize

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has proposed a new rule which would exclude undergraduate and graduate students from coverage under Section 2(3) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Specifically, students who perform study-related services in return for financial compensation at private colleges and universities would not be able to collectively organize as employees. The proposed rule is subject to a sixty-day comment period. More ›

NFL Running Back Union Blocked in Attempt to Form Separate Bargaining Unit

A unit clarification petition filed by the fledgling International Brotherhood of Professional Running Backs (IBPRB) was dismissed on September 17, 2019, by the Acting Regional Director of Region 13 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The IBPRB wanted to carve out running backs from the collective bargaining agreement between the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA)—the union that represents all NFL players—so that they could negotiate their own labor contract with the NFL. The IBPRB cited several reasons for their petition, including  "unique career structures," along with a claim that the mini-max rookie wage contract is economically harmful to running backs, but "advantageous" to quarterbacks. More ›

NLRB Deals Another Blow to Obama-Era Micro-Units

From an employer's perspective, one of the most challenging decisions to come out of the Obama-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was the concept of "micro-units" within an employer's organizational structure. Under the concept, employers could have multiple, small bargaining units, sometimes involving different unions, notwithstanding the fact that a broader group of employees shared a significant (though not ''overwhelming'') community of interest. That decision was later overruled by the NLRB in PCC Structurals, Inc. 365 NLRB No. 160 (2017), which restored the Board's prior standard for determining the appropriateness of a petitioned-for bargaining unit. Now, in The Boeing Company, 368 NLRB No. 67 (2019), the NLRB has further clarified the required analysis for this determination. More ›

NLRB to Revisit Issue of When Employees Lose NLRA Section 7 Protection When Using Threatening and Demeaning Language

While discussing work assignments with his supervisor, an employee uses abusive and profane language. In another incident, the employee disrupts a workplace meeting by playing loud music with racial and political overtones. These and other behaviors led to discipline which was in turn challenged by the employee as an unfair labor practice. In General Motors LLC and Charles Robinson (14-CA-197985; 14-CA-208242), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) requested public comment on when insubordinate, threatening or intimidating behavior should not constitute protected activity under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). It is not uncommon for the NLRB to request public comment in situations where there may be a policy shift.

The facts of General Motors LLC and Charles Robinson are relatively straightforward. Charles Robinson is a Union Committee representative, and he could be characterized as a zealous supporter of worker rights in a unionized environment. From a management perspective, he could just as easily be deemed a disruptive, uncooperative, intimidating, and threatening employee. Robinson was disciplined by the employer for essentially three reasons: More ›

NLRB Reverses Itself and Broadens Employer Property Rights in Restricting Access to Non-Employee Union Agents

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has revisited the issue of when an employer may restrict access to its private property by non-employee union agents. In Kroger Limited Partnership, a union business agent was denied access to the food store's parking lot to solicit Kroger's customers to boycott the store. When the union agent refused to leave, the supermarket called police to force the union agent to leave the premises. The NLRB was subsequently was called upon to assess whether Kroger's actions were unlawful and discriminatory under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). More ›

A "Perfectly Clear" Successor Under the NLRB is Less Than Perfectly Clear

A recent decision by a three judge panel of the federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals highlights potential pitfalls for successor employers who want to establish new compensation terms. In First Student, Inc., the D.C. Circuit panel concluded the employer in that case was a "perfectly clear" successor under existing precedent of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) because it intended to offer employment to the all of the employees of the unionized predecessor who met minimum criteria. The concept of a perfectly clear successor first was raised by the United States Supreme Court in NLRB v. Burns International Security Services, Inc.. In that decision, the Supreme Court noted that in certain circumstances it is "perfectly clear that the new employer plans to retain all of the employees in the unit," and the employer then is obligated to bargain with the union before making unilateral changes to wages, benefits, and other mandatory terms or conditions of employment. More ›

NLRB Ruling: Simply Misclassifying Workers is Not an Unfair Labor Practice

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continues to retreat from its previously expansive approach to what might be considered interference with Section 7 rights under the National Labor Relations Act (the "Act"). Followers of Hinshaw's blog submissions will recall the NLRB gave a very broad interpretation during the Obama era to the scope of Section 8(a)(1) of the Act. An August 29, 2019 ruling from the NLRB in Velox Express, Inc. vs. Jeannie Edge further highlights how this is certainly not true of the Trump-era Board. More ›

NLRB Announces Three Proposed Rules, ULPs May No Longer Block an Election

On August 12, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued three proposed amendments to the rules on union representation elections. These three amendments, outlined below, would change the "blocking charge" policy, the voluntary recognition bar, and the rule on contractual representation clauses in the construction industry. More ›

NLRB Serves Up Guidance for Restaurants on Mandatory Arbitration Agreements in Post-Epic Systems Era

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently provided guidance in Cordúa Restaurants, Inc., 368 NLRB No. 43, for employers seeking to require employees to sign class action and collective action waivers in arbitration agreements when facing litigation. By way of background, the U.S. Supreme Court previously held in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, 138 S.Ct. 1612 (2018), that agreements containing class action and collective action waivers, and provisions stipulating that employment disputes be resolved by individualized arbitration, do not violate the National Labor Relations Act. As a result, the Court held that these agreements must be enforced as written to follow the Federal Arbitration Act (the "Act"). In Cordúa Restaurants, the NLRB was faced with two issues of first impression in the post-Epic Systems era: (1) whether the Act prohibits employers from circulating such agreements in response to employees opting in to a collective action; and (2) whether the Act prohibits employers from threatening to discharge an employee who refuses to sign a mandatory arbitration agreement. The NLRB held that both actions were consistent with Epic Systems and were not forbidden under the Act. The Cordúa Restaurants decision provides significant opportunity for employers to revise arbitration agreements to preclude participation in these multi-party litigations and require that employees sign these agreements. More ›

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