New NLRB standard exposes more employers to union, other pressures

August 27, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has adopted a new and broader standard of what constitutes joint employment by taking a stand that abandons a long-accepted standard in favor of one the Board claims better reflects “the current economic landscape.”

The new view of joint employment will bring major change not just to employers using staffing agencies but also to employers that operate on a franchise model or use various kinds of contingent workers, according to attorneys closely watching the Board’s actions.

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Fast-food strikes, NLRB policies take center stage

April 15, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

A day after the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) controversial “quickie election” rule took effect, low-wage workers across the country took to the streets in an effort to boost their pay and join unions.

The Fight for $15 campaign, supported by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), set April 15 as the date for the latest round of strikes that began in 2012. The protests include fast-food, homecare, airport, and other low-wage workers, including adjunct professors. Organizers reported that strikes were set for more than 230 cities and college campuses.

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NLRB says employees may use company computers for organizing activity

December 12, 2014 - by: HR Hero 4 COMMENTS

In perhaps one of its boldest moves, on December 11, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) overturned existing precedent and held that employees have the right to use their employer’s e-mail system for Section 7 concerted activity, including union-organizing activities, during nonbusiness hours. The decision obviously affects employers’ policies on employee e-mail use.

As background, the NLRB previously held in Register Guard, 351 NLRB 1110 (2007), that employers could bar employee use of their e-mail systems for nonbusiness purposes, including union or other communications protected under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), so long as the employer does so on a nondiscriminatory basis. In other words, the employer did not have to let employees use its e-mail system when it came to union business, including organizing campaigns.

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NLRB ratifies some actions taken with recess appointees

August 05, 2014 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has announced that it has ratified some of the actions it took while it was made up of mostly recess appointees who have since been judged to be invalid. However, the ratification likely won’t have any effect on the cases decided during that time, according to John P. Hasman, a partner in the St. Louis office of Armstrong Teasdale.

In a statement released August 4, the Board said that on July 18, it unanimously ratified all administrative, personnel, and procurement actions it took while it was operating with the recess appointees—January 4, 2012, to August 5, 2013.

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NLRB’s McDonald’s franchise determination called ‘aggressive play’

July 30, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that the McDonald’s corporation is a joint employer with its franchisees is a departure from longtime precedent that’s drawing fire from the fast-food giant and other business interests.

The NLRB’s Office of the General Counsel released a statement on July 29 saying the Oak Brook, Illinois-based corporation could be named as a joint employer in a rash of complaints stemming from employee efforts to unionize and fight for higher wages. The decision is “another aggressive play” by the NLRB, according to Bart N. Sisk, an attorney with Butler Snow LLP in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Obama’s three NLRB recess appointments were invalid, Supreme Court rules

June 26, 2014 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

On June 26, 2014, the U.S Supreme Court unanimously upheld the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Noel Canning v. NLRB, concluding that President Barack Obama’s three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)—Sharon Block, Richard Griffin, and Terence Flynn—were not valid.  Accordingly, since three out of the five members were invalidly appointed, the NLRB lacked a quorum.  That means Board decisions, including union-friendly rulings on social media, confidentiality rules, and off-duty employee access to the workplace, are now affected and likely invalid

In January 2012, President Obama filled three vacancies on the NLRB while the Senate was on its 20-day holiday break. Republicans objected to the president’s appointments, claiming the Senate wasn’t in recess because it was holding pro forma sessions every few days.

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NLRB invites briefs on case concerning use of employer’s e-mail system

May 05, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is inviting interested parties to file briefs in a case that could overrule a decision that allows employers to restrict employees’ use of their electronic communication systems.

On April 30, the NLRB issued its decision in Purple Communications, Inc. That decision notes that on October 24, 2013, an administrative law judge (ALJ) dismissed an allegation that Purple Communications violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by prohibiting the use of its electronic equipment and e-mail system for activity that was not related to business purposes.

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NLRB to review Northwestern University football ruling

April 24, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

On April 24, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that it will review a regional director’s decision that Northwestern University’s scholarship football players are employees who are eligible to unionize.

The Board’s announcement came one day before a secret-ballot election, which will go on as scheduled. The NLRB said the ballots will be impounded until it affirms, modifies, or reverses the decision.

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Northwestern’s appeal of football ruling claims NLRB ignored evidence

April 10, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Northwestern University’s appeal of a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling claims an NLRB regional director ignored evidence that the school’s scholarship football players are students—not employees—and relied too much on the testimony of a single player.

On April 9, the private university located in Evanston, Illinois, asked the full NLRB to review and overturn the March 26 ruling by NLRB regional director Peter Sung Ohr. That ruling said the university’s scholarship football players are employees and are therefore eligible to vote on union representation. The NLRB has set a union election for April 25. The Board may postpone the election in light of the appeal, but it doesn’t have to.

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NLRB resurrects proposal on speeding up union elections

February 05, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is reprising its 2011 effort to change the rules related to union representation—an effort that sparked opposition from employers then and will surely do so again.

A statement from the NLRB says that in substance, the proposed amendments are identical to the representation procedure changes first put forth in June 2011. The proposed amendments were struck down in 2012 when a federal district court judge in Washington, D.C., cited the lack of an NLRB quorum.

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