NLRB says employees may use company computers for organizing activity

December 12, 2014 - by: HR Hero 2 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 adopts ‘quickie election’ rule

December 12, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision to adopt a rule speeding up union representation elections continues to draw fire, as opponents of the change consider legal options.

The Board’s action, announced on December 12, represents the second time the controversial regulation—dubbed the “quickie” or “ambush” election rule by detractors—has been advanced. In June 2011, the changes were proposed, but they were struck down in 2012 because only two members participated in the vote.

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Latest fast-food protests buoyed by NLRB, Obama stance

September 02, 2014 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

More fast-food protests are planned for September 4, with the latest round including homecare workers and possible civil disobedience.

Fast-food and other low-wage workers have been staging periodic strikes and demonstrations since 2012 in hopes of increasing their hourly wage. In addition to expanding the type of workers represented, planners of the new protests have said they’re ready to face arrests for nonviolent civil disobedience.

This week’s protests also are significant because they’re the first since National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Richard Griffin issued an announcement on July 29 that the McDonald’s corporation is a joint employer with its franchisees. That means the corporate giant could be held jointly responsible in complaints stemming from employee efforts to unionize and fight for higher wages.

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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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UAW trying different approach to unionize Volkswagen plant

July 11, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Despite two failed attempts to unionize the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the United Auto Workers (UAW) on July 10 announced the creation of Local 42, a local that Chattanooga VW workers can join voluntarily.

“We’ve had ongoing discussions with Volkswagen and have arrived at a consensus with the company,” Gary Casteel, the UAW’s secretary-treasurer, said in a statement about the union’s latest move. “Upon Local 42 signing up a meaningful portion of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga workforce, we’re confident the company will recognize Local 42 by dealing with it as a members’ union that represents those employees who join the local. As part of this consensus, the UAW is committed to continuing its joint efforts with Volkswagen to ensure the company’s expansion and growth in Chattanooga.”

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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 in Northwestern football case

May 12, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is inviting interested parties to submit briefs on the Northwestern University football case. Briefs must be submitted on or before June 26, 2014.

At the request of the university, the NLRB agreed on April 24 to review the decision of a regional director finding that the university’s scholarship football players are employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and therefore are eligible to unionize.

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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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