Columbia University decision latest NLRB victory for unions

August 24, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Colombia university campus groundsThe National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) ruling that graduate student assistants at private colleges and universities are entitled to unionize is the latest Board action seen as a boon to union interests.

In a 3-1 decision issued on August 23, the Board ruled that graduate assistants at Columbia University are employees as well as students and may therefore be represented by a union. The ruling overturns the 2004 Brown University decision that determined that students working as teaching and research assistants should be considered students, not employees.

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Court’s decision solidifies NLRB’s ‘quickie’ election rule

June 13, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A June 10 ruling by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a blow to employers hoping to escape the constraints of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) rule speeding up union representation elections.

The Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas and the National Federation of Independent Business filed the challenge to what many employers have dubbed the “quickie” or “ambush” election rule. The court’s opinion, authored by Judge Edith Brown Clement, states the Board “acted rationally and in furtherance of its congressional mandate in adopting the rule.”

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Compulsory public-sector union dues survive deadlocked Supreme Court

March 29, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A 4-4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a closely watched case on public-sector unions leaves previous legal precedent intact, effectively sealing a union victory.

On March 29, the evenly split Court issued a one-sentence ruling in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association that allows the decision of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to stand. If not for the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February, the ruling may have gone the other way.

“With Justice Scalia’s death, public-sector unions dodged not just a bullet but a cannonball,” Jeffrey Sloan, an attorney with Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai LLP in San Francisco, said after the ruling was announced.

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DOL’s new “persuader rule” limits employers’ ability to fight union organizing

March 23, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

A new rule scheduled to take effect April 25 is seen as placing new limits on employer efforts to fight union organizing drives. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that it will publish its new “persuader rule” in the March 24 Federal Register.

The DOL maintains that the new rule, which requires more disclosure of antiunion efforts, is necessary to ensure transparency during organizing campaigns, but employers worry that it will make it more difficult to communicate to workers their reasons for opposing unionization.

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West Virginia becomes 26th right-to-work state

by Rodney L. Bean

West Virginia became the nation’s 26th right-to-work state Friday when both houses of the West Virginia Legislature voted to override Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of right-to-work legislation. The new law will take effect May 4, 2016.

The legislation bans union security agreements—pacts between employers and labor unions that require employees to join a union and pay union dues in order to work for the employer. West Virginia employees will gain the right to refuse to join a union or pay union dues.

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NLRB dismisses petition to unionize Northwestern football players

August 17, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Just how the dismissal of the petition to unionize some Northwestern University football players will affect other representation issues before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is uncertain, but one issue the Board didn’t touch is whether scholarship football players should be considered employees.

The NLRB announced on August 17 that it had unanimously decided to dismiss the 2014 unionization petition because “asserting jurisdiction would not promote labor stability” because of the nature and structure of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

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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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Wisconsin becomes latest right-to-work state

On March 9, a signature by Governor Scott Walker made Wisconsin the 25th state to pass right-to-work legislation. The new law means private-sector workers who don’t join a union won’t have to pay what is known as “fair share” payments assessed on workers who are deemed to benefit from union contracts despite their nonunion status.

The bill represents another blow to organized labor in Wisconsin. Soon after taking office in 2011, Walker spearheaded a drive that cut collective bargaining rights for public-sector unions. That effort sparked huge protests and a recall campaign against him. The measure stood, and he survived the effort to remove him from office. In his 2014 reelection campaign, Walker downplayed right-to-work efforts, but when the bill passed, he promised to sign it.

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Right-to-work bill on the march in Wisconsin

February 26, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Wisconsin is on its way to becoming a right-to-work state. A right-to-work bill passed the state senate on February 25 and is expected to pass the assembly after that body takes it up on March 5. Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign the bill as soon as it passes.

The bill will likely have a negative impact on private-sector union interests in the state. In 2011, Walker eliminated the collective bargaining rights of public-sector unions, which resulted in large protests lasting several months in the capitol. The present measure has had little resistance, probably as a result of the timing and the inevitability that right to work will become law.

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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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