If anyone had a question about how the National Labor Relations Board decision on Specialty Healthcare and the recent implementation of the Ambush Election regulation would play out, we got an answer today. Today the NLRB released a decision on four cases involving Nestle Waters. The company has gone from having no petitions filed on April 13, to four petitions in four facilities filed in California on April 15. The petitioned bargaining units were contested to the Regional Director and ruled on today, May 5th. The elections in each of the four petitioned units will occur on Friday – this Friday, May 8th, just three weeks after the employer received the petitions. Read More
Despite our best efforts and after a four year battle, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)’s “Ambush Election” rule will go into effect today, Tuesday, April 14th.
This rule shortens the time frame before a union election robbing employees of the ability to gather the facts they need to make an informed decision and infringes in employee privacy requiring them to supply home addresses, telephone numbers, emails, work locations, shifts and job classifications. Read More
It comes as no surprise that, today, the President vetoed Congress’ disapproval of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “Ambush” Election Rule, finalized by the Board late last year and which goes into effect on April 14.
In the Memorandum accompanying the pocket veto (a veto occurring while Congress is adjourned), the President states that Congress’s Resolution of Disapproval would “block modest, but overdue reforms to simplify and streamline private sector union elections.” The word “streamline,” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means “to make simpler or more efficient.” However, when looking at the NLRB’s own data, I am confused as to what needs to be “made simpler or more efficient.” Currently, in over 95 percent of election petitions filed, a union election is held in 60 days or less. That is two months, which when you compare to our political campaign cycles, is merely a blink of an eye. So what exactly needs to be streamlined with this process? Read More
Unless or until it’s stopped, the National Labor Relations Board regulation that denies employees time to consider whether to join a union by putting union elections on an inappropriately fast track will go into effect on April 14th. This is troubling to manufacturers because there is scant evidence anywhere that the union election process needs to be sped up at all and the regulation would force employers to turn over closely guarded personal information such as an employee’s cell phone number and work schedule. Read More
In the wake of the 2011 Specialty Healthcare decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the country has seen a proliferation of so-called “micro-units” instead of the traditional “wall-to-wall” bargaining units. The change in the test for determining the appropriate size of a bargaining unit has led to the creation of these smaller micro-units even when every other factor, especially common sense, points in the opposite direction. Read More
For reasons not entirely clear to legal experts, the NLRB opted to not appeal a Fifth Circuit ruling in D.R. Horton, Inc. v. NLRB reversing their stance that a company cannot require its employees to consent to mandatory arbitration and class action waivers. The Fifth Circuit is not alone; other federal and state courts have also disfavored the NLRB’s viewpoint. Despite this trend and although the NLRB allowed the deadline to pass without requesting certiorari, attorneys involved in the controversial issue expect the that the agency will not change its position.
When the case entered federal court, the NAM filed an amicus brief. on June 6, 2012 arguing that prohibiting mandatory arbitration and class action waivers upon employment will increase costs for companies and result in unnecessary litigation. Furthermore, the NAM challenged the NLRB’s authority to regulate individual contracts dealing with rights not covered by the National Labor Relations Act. The court agreed and determined that the NLRB’s decision went beyond its statutory authority.
As the landscape now stands, companies will likely prevail in federal court on the issue, but will still battle the NLRB at the agency level. It is possible that the NLRB refused to appeal the case to the high court because it feared an adverse ruling. If this clash between agency and federal court continues, the Supreme Court will likely have to review the issue. The NAM will continue to weigh in on this issue and take whatever steps appropriate to prohibit the NLRB from stepping outside its statutory authority.
Ryan Sims is a Law Clerk for the Manufacturing Center for Legal Action
Individual cases before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rarely get noticed by anyone other than labor or employment lawyers, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth watching. These decisions have broad implications for all employers, not just the one involved directly in the case.
Recently, an NLRB administrative law judge (ALJ) issued a decision that, if allowed to stand, would have significant implications for manufacturers and their intellectual property. The judge concluded that Boeing’s prohibition of cameras—a policy that has been in place for 35 years—constitutes an unfair labor practice because Boeing has no credible business need to protect its manufacturing process. Of course, as technology has developed, the rule has captured additional devices, and today smartphones fall under the ban.
Boeing has good reason to be cautious about allowing unfettered photographic access to its shop floor. For one, its competitors and some foreign governments would love to get their hands on Boeing’s proprietary information. The ALJ would make that easy for corporate spies—just go to an employee’s Facebook page and study photos from inside Boeing. In addition, many of Boeing’s products are subject to strict export controls. Making photos of these products or processes public could violate federal law.
The NLRB’s decision puts Boeing in a tough spot, creating a problem where none existed. And, besides, NLRB lawyers shouldn’t be in the business of creating new rights for employees in the first place.
Because of the dangerous precedent this case could set for future disputes before the NLRB, the NAM filed a brief highlighting this overreach and the impact it would have on businesses, particularly manufacturers. For more information about the case, click here.
When the Senate confirmed nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) late last month, it marked the first time that all five seats had been filled since 2003. It also marked a turning point in labor policy. Recently, decisions rested with an unbalanced configuration that almost never had a dissenting view. That did not seem right. After all, the NLRB is an extension of a government founded on the belief that tyranny of the majority is just as undemocratic as dictatorial rule.
Although the National Association of Manufacturers does not tend to agree with NLRB on a lot of its more recent opinions, we welcome a fully-staffed board ready to engage in the kind of robust debate of the issues that should take place before making decisions that impact our labor law system. Dissenting opinions are an important part of litigation. They often help to clarify a ruling, even when the overall outcome leaves something to be desired. A dissenting opinion could become the basis for why a law should change or why a previous ruling should be overturned.
Completing the NLRB roster brings the agency’s legitimacy back into play. Manufacturers are hopeful that the board’s members will avoid partisan politics as they carefully weigh all the options and opinions at hand. Our democracy depends on a healthy dose of dissent to properly function. So does our labor law system.
Amanda Wood is the director of employment policy for the National Association of Manufacturers.
It seems like each new week brings another setback for the National Labor Relations Board. This morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a ruling invalidating President Obama’s recess appointments to the Board. The Third Circuit ruling was essentially the same as the conclusion reached by the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit – the President’s recess appointment power was intended for times between sessions of Congress not simply short breaks taken during a session for lawmakers to return home to their states.
This week’s ruling follows on the heels of another defeat for the Board last week that invalidated its notice posting rule after nearly two years of legal wrangling. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit invalidated the notice posting rule as a result of a suit filed by the NAM in September of 2011.
Joe Trauger is vice president of human resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.
Is it possible for an entire federal agency to be in denial? The National Labor Relations Board has been rebuked, rebuffed and reminded by the Courts that its powers are not limitless. Yet, the Board remains curiously silent about the ruling last week that served as a body-blow to an agency that just two years ago was sticking out its chest and poking its proverbial bully-finger at businesses.
The NLRB website still has a page dedicated to an out-of-date poster with no mention of the fact that it has been rejected by the Courts. It’s like returning to your parents’ home and finding they still haven’t torn down the New Kids on the Block poster in your sister’s room. It’s kind of cute, but also a little discomforting. It might be time for the Board to acknowledge its poster idea was ill-conceived and take it down once and for all.