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19 May 2017 First-Year Report Card on Graduate Student Assistants Unionization

  Last fall, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) re-opened the door to unionization by graduate student assistants. The NLRB overturned 12 years of precedent and ruled that graduate assistants at Columbia were employees eligible to unionize under the NLRA. An entire school year has passed since that ruling in August 2016, so we wanted to provide a progress report on graduate student unionization.   At Columbia, the university at issue in the August NLRB case,…

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18 Apr 2017 Union Wins Representation Vote in Atlanta Area

  In a reminder to Georgia employers not to take the state’s typically low unionization rates for granted, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that a union has won the right to represent workers at an Atlanta-area logistics and distribution center. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union won the representation election 49-46 at a Nestlé facility in McDonough, Georgia.   While the overall unionization rate in the private sector in Georgia is very low (around 3…

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21 Feb 2017 UAW Announces ‘Buy Union American-Made’ Ad Campaign

  Looking to piggyback off the “keep jobs in America” theme touted by President Trump, the United Auto Workers (UAW) Union announced an ad campaign that urges people to buy union- and American-made cars.  UAW President Dennis Williams said the campaign could be similar to the “Look for the Union Label” jingle in in the 1970s in support of the now-defunct International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. “If it’s not built in the United States, then don’t…

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01 Dec 2016 UFC Fighters Seek to Unionize

  A group of prominent current and former UFC fighters, including past champion Georges St-Pierre, announced the formation of the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association on Nov. 30. In its official announcement, the group said “The Association’s sole concentration is to fight for the rights of MMA fighters and force UFC’s ownership to dramatically alter the company’s decade plus outrageous treatment of its athletes.” The group also included Bjorn Rebney, former CEO of MMA promotion company Bellator MMA.  …

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03 Nov 2016 Fourth Circuit Finds Nurses Are Not Supervisors – Could Unionize

  In a decision issued Nov. 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) at a nursing home in South Carolina were not supervisors and could therefore lawfully unionize. The decision reversed several prior cases from the Fourth Circuit which held otherwise, but the court explained the reversal was due to intervening action by the U.S. Supreme Court and the NLRB.   The…

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13 Jul 2016 Federal Court Strikes Down Part of Georgia’s Right to Work Law

  A federal court in Atlanta has struck down part of Georgia’s right to work law that sought to allow employees to withdraw from union membership and stop paying dues at any time. Federal law permits unions to impose irrevocable authorizations up to one year.   The law at issue became effective July 1, 2013.  Section 4 of the law prohibits an employer from deducting from “wages or other earnings of any employee any fee,…

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11 Jul 2016 NLRB Ruling: Temps Can be Part of Bargaining Units

  In a move foreshadowed on this blog for some time (see posts from July 7, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2015), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) released a decision today that will make it much easier for temporary employees to be included in bargaining units.   This issue has ping-ponged back and forth over the years. For decades, the rule was that if a union petitioned to represent direct employees at a work site along…

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22 Jun 2016 EEOC Critical of NLRB’s Investigation Confidentiality Concerns

An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) task force has released a comprehensive report on its 18-month study on the issue of harassment in the workplace. The Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace consisted of a select group of outside experts impaneled to examine harassment in the workplace and was co-chaired by two current EEOC Commissioners, Chai Feldblum and Victoria Lipnic. They recently published the “Report of the Co-Chairs of the EEOC Select…

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24 Mar 2016 Obama Supreme Court Nominee and the NLRB

  If you are interested in how President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court may rule on labor issues, both the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) and Politico have published recent stories about Judge Merrick Garland’s record on the District of Columbia Circuit.   Also, in the “On Labor” blog, author Hannah Belitz prepared a very thorough analysis of Judge’s Garland’s judicial record on NLRB cases. In her review, she found, “Between 1997 and 2016, Judge…

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23 Mar 2016 DOL Publishes Final Persuader Rule

  The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has published its long-awaited final rule regarding “persuaders” hired by employers during union organizing campaigns. The text of the full rule (clocking in at 446 pages) can be found here.   The rule essentially rewrites (although, the DOL uses the word “realigns”) the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA). As stated by the DOL, “This Final Rule requires that employers and the consultants they hire file reports…

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