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31 Jan 2014 Public Sector Right to Work Issue in Michigan Elevates to State High Court

Yesterday, the Michigan Supreme Court decided it would hear the State Employees Association and United Auto Workers Appeal of the August 2013 decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals decision held, contrary to the Union litigant’s arguments, that Michigan’s Right to Work Law applies to the State’s 35,000 workers. The Union litigants had argued that Michigan’s Constitution reserved the right to set employment conditions for state employees to the State Civil Service Commission….

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29 Jan 2014 A “Hail Mary”? Northwestern Student-Athletes File Union Petition with the NLRB

On Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, a group of college football players for Northwestern University filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asking that they be represented by a labor union. Former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter announced that the union seeking to represent the players is the College Athletes Players Association, which is backed by the United Steelworkers Union. This case raises a very interesting labor issue: Are student-athletes “employees” under the National…

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29 Jan 2014 SCOTUS: Donning And Doffing Time May Not Be Compensable

In an opinion handed down on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in Sandifer v. U.S. Steel that employees’ time spent donning and doffing protective gear was not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Per the Court, the the time spent donning and doffing protective gear had been excluded from compensation in a collective bargaining agreement. Over at our companion employment law blog, BT Currents, Doug Oldham has authored a post that takes a closer…

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29 Jan 2014 NLRB Moves Forward on UAW Charges at Mercedes-Benz Alabama

The Atlanta regional office of the NLRB has confirmed the agency has issued a complaint and is moving forward with a hearing on unfair labor practice charges filed by the UAW against Mercedes Benz US International, Inc. The charges stem from the UAW’s ongoing organizing efforts at Mercedes’ Alabama manufacturing plant. The NLRB’s Atlanta Office Regional Director Claude T. “Chip” Harrell Jr. was quoted saying, “Charges were filed, we investigated and determined there was reasonable…

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28 Jan 2014 NLRB Weekly Summary of Decisions – Dec. 30, 2013-Jan. 24, 2014

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has updated their website with a weekly summary of decisions for the weeks of: Dec. 30, 2013-Jan. 3, 2014; Jan. 6-10, 2014; Jan. 13-17, 2014; and Jan. 22-24, 2014. The summary of NLRB decisions can be accessed by visiting the NLRB’s website or by clicking on the links that we’ve provided our readers with below. National Labor Relations Board: Summary of Decisions for Dec. 30, 2013-Jan. 3, 2014. National Labor Relations Board:…

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27 Jan 2014 “The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same”: Bureau of Labor Statistics Releases Report On U.S. Unionization Rates For 2013

On Friday, Jan., 24, 2014, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report on unionization statistics in the U.S. for 2013. There were a number of findings in the report, but things remained relatively unchanged from 2012. Here are some of the highlights: 1.  The overall percentage of U.S. workers belonging to labor unions in 2013 remained at 11.3 percent (the same overall percentage as 2012). 2. The overall percentage of private-sector union employees…

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24 Jan 2014 NLRB ALJ Continues to Apply D.R. Horton, Despite Fifth Circuit Reversal

In a decision issued last week, an NLRB ALJ continued to apply the Board’s controversial D.R. Horton decision, despite the fact that the Fifth Circuit explicitly reversed the NLRB’s decision last month. As we have previously covered, D.R. Horton addresses the validity of arbitration clauses and class action waivers in employment agreements. The Board has taken the position that arbitration agreements which prohibit employees from filing collective or class actions violate Section 7 of the NLRA,…

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23 Jan 2014 Final nail in the coffin for quickie election rule?

In yesterday’s Federal Register, the NLRB published a final rule notice officially rescinding the “quickie election” rules which were held to be invalid by the D.C. District Court in May 2012. As we previously have covered, the new rules made significant changes to the timing and procedure of union elections.   The D.C. District Court held that the rules were invalid because the Board lacked a quorum when issuing the rules. The NLRB appealed that decision…

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22 Jan 2014 Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on the Constitutionality of Public Sector Unions

With all the focus on Noel Canning last week, it’s easy to overlook another labor case in front of the high court this term – Harris v. Quinn, No. 11-681, had oral argument in front of the Supreme Court yesterday and involves a constitutional challenge to agency shop rules for public employee unions. Under previous Supreme Court precedent, public employees who are represented by a union can be required to accept the exclusive representation of the…

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15 Jan 2014 Employee’s Complaint About Union Officials Watching Porn is Deemed “Human Imperfection” But Not Grounds for Retaliation

A union employee was suspended then terminated after being indicted – as part of an identity theft investigation by the prosecutor – which involved the public posting of names, salaries and Social Security numbers of the company’s managers during a previous strike. During her suspension, the employee claimed that she witnessed the union president and vice president looking at pornography during business hours, which she then reported to the union’s regional leaders. The employee also…

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