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23 Jan 2017 Will Seattle Uber Drivers Really Be Able to Unionize? Uber Takes Legal Action to Halt City Rules

  Last week, Uber, by way of a subsidiary, brought an action in Washington state court claiming that the City of Seattle’s recently adopted labor ordinance is arbitrary and capricious and that the City did not follow proper rulemaking procedures when they were adopted. The complaint also alleges that the city’s rulemaking process denied members of the public from having a “meaningful opportunity to comment.”   Late last year, Seattle news outlets started reporting about…

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13 Jan 2017 U.S. Supreme Court to Decide D.R. Horton Arbitration Waiver Issue

  The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear three cases all related to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision in D.R. Horton in which the NLRB held that companies that require employees to sign class action waivers violate their rights to act collectively under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).   Though class action waivers have previously been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court under the Federal Arbitration Act…

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23 Nov 2016 NLRB Affirms Decision Finding Charter Schools Subject to NLRA

  In a recent union election, two units of teachers and staff members at a Pennsylvania charter school overwhelmingly voted in favor of representation. See Agora Cyber Charter School, Case Nos. 04-RC-170767, 04-RC-179402 (NLRB, Nov. 16, 2016). The case offers an interesting look at the National Labor Relations Board’s jurisdictional limit to only private employers. Section 2(2) of the National Labor Relations Act provides that the term “employer” shall not include any state or political…

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31 Aug 2016 NLRB: Is Misclassification of Independent Contractors an Unfair Labor Practice?

  The question: Is misclassification of independent contractors an unfair labor practice? The answer: Not yet.   In an advice memorandum dated December 18, 2015, but just issued this week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) tangled with the question of whether mere misclassification of truck drivers as independent contractors constituted an independent unfair labor practice charge. The NLRB Advice Memo does not quite get there. However, in circumstances where there is a misclassification supplemented with…

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23 Aug 2016 Down Goes Brown – NLRB Finds Graduate Assistants May Unionize

  In yet another precedent overturning decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled on Aug. 23 that student assistants at Columbia University could form a union under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The decision was not unexpected given the Board’s current penchant for overturning precedent, both recent and ancient. In today’s Columbia University ruling, the NLRB overturned its decision in Brown University, which it decided in 2004.   In the 3-1 decision, 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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06 Jul 2016 NLRB Hits Ceiling in Continual Push to Expand Scope of Protected Concerted Activity

  Whether the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is issuing rulings invalidating employee handbook policies that encourage civil behavior among employees or attempting to get discharged employees reinstated after profanity-laced Facebook rants against their supervisors, the board seems determined to push the limits of what can be considered “protected concerted activity” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Regardless of whether an employer is a union shop or not, under the NLRA employers may not…

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09 Jun 2016 Fifth Circuit Agrees NLRB Micro-Unit Test Here to Stay

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is the latest federal court of appeals to approve of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “micro-unit” test first enunciated in Specialty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center of Mobile, 357 NLRB No. 83 (2011). See our recent post here. The Fifth Circuit case involves a Macy’s department store in Massachusetts. The case garnered national attention because many practitioners and prognosticators believed it had the best chance of overturning the NLRB’s Specialty Healthcare rule. The…

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03 Jun 2016 Are Permanent Replacements Permanent Anymore?

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has yet again grabbed the opportunity to sweep away years of precedent in its recent ruling in American Baptist Homes of the West d/b/a Piedmont Gardens, 364 N.L.R.B. No. 13 (5/31/16).  In Piedmont Gardens, the board held that a company violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) if it hires permanent replacements during a strike to allegedly “punish the union” and its members and to “avoid future strikes.”  …

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27 May 2016 NLRB Defends Attempt to Encroach on Tribal Sovereignty

On May 23, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that it has authority over labor practices at two Michigan tribal casinos. This argument stems from petitions filed earlier this year by both casino tribes — the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. The casinos urged the court to reverse a Sixth Circuit ruling, which upheld NLRB authority over the tribes’ employment practices.  …

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