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26 May 2017 Senator Introduces Bill To Amend NLRA And Reverse Micro-Unit Trend

  It’s been a busy few weeks on the micro-unit front. As just reported on the blog, Chairman Philip Miscimarra recently signaled he would like to overturn the National Labor Relations Board’s decision in Specialty Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center of Mobile, 357 NLRB 934 (2011), that gave rise to a wave of micro-units in recent years. Following on the heels is news out of the Senate on May 24 that some members of Congress also…

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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 May 2017 Another Overreach? NLRB Finds Company Violated the NLRA by Retaliating Against Former Employee for Filing FLSA (Not NLRA) Class Action

  From scrutiny of class action waivers to invalidating non-union employer handbooks, we’ve seen the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over the past eight years incrementally expand and encroach into areas companies never expected. This means companies have had to deal in totally different ways with the agency traditionally known for governing management-union relations.   On May 16, the NLRB broke new ground yet again in its decision in MEI-GSR Holdings, LLC, 365 NLRB No….

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17 Apr 2017 NLRB Invalidates Another Employer Arbitration Agreement – But NOT Under D.R. Horton

  On April 13, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) invalidated yet another employer arbitration program. This time, however, the NLRB did not do so under its infamous D.R. Horton case. In Dish Network, LLC, the NLRB struck down an arbitration agreement an employer used with its workforce because: 1) as drafted, employees would reasonably construe it as limiting or prohibiting them from filing charges with the NLRB; and 2) a confidentiality provision within the…

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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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