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26 Jul 2017 Woo-hoo! Federal Court Overrules NLRB, Says Companies Can Require Employees to Promote Positivity

  The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) attack on personnel policies has been well-chronicled over the years. In May 2016, however, the NLRB’s view of handbook policies arguably peaked when it struck down numerous policies in a T-Mobile handbook, including one that generally asked employees to be professional and maintain a “positive work environment.” In that case, the NLRB explained its view by stating: “[w]e find that employees would reasonably construe the rule to restrict…

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24 Jul 2017 Closing Time: NLRB Considers Shuttering Even More Offices

On July 20, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced it is considering closing two more offices: its office in Anchorage, Alaska, and its office in Little Rock, Arkansas. The public is invited to submit comments on the potential closings by Aug. 25.   The Anchorage office is part of Region 19 out of Seattle and the Little Rock office falls under Region 15 out of New Orleans. The announcement follows a similar one about…

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17 Jul 2017 Affirmed: Wisconsin’s Right-to-Work Law Latest to Withstand Judicial Scrutiny

  More than half the states in the nation now have right-to-work laws in place. Wisconsin was one of the more recent states to enact such legislation, and, as often is the case, it was met with much resistance by labor unions, including judicial challenges. A federal lawsuit filed by affiliates of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) arguing that the law, among other things, violated the U.S. Constitution was struck down by a…

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11 Jul 2017 If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try, Try Again: UAW Files Petition for Union Vote at Nissan

  For years the United Autoworkers Union (UAW) has attempted to organize foreign auto manufacturers in the U.S., but its efforts have largely failed. Indeed, while the UAW continues to represent most production and maintenance workers at the big American car companies’ sites in this country, the union has failed to gain any strongholds within its Japanese counterparts, despite constant efforts over the years.   Now, the UAW is trying again. It was recently announced…

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29 Jun 2017 An Unlikely Union: Labor Leaders Join Trump In Seeking Changes to NAFTA

  President Trump announced earlier this year that his administration will be seeking to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The president heavily criticized the longstanding trade deal during his campaign, so this came as little surprise. American labor unions also have been critical of NAFTA over the years due to perceived negative impact on American jobs and actively lobbied against its passage back in the ‘90s. While organized labor by and large tends…

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29 Jun 2017 Swan Song? NLRB Contemplates Shuttering San Diego Office

  On June 27, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced in a press release that it is contemplating closing the agency’s San Diego office. The San Diego office handles cases and proceedings arising in Southern California and falls under NLRB Region 21 out of Los Angeles.   The general counsel’s office has invited public comments regarding the potential closure to be submitted to the agency via emails to feedback@nlrb.gov by July 31.   It…

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27 Jun 2017 Will Amazon’s Acquisition Impact Labor Relations at Whole Foods?

  The grocery industry has a relatively high unionization rate – especially in this day and age where private sector union membership in general is below 7%. While Whole Foods has been a target of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union for years, the company nevertheless has been able to remain one of the only big supermarket players without a union presence. According to its CEO, it’s been able to do so because…

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23 Jun 2017 Negotiating Tips: The Art of the Ratification Bonus

  Every negotiation, especially complex negotiations, requires careful planning and, once things get underway, creative ideas and tools to bring the deal to completion. In the collective bargaining context, one often overlooked tool available to companies that can help “grease the skids” is the ratification bonus (aka “signing bonus”). There are two critical components to an effective ratification bonus: 1) structuring it in a way that truly incentivizes a union to accept the deal you…

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21 Jun 2017 Untangling the Web? Senator Introduces Bill to Reverse Obama-Era Ambush Union Election Rules

  During President Obama’s two terms in office, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a slew of game-changing decisions and rules affecting labor-management relations in the U.S. Perhaps none more so than the “ambush election rules” that took effect in April 2015. Those rules dramatically shortened the time an employer has to campaign against a union prior to an election in its workplace, among other things, and they continue to make headlines.   On…

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20 Jun 2017 SCOTUS Declines to Weigh in on Micro-Units, But There Still is Hope

  On June 19, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to accept an appeal filed by Macy’s, Inc., regarding a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that imposed a micro bargaining unit within one of the company’s department stores. Specifically, the NLRB held that a union could seek to represent only the fragrance and cosmetic workers on two floors of the store.   In 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit…

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