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27 Jan 2015 U.S. Union Numbers Continue Their Decline – Reach 100 Year Low

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its annual report on unionization data in the United States, and the numbers continue to be on the decline for unions as a whole. Membership in unions nationally dropped from 11.3 percent in 2013 to 11.1 percent in 2014. Other interesting data points in the report include:   Public-sector workers had a union membership rate of 35.7 percent, more than five times higher than that of private-sector…

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26 Jan 2015 A New Frontier for Right-to-Work Laws?

Since December of last year, five different counties in Kentucky have passed “right-to-work laws” making it illegal for employers within their borders to require union membership as a condition of employment. While 24 states have passed such laws to date, this appears to be the first time efforts by smaller units of “state government” (i.e., counties) have been undertaken on this front. While the NLRA allows “states” to pass and implement right-to-work laws, it is…

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03 Nov 2014 NLRB Continues To Invalidate Class Action Waivers In Mandatory Arbitration Programs

While federal courts around the country – including the U.S. Supreme Court – continue to generally uphold “class action waivers” in mandatory arbitration programs, the NLRB continues to go the other way and find that such provisions violate the NLRA. Employers who have arbitration programs that require employees to have claims against companies heard in front of arbitrators rather than courts often include “class action waivers” in their programs. The waivers prohibit employees from forming…

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06 Oct 2014 Another One Bites the Dust: NLRB Now Rules Certain “No-Disruption Rules” Are Unlawful

  We’ve all seen the immense scrutiny coming down on employer personnel policies by the NLRB in recent years, and a new “no-no” as far as the Board is concerned can be added to the list: “no workplace disruption policies.” In Purple Communications, Inc., 361 NLRB No. 43 (2014), the NLRB took a look at a hearing impaired communication services company that maintained a rule that prohibited employees from “Causing, creating, or participating in a…

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13 Aug 2014 1 Is NOT The Loneliest Number…At Least At The NLRB

  Sticking to its recent trend of overturning employer-friendly precedent, the NLRB issued a ruling on Monday of this week that greatly expands the definition of “protected activity” under the NLRA. Historically, in order for conduct/activity to be protected under the NLRA, an employee had to show that he or she was engaging in “concerted” activity (i.e., “group action”) for “mutual aid and protection” of others rather than solely for the benefit of him or…

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18 Jun 2014 NLRB Again Overturns Discharge Of Employee Who Engaged In A Profanity-Laced Argument With A Manager In Front Of Customers

  This week the NLRB again overturned the discharge of an employee who engaged in a profanity-laced argument with a manager in the presence of customers. At issue in the case was an employee of Starbucks who was a known union supporter during a union campaign. The employee engaged in several acts of egregious misconduct in the span of just several months. The first incident occurred when the employee asked a manager for assistance during…

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19 May 2014 “Picture Perfect”: NLRB ALJ Finds Company’s Photographing Of Employees Holding Demonstrations Inside Plant Illegal Along With Its Policy Limiting Employee Photography

  On Thursday, May 15, 2014, a NLRB Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) ruled an employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (Act) by photographing hundreds of employees who were conducting in-plant marches in support of their contract demands that were at the center of pending successor contract negotiations between a union and the company. The company argued its photography was justified because the employee marches disrupted production and it needed to monitor the situation. The ALJ, however, rejected the employer’s…

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02 May 2014 Can Your Employees Use Your Company’s E-Mail System To Solicit Support For A Union? The NLRB Is Going To Weigh In…

  On April 30, 2014, the NLRB signaled it may overturn a 2007 Bush-Board decision, Register Guard, that generally allows employers to prohibit employees from using work e-mail systems for non-business purposes, including union organizing purposes. In a pending case in California involving allegations against employer Purple Communications, Inc., an Administrative Law Judge noted the NLRB’s decision in Register Guard and ruled Purple Communications did not violate the NLRA by having a policy that prohibited…

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30 Apr 2014 NLRB To Include Hyperlinks In Notice Postings

  Last week the NLRB granted a request by a Teamsters local union to modify the Board’s standard notice language in a case where the employer was found to have violated the NLRA. Specifically, the NLRB agreed to inform employees that a copy of the full decision and order is available on the Board’s website and to provide a direct “hyperlink” to the decision. The standard language previously did not inform employees where they could…

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29 Apr 2014 NLRB Continues To Impose Expansive Penalties On Employers

Continuing its trend of issuing “non-traditional” Board remedies against employers who have been found to have violated the NLRA, the Board recently ordered an employer to reimburse a union for six months’ worth of “negotiating expenses”, which included salaries, travel expenses and per diems. The case involved a “first contract” so the NLRB further extended the certification year (which precludes the fling of any decertification petition by employees) by 12 months.   At issue in…

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