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BT Labor Relations - Current News and Practical Analysis
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11 Dec 2018 Should It Be Easier For Workers To Oust Unions From The Workplace?

American labor law makes it relatively easy for workers to bring a union into an organization. Once at least 30 percent of a group of employees has signed a petition expressing a desire for a union to represent them, they can file that petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and a vote will be scheduled.  If more than 50 percent of the employees choosing to cast a ballot vote for the union, the union…

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06 Nov 2018 Transparency? Unions May Be Gearing Up To Fight New Finance Reporting Rules

The Department of Labor (DOL) likely will be issuing new financial reporting rules for unions and their affiliates according to a recent report from Bloomberg Law. Federal laws, such as the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, require unions to file certain financial disclosure documents with the DOL detailing how they are spending their members’ dues money (e.g., officer salaries, etc.).   According to the Bloomberg report, the DOL is preparing two likely proposals. The report…

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19 Oct 2018 Reeling from Janus, Public Unions Haled Into Court On Past Fees

Public unions are fending off lawsuits seeking to recover millions in fees that may have been collected unlawfully, on the heels of Janus v. AFSCME—the U.S. Supreme Court case decided in June that prohibited public unions from requiring nonmembers to pay fees for nonpolitical expenses.   The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the group that spearheaded the attack on public union fees in Janus, has filed at least five class action lawsuits across…

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05 Oct 2018 Reckless Driving: Employee Discharge For Antics On Public Highway Upheld

One of the more nuanced issues employers have to navigate in the world of labor relations is evaluating whether discipline can be imposed on an employee engaged in “protected activity.” Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), various employee actions are protected, such as engaging in a strike or speaking out about shared concerns in the workplace. When employees are discharged for misconduct that occurs while they are engaged in protected activity, such decisions routinely…

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02 Oct 2018 Federal Court Shoots Down Illinois Town’s Right-To-Work Law

Illinois is completely surrounded by right-to-work states that have laws making it unlawful for companies to require union dues as a condition of employment. While the state of Illinois is unlikely to pass such legislation of its own, the Illinois village of Lincolnshire attempted to enact a right-to-work ordinance in 2015 that would have been applicable to companies and unions within its borders. Unions filed a lawsuit to have the village’s ordinance voided, and a…

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31 Aug 2018 Labor Day 2018: State of the U.S. Labor Unions

A broad look at the U.S. labor relations landscape heading into the 2018 Labor Day Weekend shows it is a mixed bag for organized labor at the moment. In Gallup’s just-released annual poll tracking public support for labor unions, data indicates support for unions is growing.   According to Gallup: “Sixty-two percent of Americans approve of labor unions today, which is consistent with the 61% who approved last year [2017] and up from 56% in…

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17 Aug 2018 When Do Employee Weingarten Rights Kick In?

Since the landmark Weingarten U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1975, union-represented employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) have been entitled to union representation during certain investigatory interviews. Specifically, when an employee is brought in for an investigatory interview that could lead to disciplinary action of that employee, he or she has the right to a union representative being present for the interview as well, if such representation is requested. This has come…

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10 Aug 2018 Missouri Voters Deliver Blow to Right-to-Work Movement

On August 7, the voters of Missouri rejected Proposition A, a ballot measure that would have implemented right-to-work legislation signed by Governor Eric Greitens last year.   Over the past handful of years, the right-to-work movement has scored a number of victories, particularly in the Midwest. Indiana (2012), Michigan (2012), Wisconsin (2015), West Virginia (2016), and Kentucky (2017) all passed legislation making it unlawful for employees to be forced to become a union member or…

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24 Jul 2018 Fiat Chrysler UAW Collective Bargaining Process Under a Microscope

Yesterday another high ranking UAW official pled guilty in the federal government’s ongoing investigation into Fiat Chrysler’s and high-ranking UAW officials’ payoff scandal (see previous posts: Jun 12 | March 23 | Nov 3) Nancy Adams Johnson, a top assistant to UAW Vice President Jewell Norwood, admitted to receiving illegal payments and using funds illegally from Fiat Chrysler. The government’s investigation now has been expanded to include other automakers as well, but currently the UAW…

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27 Jun 2018 Janus Decided: Supreme Court Invalidates Mandatory Public Union Fees

The U.S. Supreme Court waited until the last day of its term to release the much-anticipated decision over mandatory public union fees in Janus v. AFSCME. In a 5-4 decision along party lines, the court ruled that public unions cannot force non-members to pay dues, giving every public sector employee in the United States right-to-work protections. The opinion’s author, Justice Samuel Alito, held that “employees must choose to support the union before anything is taken…

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