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BT Labor Relations - Current News and Practical Analysis
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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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20 Jun 2017 Public Union Forced “Agency Fees” on the Chopping Block Again

  The issue of forcing unionized public employees to pay union “agency fees” is teed-up for the Supreme Court once again. Mark Janus, an employee of the state government of Illinois who is represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees appealed a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit last week that upheld 40-year-old Supreme Court precedent holding that forcing public employees represented by unions to pay…

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16 Jun 2017 Retirees Proceed to Arbitration Over Slashed Benefits

  Retiree benefits are a big issue for many employers – from pure economic cost to administrative burdens. Accordingly, some companies have moved to limit or cut such benefits entirely over the years. Of course, when doing so, companies need to navigate various legal issues, including under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and, to the extent a union is in the picture, the National Labor Relations Act and/or Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA)….

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09 Jun 2017 Can I Get Your Digits? NLRB Ruling Expands Quickie Election Rules To Cover Supervisors’ Possession Of Employee Phone Numbers

  The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “quickie election” rules that passed a few years ago have been a hot-button topic. One of the significant changes they brought about was the decrease in time employers have to furnish unions with contact information of employees potentially eligible to vote in union elections. The new rules reduce the allotted time from seven calendar days to two business days from the time an election is directed. In addition,…

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25 May 2017 Getting Away With Murder? NLRB Tells Federal Court Union Election Observer’s Use Of Fake Firearm Did NOT Invalidate Union Election Results

  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) often sets aside union election results where an employer has prevailed when the agency finds “objectionable conduct” occurred. This has been done in cases where, for example, an employer’s handbook contained an overbroad confidentiality policy; supervisors have made “promises” to employees with respect to how they may be treated if they vote to keep a union out; or when a company has given an otherwise lawful “captive audience…

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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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21 Apr 2017 Union Body Count and Big Spending

  Last year, some of the country’s biggest unions continue to hemorrhage membership, while others spent big dollars on organizing for modest gains in membership. In 2016, the union membership body count was not insignificant. According to LM-2 filings:   Steelworkers lost 20,000 members United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) lost nearly 14,000 members Teamsters lost almost 5,800 members Machinists lost nearly 5,500 members   This continues a trend seen over the last decades. The…

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14 Apr 2017 Tax Breaks for Union Members Despite New York’s Financial Problems

  New York’s Legislature is giving union dues payers a tax break. While a number of states (and even municipalities) have passed right-to-work laws so union workers do not have to forcibly pay union dues, New York has taken a decidedly different approach. On April 10, New York passed a law allowing union dues and agency fees to be completely tax deductible, effectively giving a tax break to union members.   New York’s union “dues deduction”…

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16 Mar 2017 Sixth Circuit Refuses to Vacate; Lets Local Municipal Right-To-Work Decision Stand

  Following up on our post from earlier this week, on March 15, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has refused to vacate its ruling in Autoworkers Local 3047 v. Hardin County, a Kentucky case. In doing so, the court allows to stand its ruling that municipalities can pass enforceable right-to-work provisions. The unions wanted the decision vacated as moot based on the state of Kentucky adopting right-to-work legislation, thereby making it…

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15 Mar 2017 Seattle Legal Battles Mount: Uber Drivers and U.S. Chamber Fight Driver Unionization Law

  In January we shared a post about a labor battle brewing in Seattle and things look to be heating up. As we reported, the City of Seattle adopted its final rules to implement an ordinance allowing Uber and other for-hire drivers to unionize. The rules drew fire from both sides of the debate as they set specific unionization requirements, including the driver eligible requirements to vote for a union.   As of January, the…

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