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BT Labor Relations - Current News and Practical Analysis
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08 Dec 2017 Switching Sides: DOJ Reverses Course, Now Opposes Mandatory Public Union Fees

  The battle over mandatory public union fees for government workers has been brewing for years, and the issue is again before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, concerns an Illinois state  employee who claims the fees violate his First Amendment rights. The employee is not a member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, but is required to pay fees to…

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04 Dec 2017 General Counsel Memo Signals Brighter Days for Employers

  In a move that will certainly please employers, Peter Robb, the recently confirmed general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), issued a memo last week freezing all Obama-era NLRB decisions that overturned precedent. The memo orders regional directors around the country to seek advice from the Washington, D.C., office on cases that involve board decisions from “the last eight years that overruled precedent and involved one or more dissents.”   The sweeping…

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01 Dec 2017 Union Retirement Plan Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Excessive Fees

  On Nov. 30, a class action lawsuit was filed against the trustees of the Supplemental Income 401(k) Plan, a union retirement plan that covers more than 27,000 Teamsters as well as other union-represented employees. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in California – where the $921 million retirement fund is based.   The 26-page complaint alleges that the retirement plan failed to offer “lower priced alternative classes of mutual funds” that were available…

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28 Nov 2017 Have Union Strikes Gone By the Wayside?

  Bloomberg BNA published an article on Nov. 27 examining the ever declining amount of union-sponsored strikes in America. According to the report, “The number of strikes held in 1990 was 793, and that dropped to 102 in 2015.” Various factors may be affecting this, including the ongoing decline in the number of American private sector union members (only 6.4 percent of all such workers belong to a union now) and the fact many workers…

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21 Nov 2017 Time Crunch: NLRB Report Confirms Union Elections Remain ‘Quick’ Under New Rules

  A recently released report from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) confirms that the agency’s “quickie election” rules, that went into effect in April 2015, have significantly truncated the time employers have to conduct union campaigns. Under the old rules, from April 14, 2014, through Jan. 12, 2015, the median time from a union petition being filed to election was 38 days. For fiscal year 2017, the median time from petition to election was…

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21 Nov 2017 DOL Head Slams NLRB’s Vague Test for Joint Employment

  According to a recent report by Bloomberg BNA, Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Alexander Acosta expressed dissatisfaction for the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) joint-employment test during remarks to the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers’ Convention. Specifically, while discussing his view of the DOL’s test for joint employment, he brought up and criticized the NLRB’s approach to the issue. He described the NLRB’s rule as being too vague and potentially infringing on the “freedom to…

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20 Nov 2017 Unions Struggling to Negotiate Wage Increases on Par With 2016

  A collection of 590 union contracts negotiated in September and October reveals that on average, unions have been unable to obtain pay hikes at the levels they did last year. In 2016, the average first-year increase negotiated by unions was 2.8 percent. However, the most recent contracts from this year reveal an average first-year increase of only 2.5 percent. The data on these recent contracts show that private sector non-manufacturing unions have struggled more…

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15 Nov 2017 Survey Says: Employees Still Value Validation Over Compensation

  For decades, survey after survey has shown that recognition, respect, etc., are far more important to employees than compensation. A new survey from Globoforce’s WorkHuman Research Institute confirms that the trend continues. One of the best things about this, in my opinion, is that every manager can impact things like recognition in the workplace in a positive way. In short, there are small things managers can do every day to improve their workplaces, employee…

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14 Nov 2017 NLRB Protected Concerted Activity or Harassment – Will Employers Finally Get Clarity?

  Yesterday, it was announced the NLRB and EEOC will issue a guidance in an effort to help employers better understand overlapping obligations under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and Title VII. The guidance no doubt is the result of a longstanding tension between an employee’s right to openly communicate about workplace issues (protected concerted activity) and an employers’ obligation under Title VII to prevent workplace harassment and bias, and be proactive about doing…

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09 Nov 2017 Game Changer? New NLRB General Counsel Confirmed By Senate

  The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) makeover continues. On Nov. 8, Peter Robb became the board’s new general counsel when he was confirmed by the Senate. Robb’s addition to the NLRB is potentially great news for employers, as he likely brings a more business-friendly approach than his predecessor Richard Griffin. With Griffin at the helm, the NLRB significantly departed from long-established precedent favoring employers, such as its test for finding “joint employment.”   The…

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