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13 Oct 2017 Go Figure – Production and Maintenance Employees Belong in the Same Bargaining Unit

  In its K&N Engineering decision issued Oct. 12, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that a regional director misapplied its Specialty Healthcare standard. The International Association of Machinists (IAM) had filed a petition to represent K&N Engineering’s production and janitorial employees, but not its maintenance employees, the latter of which are traditionally perceived to likely be “no” voters. The regional director applied Specialty Healthcare and ruled that the employer had not met its…

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12 Oct 2017 Trouble in Federal Union Paradise

  While private sector union membership has been declining for decades, down to 6.4 percent in 2016, public sector unions have remained relatively strong. But perhaps not everything is as good as it seems for public sector unions. Following news last week of the U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on mandatory public union fees, we’re now treated to a salacious story of federal employee union in-fighting.   American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 12,…

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06 Oct 2017 Will Congress Act to Stave Off the Broadening Definition of Joint Employment?

  Congressional efforts to potentially undo the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Browning-Ferris decision took a step forward on Oct. 4. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed legislation that would redefine “joint employer” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to only cover instances when two or more companies have direct control (as opposed to merely indirect or potential control) over a group of workers. In other words, if ultimately signed into…

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05 Oct 2017 Will Mandatory Fees to Public Unions Survive? SCOTUS Set to Revisit the Issue

  The U.S. Supreme Court will once again address whether public-sector unions can collect mandatory fees from nonmembers to help pay for collective bargaining.   As previously reported, the high court heard this issue last term in the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association and appeared poised to rule against the union, but deadlocked 4-4 following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. That caused the lower court’s decision in favor of the unions to…

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04 Oct 2017 NLRB Dodges Massive Budget Cuts, But Some Predict Changes Still on the Horizon

  A recent Republican attempt to cut the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) budget failed, but some are speculating that similar future appropriations efforts may prevail and, at a minimum, the recent board appointments by President Trump likely will result in changes at the agency.   The appropriations bill at issue was introduced by Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.), and it sought to slash the NLRB’s discretionary spending budget by nearly half. In support of his…

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02 Oct 2017 D.R. Horton Reaches New Heights – U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments

  On Oct. 2, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a consolidated trio of cases all addressing whether class action waivers in individual arbitration agreements violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).   In D.R. Horton, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held such class action waivers violated the NLRA. Appeals followed to various federal circuit courts, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Eight and Second Circuits striking down the…

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27 Sep 2017 High Court to Resolve Whether Class Action Waivers Violate NLRA

  On Oct. 2, the U.S. Supreme Court will resume its fall session and tackle, among other issues, whether class action waivers in arbitration agreements are valid and enforceable under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The court will consider a consolidated set of cases emerging from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Seventh and Ninth Circuits, which have taken conflicting views on this question. The court’s resolution of this…

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26 Sep 2017 NLRB’s New Member Confirmed, Fits the Bill for Employers

  On Sept. 25, the U.S. Senate voted 49-44 to confirm the NLRB’s newest member, William Emanuel, who was appointed by President Trump. Emanuel’s nomination was voted out of Committee on the same day as Marvin Kaplan, who was confirmed by the Senate on Aug. 2.  Emanuel, a management labor lawyer with more than 40 years of experience, brings the Board to its full complement of five validly-appointed members for the first time in more…

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21 Sep 2017 President Trump Taps New England Labor Lawyer for NLRB’s General Counsel Post

  Late on Sept. 15, the White House formally announced that President Trump will, in fact, nominate Peter B. Robb, a management-side labor lawyer from Vermont, to be the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) general counsel.   If confirmed, Robb will replace the NLRB’s current pro-union general counsel, Richard Griffin, in November. While Robb has had a lengthy career as a labor lawyer, he may be best known for being lead counsel for the Federal…

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18 Sep 2017 Keeping Up With the NLRB: Agency Releases Updated Outline of Law and Procedure in Representation Cases

  The web of rules imposed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on union elections always is rapidly evolving. From the “quickie election rules” implemented by the NLRB in April 2015 to decisions altering the types of misconduct that can be used to “re-run” a vote, it can be hard to keep up.   One great resource available to employers is the NLRB’s “Outline of Law and Procedure in Representation Cases,” which summarizes and…

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