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09 Dec 2014 Senate Confirms McFerran as New NLRB Member

The U.S. Senate in a later afternoon vote Monday confirmed Lauren McFerran as the next member of the National Labor Relations Board. McFerran replaces Democrat Nancy Shiffer. McFerran’s confirmation ensures that the Board will stay solidly pro-union without a gap following Shiffer’s last day on Dec. 16.   The Senate voted 54-40 along party lines to confirm McFerran. McFerran will serve a five-year term which expires Dec. 16, 2019.   McFerran currently serves as chief…

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04 Dec 2014 NLRB WEEKLY SUMMARY OF DECISIONS, NOVEMBER 24 – 28, 2014

The Summary of NLRB decisions for the week of November 24 – 28, 2014, is now available on the NLRB’s website. Keith BrodieKeith J. Brodie is a partner in Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Grand Rapids, Michigan office. He devotes his practice exclusively to labor and employment law. He is a practitioner and counselor to his clients on labor matters including collective bargaining, union organizing, NLRB unfair labor practice charge defense, and labor strategies for mergers, acquisitions…

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03 Dec 2014 NLRB Ruling Critical of Company Distribution / Solicitation Rule

The NLRB last week affirmed an earlier ALJ decision finding that Mercedes-Benz US International, Inc.’s non-solicitation and non-distribution rule was overbroad and violated the Act by prohibiting discussions of union organizing by employees in working areas and prohibiting distribution of union literature in “mixed use” or non-working areas.   The portion of MBUSI’s handbook policy on solicitation and distribution provided as follows:   “MBUSI prohibits solicitation and/or distribution of non-work related materials by Team Members…

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02 Dec 2014 NLRB WEEKLY SUMMARY OF DECISIONS, NOVEMBER 17 – 21, 2014

The Summary of NLRB decisions for the week of November 17 – 21, 2014, is now available on the NLRB’s website. Keith BrodieKeith J. Brodie is a partner in Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Grand Rapids, Michigan office. He devotes his practice exclusively to labor and employment law. He is a practitioner and counselor to his clients on labor matters including collective bargaining, union organizing, NLRB unfair labor practice charge defense, and labor strategies for mergers, acquisitions…

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26 Nov 2014 NLRB Advice Memo follows Alan Ritchey on Discretionary Discipline, Despite Nullification by Noel Canning

In an Advice Memo released last week, the NLRB General Counsel continued to apply the Board’s controversial decision in Alan Ritchey, 359 NLRB No. 40 (2012), which required employers to bargain before making discretionary discipline decisions in certain first contract situations where there is no contract or grievance procedure in place.  The Alan Ritchey decision was nullified by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Noel Canning decision in June, because Members Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, whose recess…

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25 Nov 2014 Amazon Settlement with NLRB a Reminder for Employers — “Confidential” Wage Policies Violate the NLRA

Last week in a settlement with the NLRB, online retailer Amazon agreed to allow its largely non-union workforce to discuss pay and working conditions with each other without fear of discipline. The settlement, as reported by Bloomberg News which obtained a copy, required Amazon to rescind certain work rules that prohibited workers from sharing information with one another, although Amazon did not admit any violation of the NLRA.   Amazon’s work rule was considered too…

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21 Nov 2014 NLRB WEEKLY SUMMARY OF DECISIONS, NOVEMBER 10 – 14, 2014

The Summary of NLRB decisions for the week of November 10 – 14, 2014, is now available on the NLRB’s website. Keith BrodieKeith J. Brodie is a partner in Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Grand Rapids, Michigan office. He devotes his practice exclusively to labor and employment law. He is a practitioner and counselor to his clients on labor matters including collective bargaining, union organizing, NLRB unfair labor practice charge defense, and labor strategies for mergers, acquisitions…

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18 Nov 2014 President Swaps Out Choice for NLRB Seat

President Barack Obama has withdrawn his nomination of Sharon Block to replace Nancy Shiffer on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In her place, he has nominated Lauren McFerran, chief labor counsel for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions [HELP] Committee.   In an effort to maintain the 3-2 pro-union mix on the Board, the President has appointed an attorney who has practiced as a union-side lawyer as well as counsel to the HELP…

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17 Nov 2014 NLRB WEEKLY SUMMARY OF DECISIONS, NOVEMBER 3 – 7, 2014

The Summary of NLRB decisions for the week of November 3 – 7, 2014, is now available on the NLRB’s website. Keith BrodieKeith J. Brodie is a partner in Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Grand Rapids, Michigan office. He devotes his practice exclusively to labor and employment law. He is a practitioner and counselor to his clients on labor matters including collective bargaining, union organizing, NLRB unfair labor practice charge defense, and labor strategies for mergers, acquisitions…

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12 Nov 2014 Ebola Strikes

The California Nurses Association, currently in heated negotiations with Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, sponsored a two-day strike (November 11 and 12, 2014) to “stop eroding patient care conditions & provide better #Ebola safeguards” (per CNA’s Facebook page).   For its part, Kaiser issued a press release stating, “[t]o the public, the union is claiming this strike is about Ebola. But the fact is Kaiser Permanente teams have been working on preparations for Ebola non-stop. We are…

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