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10 Jul 2013 Will Union Payback Make Harry Reid Take the Senate Nuclear?

For nearly a decade, Congressional gridlock has fueled calls for the elimination of the Senate’s unique procedural accommodation of minority rights, the filibuster. Senate rules have long required that three-fifths of the Senators vote to end debate on most matters. As a practical matter, this limits the ability of the Senate to act, but it also serves as an important mechanism for moderating extreme proposals on either side of the political spectrum. Now Senate Majority Leader Harry…

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10 Jul 2013 DOL Indicates Final Rule Expanding Reporting Requirements for Labor Relations to Come In November

The Obama Administration released its spring Unified Agenda last week, which included an update on the Department of Labor’s controversial amendments to the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) regulations. The proposed changes to the LMRDA’s “persuader rules,” which expand the reporting requirements for labor relations consultants, including attorneys in some situations, by narrowing the LMRDA’s definition of “advice,” were originally announced by the DOL in June 2011.  The DOL now indicates that it intends to issue a…

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10 Jul 2013 NLRB Partners With Justice Department’s Immigration Office

This week the Justice Department announced a partnership between its Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). A memorandum of understanding allows the two agencies to share information, refer matters to each other, and coordinate investigations as appropriate.  According to the Justice Department, this arrangement will prevent employers from avoiding liability “just because an employee has turned to the wrong agency or is unaware of additional protections available under…

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09 Jul 2013 Ole! The 6th Circuit Side-Steps the Noel Canning Challenge and Issues Pro-Employer Ruling on “Supervisor” Issue

Just before the Fourth of July, the 6th Circuit delivered a favorable ruling for employers while avoiding the quicksand of Noel Canning.  In GGNSC Springfield LLC v. NLRB, No. 12-1529 (6th Cir. July 2, 2013), the Sixth Circuit reversed the Regional Director’s decision and found that a number of Registered Nurses (RNs) were supervisors for purposes of the NLRA thereby relieving the employer of the obligation to collectively bargain with the RNs. The Court found that the RNs…

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08 Jul 2013 Michigan Supreme Court Won’t Give Advisory Opinion on Right-to-Work

Saying simply that “we are not persuaded that granting the request would be an appropriate exercise of the court’s discretion,” the Michigan Supreme Court on Friday denied Gov. Rick Snyder’s request that the high court render an advisory opinion about the constitutionality of Michigan’s new right-to-work law. Relying upon the provision in the state’s constitution’s that allows the governor to request the “opinion of the supreme court on important questions of law upon solemn occasions…

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05 Jul 2013 The NLRB Continues to Ignore Noel Canning

The issue of whether the NLRB has the authority to continue to do business was front and center this week while the Board adamantly insists that the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Noel Canning does not strip it of its authority to act. Cablevision Systems, Inc.: Cablevision Systems Inc. petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to enter an emergency stay blocking the NLRB from proceeding with an administrative hearing against it on a complaint filed by an…

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02 Jul 2013 Under The Radar Case Could Yield Most Significant Labor Law Case of the Last Decade

  Last week the Supreme Court agreed to hear two important cases involving labor law. While Noel Canning has been getting most of the press because of the high profile political drama and all of its separation of power implications, the other case, UNITE HERE, Local 355 v. Mulhall, could end up as the most significant labor law decision the Supreme Court has handed down in a generation.   As most labor relations practitioners know,…

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01 Jul 2013 It’s Not Easy Being Green

The union movement likes to paint itself as being for progressive change. It is one of the ways it picks up allies for its special interest agenda. However, when it doesn’t serve its own ends, it quickly abandons those causes. We saw that last month with news stories about unions complaining about the Affordable Care Act. Now it is the environmental movement that is suffering from the fickle tastes of organized labor. As all San…

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28 Jun 2013 U.S. Congressman Reintroduces “Secret Ballot Protection Act”

On June 13, 2013, in reaction to continued interest in the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA),  which would impose mandatory card check certification for union organizing efforts,  United States Congressman Phil Roe, Chairman of the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee of the House of Representatives, introduced the Secret Ballot Protection Act, H.R. 2346. H.R. 2346 would:  1. Require a secret ballot election before a union can be certified or decertified, eliminating once and for…

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25 Jun 2013 Supreme Court to Review Legality of Union Neutrality Agreement

In addition to agreeing to hear the issue of recess appointments, on June 24, 2013, the Supreme Court granted cert in a case challenging the legality of so called “neutrality agreements.”  UNITE HERE, Local 355 v. Mulhall. Unions use neutrality agreements to get employers to agree not to oppose unionization and not to campaign against a union. UNITE HERE is challenging the ruling of the 11th Circuit that such neutrality agreements could constitute a “thing of value” which cannot be…

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