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30 Aug 2017 Federal Court Puts Up Roadblock in Seattle’s Quest to Grant Uber and Lyft Drivers Union Organizing Rights

  A Seattle ordinance that grants drivers for Uber, Lyft and other similar ride-hailing companies the right to form unions remains on hold after an Aug. 29 federal court ruling. Back in 2015, Seattle passed a law allowing the drivers to organize and bargain over pay, benefits, and more. Because Uber and Lyft classify drivers as independent contractors, their drivers are not permitted to unionize under the National Labor Relations Act due to the fact…

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28 Jul 2017 WARNING: No Solicitation

  Few things are more painful for a company to go through than a union election. One of those things is when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) orders a “re-run” election due to alleged misconduct by the employer (i.e., the company has to go through the entire contentious, cumbersome, and costly process again).   Various types of misconduct by companies can give rise to a re-run election. One such category is “solicitation of grievances,”…

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14 Mar 2017 The Legality of Local Municipal Right-to-Work Laws; Will A Circuit Split Lead To Supreme Court Review

  On November 21, 2016, we reported that in Autoworkers Local 3047 v. Hardin County, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that local units of government could pass right-to-work ordinances under the National Labor Relations Act. Subsequently, on January 9, 2017 we reported that the state of Kentucky became a right-to-work state, a decision that seemingly ended any controversy concerning the Hardin County ordinance and litigation. However, a group of local unions have continued…

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01 Dec 2016 UFC Fighters Seek to Unionize

  A group of prominent current and former UFC fighters, including past champion Georges St-Pierre, announced the formation of the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association on Nov. 30. In its official announcement, the group said “The Association’s sole concentration is to fight for the rights of MMA fighters and force UFC’s ownership to dramatically alter the company’s decade plus outrageous treatment of its athletes.” The group also included Bjorn Rebney, former CEO of MMA promotion company Bellator MMA.  …

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01 Sep 2015 NLRB Election Rule Statistics Demonstrate Shorter Election Periods and Why Proactively Preparing for Union Organizing is Smart Business

On April 14, 2015, the NLRB’s new rule applicable to union organizing went into effect. See previous posts here and here. From the time the new rule was first introduced, employer’s argued that its main aim was to speed up the time for union elections (to the benefit of unions) and that it was a certainty that elections under the rule would occur much more quickly.   Conventional wisdom has always been the shorter the…

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11 Dec 2014 NLRB HACKS EMAIL SYSTEMS OF EVERY BUSINESS IN THE U.S.

Earlier today, the NLRB reversed existing precedent and granted all employees the right to use their employer’s email systems for union organizing and other forms of protected concerted activity. In Purple Communications, Inc., the employer’s policy limited employee use of its email and other electronic systems to “business purposes only” and “specifically prohibit[ing]” certain uses by employees. While the employer had a policy that all parties acknowledged complied with existing law, the Board  reversed course, declaring…

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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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23 Apr 2014 Northwestern Election Kicks Off This Friday

    Northwestern’s scholarship football players are set for an historic vote this Friday on whether they wish to join a union and be represented by the College Athletes Players Association as their sole and exclusive bargaining representative.   Peter Sung Ohr, regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago, earlier this year, made the initial determination that the players who receive scholarship aid from the University are actually employees within the meaning…

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14 May 2013 Under Pressure: Unions Espouse New Organizing Models and Take Action

Back in March, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka summarized his view of the state of union representation in America: “To be blunt, our basic system of workplace representation is failing to meet the needs of America’s workers by every critical measure.” Last week in a Washington Post Op-Ed, this view was echoed by columnist and long-time advocate of big labor’s policies Harold Meyerson. Meyerson identified an “existential problem” facing unions, which are continuing to see membership…

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