25

Jun

2019

Swing of NLRB Pendulum Continues to Compel Employee Handbook Policy Review

Author: Michael Burns

The Trump National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continues its pro-business course. Until 2017, the NLRB regularly attacked employer rules that it deemed restrictive, directly or indirectly, on employees' right to organize. Employers, including non-union, were compelled to review employee handbook policies/rules to correct rules that were viewed as restrictive toward union organizing rights.

2

Apr

2019

NLRB Continues to Look at Employer Policy and Rules

Author: Michael Burns

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continues to review union and non-union employer policies and rules.  In an Advice Memo published last week by the NLRB, the Board’s advice division looked at two employer rules through the lens of its 2017 Boeing decision. This decision trimmed back considerably the previous NLRB’s position that if an employer’s rule could in any way infringe upon an employee’s right to engage in protected concerted activity it would...

5

Mar

2019

Unions Cannot Make Nonmembers Pay for Union Lobbying

Author: Michael Burns

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held last Friday that unions can’t force workers that choose not to be in the union to pay for its lobbying activities. This decision holds that fair share fees that some unions require nonmembers to pay en lieu of being in the union can’t be used for lobbying. This follows the U.S. Supreme Court's 1988 decision in Communications Workers of America v. Beck. That decision found that if a worker objected to his/her dues being used for...

29

Jan

2019

Union Membership Continues to Slip

Author: Michael Burns

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its report on 2018 union membership last week and total union membership continues to slip as a percent of the U.S. workforce. For 2018 total union membership – public and private employers – stood at 10.5% (14.7 million workers). That downward trend of 0.2 percentage points from 2017, continues a downward trend from the union movement’s heydays of the late 50’s/early 60’s where union membership was estimated at over...

18

Dec

2018

When Technology Takes a Job, Do Unions Have a Say?

Author: Michael Burns

With the impending autonomous automobile era, comes the next iteration of collective bargaining concerns. When an employer is organized by a union the jobs are normally what is part of the union and spoken of in the labor contract – not the individual workers that hold the job. Therefore, when jobs and job security intersect, the issue of work classification changes are what is of concern to the union.

6

Nov

2018

UAW Hypocrisy and Other Lapses of Reason

Author: Michael Burns

In case you missed this, the UAW is buying outgoing UAW President Dennis Williams, now retired, a “cottage”. The original cost estimate for this up-north getaway was $1.3 million as reported by the Detroit News. Union member dues (recently increased from two hours of work per month to two and one half hours) will pay for this “cozy” 1,885 square foot lodge consisting of granite counters, stainless steel appliances, a woodburning fireplace, wine cooler, patio...

25

Sep

2018

Employee Use of Recording Devices at Work

Author: Michael Burns

With the disclosure that Omarosa Manigualt Newman, former Director of Communications for Trump’s Office of Public Liaison and Apprentice show contestant, recorded conversations, including her termination from employment in supposedly one of the most secure places on earth, a common employer has to wonder what kind of unauthorized recordings could occur unbeknownst to them. Is there any recourse they might have if an employee records a sensitive conversation for use at a future...

21

Aug

2018

Despite Positive Action on Company Rules/Policies, NLRB Continues to Go “Old School” on Workplace Vulgarity

Author: Michael Burns

ASE has followed the memo’s and decisions that have come out of NLRB in the last decade, and one “progressive” initiative has always stood out as very archaic. This the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) position that production workers have a protected right to use disrespectful and vulgar language to express themselves based on their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

10

Jul

2018

Pending and Potential Updates to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Author: Michael Burns

Employers can expect some changes to the FLSA as the Trump administration’s Department of Labor (DOL) looks to make its mark on this now 80-year old law.  Some of the prospective changes that appear most imminent are:

5

Jun

2018

IAM Union Wins High Profile Micro-Unit Vote at South Carolina Boeing Facility

Author: Michael Burns

In a loss that was doubly concerning for non-union employers, the International Association of Machinists (IAM) won an organizing election of a sub-set of machinists at Boeing’s newly opened North Charleston, South Carolina aircraft assembly plant.

27

Mar

2018

McDonald's Corporation Moves to Settle with NLRB

Author: Michael Burns

Since 2012, McDonald’s Corporation and the NLRB have been embroiled in the question of what joint employment is. The question is over whether the McDonald’s Corporation as a franchisor could be held responsible for allegedly wrongful employment practices of its franchisees.

27

Feb

2018

U.S. Supreme Court Smacks Down Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals– Benefits Do Not Continue Unless Specifically Stated

Author: Michael Burns

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court reversed and remanded a Sixth Circuit’s long held principal that ruled a lifetime vesting of a benefit could be presumed using a “Yard-Man” inference. What is the Yard-Man inference? It is a legal inference stating that because the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in question did not specifically address the duration of retiree benefits, it can be inferred that the CBA was meant to bestow lifetime vesting of the benefit and cannot be...

20

Feb

2018

Decline in Union Membership Flattens

Author: Michael Burns

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its annual report on union membership finding that the number of union members in the Unites States remained unchanged at 10.7% of the labor force. This statistic represents both wage and salaried workers in unions both in the private and public sectors. The number of employees belonging to unions in 2017 rose to 14.8 million, up 262,000 from 2016.

30

Jan

2018

US Department of Justice Continues its Pursuit of Naked No Hire or Poach Agreements

Author: Michael Burns

“Naked” no poach agreements – what are they? Naked wage-fixing or no-poaching agreements among employers, whether entered into directly or through a third-party, are illegal under the antitrust laws.  That means that if the agreement is separate from or not reasonably necessary to a larger legitimate collaboration between the employers, the agreement is deemed illegal without any inquiry into its competitive effect.

19

Dec

2017

Three Surprise Rulings That Will Have a Big Impact on Employers in 2018

Author: Anthony Kaylin

Surprising all pundits including ASE, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) came out with three decisions last week that were not expected until 2018. 

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