17

Sep

2019

UAW Strikes General Motors – Leaves Ford and FCA Alone for Now

Author: Michael Burns

The UAW national strike against General Motors (GM) started Saturday, September 14, 2019 (the first in 12 years) with 850 janitorial worker members going out first. These employees are technically employees of supplier Aramark but service GM’s janitorial and other support needs. The maintenance workers have been without a contract for over a year and a half. Then, on Sunday, the UAW declared a strike taking out all its production worker members at midnight.

10

Sep

2019

General Motors Named Lead for Auto Industry Negotiations

Author: Michael Burns

With the announcement last Monday that UAW members had approved the use of work stoppages against all three auto companies, the UAW named General Motors (GM) as its first negotiations party. Being the lead company puts GM in first seat to be the one to set the pattern and possibly set their own terms before the other Detroit Three auto contracts are settled.

3

Sep

2019

NLRB Continues to Correct its Course on Independent Contractor and Joint Employer Status

Author: Michael Burns

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been right in the middle of the battle over what constitutes an independent contractor versus an employee. An interested party might think the NLRB, a relatively small government agency historically concerned about union organizing and labor peace, would not be at the forefront defining what an independent contractor is for the country. But for the last few years, this agency, probably for existential reasons given the state of unionization in the...

13

Aug

2019

National Labor Relations Board Issues Regulatory Salvo to Roll Back “Ambush Elections” Rules and Other Obama Board Overreaches

Author: Michael Burns

Last Friday the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) finally moved to revise the Obama-era election rule regulations that among other things shortened the time for union organizing elections from a minimum of 45 days down to an average of 23 days.  It also constrained the ability of employers to file unfair labor practice objections to challenge the election. The formal regulatory change was published Monday, August 12, 2019 in the Federal Register.

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.

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