EverythingPeople This Week!

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. 

12

Dec

2017

Like the Cheshire Cat, NLRB Prepares to Change Stripes Again

Author: Michael Burns

“I’m not crazy. My reality is just different than yours,” quotes the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. And so it may be said of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – particularly over the past eight years or so. 

21

Nov

2017

Two Years Out, Quickie Election Rules Not Increasing Organizing Elections or Union Wins

Author: Michael Burns

It has been over two years since the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) implemented their infamous Quickie or Ambush Election Rules. What is happening? In fiscal year 2017 the NLRB reported 1,854 Representation Certification (RC) election petitions filed. This is 175 RC elections less than the previous year’s number of petitions filed – not what was feared by the management side of labor.

3

Oct

2017

US Supreme Court Lines Up Some Big Employment and Labor Cases for its 2017/18 Term

Author: Michael Burns

The first Monday in October marked the beginning of the Supreme Court’s new term year. The Court announced it will hear at least several cases that will impact the human resources, labor relations, and employment relations fields. 

19

Sep

2017

Employment and Labor Law Changes Finally on the Horizon?

Author: Michael Burns

Some political activity may finally be taking shape on the employment and labor front. In addition to the slow pace of appointments in the Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), legislation intended to turn back the Obama Administration's regulatory overreach seem to be moving forward. 

8

Aug

2017

UAW Fails to Organize Nissan

Author: Michael Burns

The United Auto Workers (UAW) failed to organize another auto manufacturer. They used organizing tactics that included: vilifying management, attempting to coerce employees, and political persuasion (Bernie Sanders wrote union support letters to USA today and the community with the “organize or else” mantra).  This tired method again failed.  Over 60% (2,224) of workers at Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi plant voted against unionization. 

1

Aug

2017

US Department of Labor Reinstitutes Opinion Letters

Author: Michael Burns

Nobody in the world of human resources and employment law compliance needs to be told how difficult wage and hour law can be when applying it to the real world of employment. Attorneys make careers either defending or suing employers over alleged breaches to wage and hour law. In 2016 the Department of Labor (DOL) initiated 10,844 overtime violation cases (where questions of whether overtime pay for certain jobs should have been paid, but was not). The DOL collected on 83% of those for a...

25

Jul

2017

Cannot Fire Employee for Profanity Laced Facebook Post

Author: Anthony Kaylin

It's always a question to employers as to what extent off duty actions can be held against an employee.  Certain situations may be easier than others to assess, such as an employee arrested for a crime.  But what about an employee’s Facebook rantings?  

11

Jul

2017

U.S. DOL Walks a Fine Line as it “Walks Back” Overtime Rules

Author: Michael Burns

The US Department of Labor (DOL) is working toward rescinding its judicially enjoined overtime rules. These rules were published during the Obama Administration and dramatically increased the exemption salary level test from $433/week up to $913/week.  It was intended to reduce the number of jobs that could be classified non-exempt by employers.  

20

Jun

2017

Department of Labor’s “Persuader” Rules Being Rescinded

Author: Michael Burns

Under the Obama Administration’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Department of Labor (DOL), two sets of rules intended to tip the scales in favor of labor organizing were published in 2011 – the Quickie Election Rules and the Persuader Rules.  One of them is going away.

14

Feb

2017

US High Court Postpones Class Action Waiver Case Until Next Term

Author: Michael Burns

The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) announced last week that they would not hear the case asking its position on whether the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) restricts employers from requiring workers to waive their right to pursue a class action lawsuit and go to arbitration individually instead. 

17

Jan

2017

US Supreme Court Agrees to Settle the Use of Class Action Arbitration Waivers

Author: Michael Burns

In what could be the judicial heavyweight match of the year (in at least the employment law realm), last Friday the Supreme Court agreed to examine three petitions to determine whether employers can require employees to arbitrate a dispute individually rather than through a class or collective proceeding.

13

Dec

2016

With the New Administration, What HR Rules are on the Chopping Block?

Author: Anthony Kaylin

With the election of Donald Trump and the control of both houses of congress by the Republicans, the question has been asked many times – what Obama Administration rules will be on the chopping block?  There have been many new rules initiated, including FLSA Overtime, Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces, OSHA and more.   

15

Nov

2016

What Does a Trump Presidency Mean for Employers?

Author: Michael Burns

As Gomer Pyle used to say (10 points if you remember that 60’s TV character) - Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!!! With businessman Donald Trump’s election as our 45th President right behind President Obama (Democrat and liberal), employers can anticipate some challenges and changes to the long list of laws, regulations and executive orders the Obama administration has implemented. Unlike President Obama, Donald Trump has both Houses of Congress on his side.  Having Congress...

8

Nov

2016

US Chamber Report Sees Growth in Micro Unions Since Specialty Healthcare Decision

Author: Michael Burns

One of the many controversial pro-labor decisions in the past few years was one called Specialty Healthcare. This National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision changed a long-standing rule about determining the composition of collective bargaining units for union certification purposes. Before Specialty Healthcare an “appropriate” bargaining unit was one that represented “all workers in a class or craft.”  That has changed. 

18

Oct

2016

DC Circuit Slaps Down NLRB’s Total Disregard for Law

Author: Anthony Kaylin

In a case that applies to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), but appears to be a mantra to all of the Obama administration agencies, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a scathing rebuke to the NLRB for “abusive tactics and extremism.”  They ordered the Board to pay an employer nearly $18,000 in legal fees incurred due to the Board’s “bad faith litigation.”

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