The NLRB added to its step-by-step expansion of union rights at the expense of employers, this time by requiring employers to “promptly respond” to even irrelevant information requests from unions. This “irrelevant” ruling is an extension of well-established NLRB case law that an employer’s duty to bargain in good faith includes the obligation to provide requested information relevant and necessary to the union’s role as bargaining representative.
In IronTiger Logistics (click here for full decision), a union requested information considered irrelevant to the union’s role as bargaining representative by the employer, and, because of that, for over four months, the employer declined to respond to the information request.
Despite concurring with the employer that the union-requested information was irrelevant, the NLRB still concluded that the employer acted unlawfully “by not timely responding in some manner” to the union’s request. The NLRB ruled that good faith bargaining requires an employer to promptly supply the union with its basis for refusing to supply requested information.
All too often, unions flood employers with irrelevant, overreaching, and time-consuming information demands to during and outside negotiations, to delay necessary bargaining and decisions on topics such as subcontracting, automating, moving, and closing. These requests, and gamesmanship, are now likely to multiply because of the Board’s decision in IronTiger Logistics.
Reed Smith’s Labor & Employment Group will be conducting a series of CLE Programs entitled “Employment Law 2013 – Reed Smith Boot Camp” in locations across the country. Kicking off “Boot Camp” will be an event in our Philadelphia Office on January 31, 2013. If you would like to attend, click here and indicate your location.