The lights are still on but the overwhelming majority of desks are empty at the national and regional offices of the Department of Labor (DOL) and its subagencies, as well as the National Labor Relations Board, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These offices will continue to receive and docket filings to preserve statutory deadlines but otherwise will tend to only the most extraordinary cases “involving the safety of human life or protection of property.” All other activities, including investigating complaints and public outreach, are suspended. Below is an example of the employee furlough numbers and their dramatic impact on government operations.Continue Reading Federal Employment Agencies Grind to a Halt During Government Shutdown

Labor unions seeking to stem steady losses within their ranks are getting creative. The AFL-CIO recently passed a resolution permitting anyone in the country to join its organization, regardless of union affiliation. Pushing for passage of this resolution, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka proclaimed that “[T]he success of our movement…is measured by the progress of working people – all working people – by the lives we lead, by the hopes and dreams we make real together.” Continue Reading The Times They Are A-Changin’ For Labor Union Organizing

In a just-released Advice Memorandum found here, the NLRB General Counsel’s office (“GC”) publicized its position that employers must bargain with their unions before implementing new social media policies. The Memo “casually” notes that work rules, such as social media guidelines, provide an independent basis for discipline and are mandatory subjects of bargaining.  According to the GC, even if an employer navigates around the ever-increasing landmines set by the Board and GC in developing a social media policy, employers must also seek union approval before implementing the policy, unless, of course, the underlying collective bargaining agreement contains a clear and unmistakable waiver of the union’s right to bargain over such policies.Continue Reading NLRB General Counsel Keeps Unfriending Employer Social Media Policies

Alexandria E. Cuff contributed to the content of this post.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit joined the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in striking down a National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) rule requiring employers to post a notice telling employees about their National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) rights, including their right to form or join a union. Attached is the decision in Chamber of Commerce v. NLRB.Continue Reading Fourth Circuit Joins D.C. Circuit in Ripping Up NLRB Poster Rule

In a decision handed down today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that President Obama lacked the authority to install three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board early last year. In its opinion for Noel Canning vs. NLRB, attached here, the Court concluded that the President ignored the Senate’s “advise and consent” role by appointing three Members to the Board while the Senate remained in session.
Continue Reading NLRB Recess Appointments Ruled Unconstitutional: Hundreds of Decisions Affected and Board Unable to Act

In a recent case involving Quicken Loans, Inc., Case No. 28-CA-75857, JD(NY)-03-13 (January 8, 2013), an NLRB Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that employers’ commonly adopted practice of including non-disclosure and non-disparagement provisions in employment agreements violated the NLRA. The ALJ concluded that these contract provisions created a chilling effect on the employees’ right to discuss their working conditions with coworkers and others.
Continue Reading Non-Disclosure and Non-Disparagement Provisions in Employment Agreements Not Off-Limits Under the NLRA

On the heels of its December 12 decision overturning 50-year-old Board precedent in WKYC-TV, the NLRB reversed a 36-year-old Board ruling which protected confidential witness statements during workplace investigations from disclosure to the labor organization representing the employee or employees involved in the investigation. Prior to the Board’s December 14 decision in Am. Baptist Homes of W. d/b/a/ Piedmont Gardens , it was well-settled under Anheuser-Busch Inc., 237 N.L.R.B. 982 (1978), that the law exempted witness statements made to employers by employees with assurances of confidentiality from the requirement to provide the union involved with copies of the statements, even though such statements were arguably relevant to the Union’s representation of bargaining unit employees.
Continue Reading NLRB Overturns 36-Year-Old Precedent Protecting Confidential Witness Statements From Disclosure to Union

The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling to preserve the flow of union dues income to unions during protracted labor negotiations. The ruling is that an employer must continue to deduct union dues from employee paychecks despite the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement that required the payments. Continue Reading NLRB Overturns 50 Year Old Case to Require Employers to Continue Union Dues “Check-off” Payments Despite Expiration of Underlying Labor Agreement

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.Continue Reading NLRB Requires Employers to Respond to Irrelevant Information Requests from Unions