August 30, 2013 will soon be remembered as the day the current National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) turned a corner and became a full-fledged advertising agency for union organization. On that day, the NLRB announced the release of a free NLRB mobile app for mobile smartphone users. Under the guise of “educating” employees about the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), this unbalanced app backdoors much of the same NLRB notice-posting propaganda that was proposed, delayed, and ultimately enjoined by a Federal Court last year. Expect this app to be grouped right next to the DOL’s Time Tracking App (downloaded last year), where employees can track their hours and submit alleged violations of the FLSA directly to the DOL’s Wage & Hour Division.
Continue Reading Want to Organize Your Employer? There’s An App for That: NLRB Launches Mobile App to “Educate” Employees About the NLRA

In a little publicized letter of interpretation, dated April 5, 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced for the first time that during an OSHA inspection of non-union worksites, employees can be represented by anyone selected by the employees including outside union agents. In so doing, the letter, issued to the Steelworkers Union

By:  James Kachmar

Those of you who attended our November 15, 2012 seminar, “Risks and Benefits of Social Media and Computers in the Workplace,” heard us discuss recent actions taken by the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) regarding Social Media Use Policies adopted by employers to address the many issues that may arise with the increased use of social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) by their employees. As we mentioned, the NLRB was slow to address the issue of social media in the workplace. However, the NLRB has recently become much more active and more critical in how it views social media policies and their impact on the rights of employees to organize.Continue Reading NLRB Continues Crackdown on Company Social Media Policies

By:   Lizbeth V. West, Esq.

On September 7, 2012, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued an opinion in Costco Wholesale Corp. v. NLRB. The case is an important one for all employers (regardless of whether their employees are union or non-union). It deals with the NLRB’s continuing focus on what it believes to be over-reaching employment policies that violate Section 7 and/or 8 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In fact, in the last 12 months, the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel has issued three reports on the issue. Continue Reading DO YOUR EMPLOYMENT POLICIES VIOLATE THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT? You’d Be Surprised – But They Very Likely Do!

According to Union proponents, the biggest obstacle to a modern organizing campaign is management delay tactics. In a traditional organizing campaign, union representatives meet with bargaining unit employees (i.e. all the mechanics at a car dealership) and talk with them about union representation. The union then attempts to secure signed authorization cards from the employees. If the union can show that a majority of the employees in the bargaining unit favor union recognition, the employer may voluntarily forego an election and recognize the union. If, however, the employer refuses or the card-check process generates at least 30%, but not majority, employee support, the union may petition the NLRB for a secret ballot election administered by the NLRB. Unions plead for majority card-check rules because they claim that employees suffer at the hands of underhanded management tactics during traditional Board elections. “These delays make it too easy for employers to intimidate and coerce workers, including by dismissing them for organizing. And this in turn diminishes employee interest in unions and thus undercuts the right to collective bargaining they are supposed to enjoy.” However, unions still have the same success rate in traditional elections (approximately 60%) as they did in 1965.

Organized Labor’s pleas were answered when the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which was co-sponsored by then Senator Barack Obama, was introduced. Under the EFCA, unions would no longer have to go through the NLRB traditional election process to gain recognition. Instead, a union must obtain signed authorization cards from a majority of employees in the bargaining unit. Additionally, the EFCA would invoke binding interest arbitration if labor and management cannot agree upon the first contract within nine months. Once in arbitration, a government appointed arbitrator would decide the parties’ obligations in the first contract. Because of the results of the November 2008 national elections, we are likely to see some sort of change in 2009. Barack Obama promised to sign EFCA. Should the EFCA pass, unions estimate that they will be able to organize millions of new workers. Below are some of the more notable features of the EFCA in detail:Continue Reading The Employee Free Choice Act