Vorys on Labor

Vorys on Labor

Insights for the Labor Relations Professional

Tag Archives: union

Union Access to Employer Property for Safety Inspections: OSHA Reverses Course

Posted in Department of Labor
Two of my colleagues, Ben Shepler and Mike Griffaton, wrote yesterday about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) reversal of a position it took in February 2013.  At issue is the right of non-employee union representatives to participate in an OSHA-conducted workplace safety inspection.  The prior administration extended that right to unions, even if the employer was… Continue Reading

Court Determines that Employer’s “Out of the Ordinary” Communication was Lawful

Posted in Management, Union Organizing
A federal appellate court recently reigned-in the NLRB’s attempt to limit an employer’s response to union activity.  The case, Intertape Polymer Corp., previously covered on this blog, arose in the context of a union organizing drive.  As discussed in our prior post, the NLRB decided that the employer engaged in unlawful employee surveillance, confiscation of… Continue Reading

Requesting Police Enforcement of Trespass Law is a “Petition” to the Government

Posted in Courts, Unions
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right of the people “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  Courts have concluded that when a person petitions the Government in good faith, the First Amendment prohibits any sanction for that conduct.  Applied in the labor law context, therefore, employer conduct that… Continue Reading

NLRB Revisits Independent Contractor Definition

Posted in NLRB, Union Organizing
Employees are permitted to join unions.  Independent contractors are not.  Thus, whether a particular working relationship involves an “employee” or an “independent contractor” is extremely important.  Recently, the NLRB has made it easier to establish employee status and correspondingly more difficult to establish independent contractor status. The case involved delivery drivers for Federal Express Home… Continue Reading

Union Organizing in 2014

Posted in Union Organizing
By Susan Connelly of PTI Labor Research, Guest Blogger* PTI Labor Research analyzed union representation petitions that were filed within the first half of the year.   States with the most petitions filed (pdf) included:  New York, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Each of these top five states are “Non-Right to Work,” where it is legal to… Continue Reading

A Limit on Micro-Unions for Now, but Long-Term Significance of Limitation Uncertain

Posted in NLRB, Union Organizing
On the heels of the much anticipated decision involving the Macy’s department store chain, discussed on this blog last week, the NLRB on Monday released its opinion in a similar case involving Neiman Marcus. Unlike the outcome in  the Macy’s case, however, the NLRB found the bargaining unit that the union sought to represent was not… Continue Reading

Confiscating Union Literature and Engaging in Surveillance of Union Activities Invalidates Election

Posted in Union Organizing
By Nelson Cary and Christina Otero* The United Steelworkers union lost an election at a tape manufacturing facility, with 97 votes for and 142 votes against the union. During the campaign, however, the employer confiscated union literature from the employees’ break room and engaged in surveillance of employees’ union activities. For these transgressions, a majority… Continue Reading

Busted! NLRB Finds Employer’s Prohibition of Sticker Unlawful

Posted in NLRB
By Nelson Cary and James Pauley III A healthcare employer with six different locations recently found itself in hot water after banning employees from wearing stickers with the word “BUSTED” in bright red lettering; the NLRB found that the prohibition violated the NLRA. The employer banned the stickers in patient care areas in four of its… Continue Reading

Union Supporters’ Threats Do Not Invalidate Election

Posted in Union Organizing
Union elections are supposed to be conducted in an atmosphere free of threats and coercion. This allows employees to make a free and informed choice about whether they want a Union to represent them for purposes of collective bargaining. Given these principles, therefore, even a labor professional might be surprised at a recent decision from the NLRB.… Continue Reading

UAW Withdraws Objections to Volkswagen Election

Posted in Union Organizing
By Al Kinzer Just before the NLRB hearing about the UAW objections to the VW election was to start, the UAW withdrew its objections to its 712-626 defeat in the February 2014 election. Thus, the UAW ended its legal battle to overturn the election results.   The UAW stated that pursing its objections would take months… Continue Reading

NLRB Regional Director Holds Northwestern University Football Players Are Employees, And Can Unionize

Posted in NLRB, Union Organizing
By: Nelson D. Cary, Michael J. Shoenfelt Yesterday, the NLRB’s regional director for Region 13(Chicago), Peter Ohr, issued a 24-page ruling in which he held that college football players at Northwestern University were employees entitled to the right to organize.  Ohr reasoned that the players met the standard for an employee under the NLRA and… Continue Reading

UAW Files Objections to VW Vote

Posted in Union Organizing
By Al Kinzer Seeking to set aside its loss, the UAW filed formal objections to the VW election with the NLRB. The UAW alleges interference with the NLRB election process by third parties. The UAW requests that the NLRB set aside its 712-626 loss in the February 14 election and conduct another secret-ballot election. The UAW has until… Continue Reading

VW Workers Reject the UAW

Posted in Union Organizing
By Al Kinzer By a vote of 712 to 626, the VW workers in Chattanooga rejected UAW representation. The defeat leaves the UAW in a precarious state. The UAW was hoping to use a victory at VW as momentum for its campaigns at Nissan in Canton, Mississippi, and at Mercedes Benz in Vance, Alabama. Instead, the UAW finds… Continue Reading

VW’s Agreement for a UAW Election

Posted in Union Organizing
By Al Kinzer Voting begins at 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 12, and the polls close at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, February 14. By 11:00 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, Chattanooga will know whether the UAW has been certified as the exclusive union representing the Volkswagen workers at its Chattanooga plant. VW has done a lot for… Continue Reading

Union Can Offer Gift Card to Entice Employees to Strike, says NLRB’s GC

Posted in NLRB
Yesterday, this blog covered an advice memorandum released by the NLRB’s General Counsel finding that Wal-Mart didn’t violate the law in responding to mass demonstrations and picketing by union-sponsored groups. Today, we look at another case relating to union activity directed at Wal-Mart, but this time alleging that the union violated the NLRA. In 2012, the… Continue Reading

Unions Lose One at the NLRB (At Least for Now)

Posted in NLRB
Union members have a right to claim what is known as “objector” status. If they do, a union is obligated to recalculate the dues that those seeking objector status have to pay. The union must reduce the dues by a proportional amount that is equal to money the union spends on activities not related to collective bargaining,… Continue Reading

Court of Appeals “Baffled” By NLRB’s Finding Of Unlawful Union Remark by Employer’s President

Posted in Union Organizing
By Nelson Cary and Ashley Manfull Recently, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals reigned in a union-friendly NLRB decision involving comments made during a union organizing drive. In Flagstaff Medical Center, Inc., the NLRB held, among other things, that Flagstaff’s President violated the NLRA during a meeting with food services employees during a union… Continue Reading

Acting General Counsel Releases Report on FY 2012 Operations

Posted in NLRB, Union Membership
Last week, the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon released his annual Summary of Operations (pdf). The memorandum summarizes the activities of the General Counsel’s office, which is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of unfair labor practice charges and the handling of representation cases.  Representation cases are requests from a union, employee, or employer… Continue Reading