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Union Bailout Update

The office of the General Counsel of the NLRB issued consolidated complaints against McDonald’s franchisees, and included the franchisor, McDonald’s USA, LLC as a joint employer. Could this be the opening swell of a tidal wave, or a freshening breeze that will quickly dissipate? At least one district court begs to differ with the NLRB, ruling early this month in Vann v. Massage Envy Franchising LLC that the franchisor is not considered the employer of the individual businesses they contract out to.

The NLRB is going to have to fend off a pair of lawsuits over the Ambush Election rule. It comes as no surprise that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would file suit, and they were joined by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), National Retail Federation (NRF), and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The first suit was quickly

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Labor Relations INK November 2014

In this issue:

West Coast Gridlock Changes In Labor Law To Come? IBEW Steps In It, Big Time For What It’s Worth SEIU Watch, Social Media Spotlight, Scoreboard, Insight and more…

The bottom of each story contains a link to the individual post on our site.

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Labor Relations Insight by Phil Wilson

FullSizeRenderA little over a year ago we took a spring break trip down to Austin, TX. I know, I know, touring the LBJ Presidential Library is a questionable spring break activity (it was straight out of “Nerds Gone Wild”). But while on the trip I bought one of those little garden gnomes dressed up like a Michigan fan. I thought it would bring some good luck to the team.

We got the “good luck” gnome home

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Labor Relations INK October 2014

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In this issue:

Getting Creative SEIU Hires…Contractors? “Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste” More Lessons From Market Basket Whistlin’ Dixie, Sticky Fingers, Scoreboard, Insight and more…

The bottom of each story contains a link to the individual post on our site.

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Labor Relations Insight

by Phil Wilson

The Question

One of my favorite bands is the Old 97s. They’re awesome. If you ever get a chance to see them do it. You won’t regret it.

The Old 97s played last week at the Cain’s Ballroom (if you ever get a chance to see any band at the Cain’s Ballroom do it. You won’t regret that either). Well, at the show they played one of their classic songs “The Question

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Union Bailout Update

Protected concerted activity took another leap forward with the NLRB’s ruling in the Dover Energy, Inc.,Blackmer Division ruling. A steward, with no authority for negotiating contracts, twice placed requests for voluminous documents related to company financial and payroll information. When the company responded the second time with a verbal warning, an Administrative Law Judge sided with the company since the steward was not a union negotiator, his requests were not authorized by the union, and there was no indication he acted on anyone else’s behalf. Typically, the board saw it differently and reversed the judge’s ruling.

Another issue likely to follow the winding trail through the legal process to higher courts involves the rules surrounding successorship. In Pressroom Cleaners Inc., the Board increased successor liability when a successor fails to hire employees of its predecessors in an attempt to avoid union representation, overturning precedent established in 2006 in

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Labor Relations Ink – August 2014

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In this issue:

Between A Rock and a Hard Place? Who’s Got Your Back? Same Song, Different Verse Bending Over Backwards SEIU Watch, Sticky Fingers, Scoreboard, Insight and more…

The bottom of each story contains a link to the individual post on our site.

Labor Relations Insight by Phil Wilson

Fast Food Strikes, the NLRB and the One Lesson of Economics

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Credit: RaiseUpMKE.org

Fast food workers protested across the country today in favor of a $15 per hour minimum wage (and “union rights” – which of course they already have). It is always hard to separate the facts from

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Union Bailout Update - August 2014

Richard Griffin

Richard Griffin

It is getting much harder to discharge an employee for behavior that could jeopardize business, if that behavior can be linked to protected concerted activity, and if the employer is inconsistent in applying disciplinary action. In a recent Starbucks case, an employee was fired for using profanity in the presence of customers. At issue was the wearing of pro-union pins. The NLRB originally found the discharge unlawful, but the Second Circuit court remanded the case back to the board, not buying their reasoning. The board then shifted focus, using a “mixed motive test” and finding that the company’s disciplinary action was inconsistent, and thus could have been related to the protected concerted activity as much as the use of profanity.

The NLRB’s General Counsel filed a

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Labor Relations Ink July 2014

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In this issue:

Harris vs. Quinn Setback Hollow Pension Plans Keep Your Eye On The Ball Teamster-Affiliated Taxi Drivers Fear The Future SEIU Watch, Sticky Fingers, Only In a Union, Scoreboard and more…

The bottom of each story contains a link to the individual post on our site.

hula-girlLabor Relations Insight by Phil Wilson

Unfortunately, at the time of the submission deadline for this issue, Phil was on a beach in Hawaii trying to keep the sand out of his ukulele. Thus no pithy insight from Phil included in this issue of INK. However, I’m sure the couple of weeks in the sun will contribute to

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Union Bailout Update

“The legal advisory department of the NLRB is on track to issue a ruling that could have devastating consequences for the nation’s 770,000 franchisees, the mom-and-pop owners of neighborhood restaurants, hotels, print centers, realtors and flower shops that directly employ 8.5 million workers.

Thus another bogus decision by the NLRB on the issue of “joint employer” status could devastate the franchise industry. As usual, Big Labor effort (and money) is behind it. Fortunately, the courts have so far defended the line between franchisor and franchisee. Keep a sharp eye peeled for this one.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)

The NLRB has condoned sexual harassment – as long as it occurs on a picket line! Another example of the double standard

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Labor Relations Ink June 2014

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In this issue:

A Hearty UFCW “Welcome” to New England Grocer Unions At Odds With Market Competition Big Labor Pulls a Statue of Liberty Play Democracy UAW Style SEIU Watch, Sticky Fingers, Scoreboard, Insight and more…

The bottom of each story contains a link to the individual post on our site.

Labor Relations Insight by Phil Wilson

ambush-election-coverHow to Win an Ambush Election

Today’s article has one simple purpose. I want you to download (and read) our latest White Paper How to Win (And Prevent) an Ambush Election. We just released it today. If you want to save some time you can skip reading this article and download the

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Union Bailout Update June 2014

As an employer, what would be your response to an employee who exploded in your face in a rage of profanity, threatening you and daring you to fire him? According to the NLRB, firing him is not an option! The decision went back and forth between the ALJ and the board, but was finally decided in favor of the employee for the following reasons:

the outburst occurred in a closed-door meeting in a manager’s office away from the workplace; the subject matter concerned the employee’s protected conduct; and the employee’s conduct was “provoked by the employer’s unfair labor practice” of inviting the employee to quit if he did not like the employer’s policies.

Board member Johnson summed up the “NLRB standard” for workplace behavior in his dissent:

“By this standard, employees … will be permitted to curse, denigrate, and defy their managers with impunity during the course of otherwise

Continue reading Union Bailout Update June 2014