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Union Bailout Update

Alex Acosta

All employers will be able to breathe more easily once the union-friendly DOL officials have been swept from the administration. Case in point: DOL General Counsel Richard Griffin’s January memo claiming that football players at all 17 private schools in Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) are employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), conflicting with an earlier decision by the NLRB in which it declined to exercise its jurisdiction over a representation petition filed by a union seeking to represent Northwestern University’s scholarship football players. Rep. Virginia Foxx, head of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, called on Griffin to “abandon his partisan agenda or step down immediately.”

With the nomination of Alex Acosta to head the Dept of Labor, and the appointment of Phil Miscimarra to head the NLRB in place of Mark Gaston Pearce, the Trump administration is working to correct for the last eight years of the NLRB and DOL being in the pocket of the unions.  The board also has room for two more appointees, which would be expected to be more employer/employee friendly.

New NLRB Board Chairman Phil Miscimarra

The EEOC also got a facelift with the appointment of current member Victoria Lipnic as acting chair.

Among other past administration rulings under scrutiny are confidentiality policies, joint employer (and here), and the blacklisting rule,

Additionally, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations took the Veteran’s Administration to task over a revelation that 290,000 VA employees spent around 1.1 million hours on union affairs in fiscal year 2015, with 346 of those employees devoting all of their hours to official time. Official time is defined as “paid time off from assigned government duties to represent a union or its bargaining unit employees.”

Iowa legislators are getting in on the act, proposing sweeping changes to laws related to collective bargaining with the state’s public employee unions. With Republicans controlling both houses and the governor’s office, there is little chance for the usual Big Labor outrage and protest to stop the move.

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