Showing posts with label labor relations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label labor relations. Show all posts

Monday, October 30, 2023

NLRB publishes (yet another) new joint employment rule

If at first (or second, or third…) you don't succeed, try, try again. That certainly seems to be the NLRB's mantra as it relates to its joint employment rule.

Joint employment is when one employer is responsible for the legal sins of another because of a commonality of employees. Under the standard newly announced by the NLRB, an entity may be considered a joint employer of a group of employees if each entity has an employment relationship with the employees and they share or codetermine one or more of the employees' following terms and conditions of employment:

Monday, October 23, 2023

Is this what the future of union organizing looks like?

Last week, the employees of Creature Comforts Brewing Co. voted by a margin of 32-21 to reject the Brewing Union of Georgia as their bargaining representative and for their workplace to remain union-free. The National Labor Relations Board conducted and supervised the secret-ballot election, and the result presumes to reflect the choice of Creature Comforts' employees.

Except maybe that secret-ballot election is not the choice of Creature Comforts' employees?

I fully expect BUG to file a petition with the NLRB seeking a Cemex bargaining order. What is a Cemex bargaining order, you ask? 

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Repeat after me: Never, ever, ever ignore court orders

Have you ever heard of a "writ of body attachment?" Me neither, until yesterday. That's when the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued one against Timothy and Carley Dillett, two corporate officials of Haven Salon + Spa, and ordered federal marshals to take them into custody.

What did the Dilletts do to earn the ire of a federal appeals court and wind up in custody?

They repeatedly and willfully ignored the NLRB's and the Court's orders.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

OSHA wants to let union reps into your non-union facility

If OSHA gets its way, you might have to start opening the doors of your business to union reps during the agency's safety inspections.

Pursuant to a new rule proposed by OSHA, in the event of an OSHA inspection an employee can designate another employee or a non-employee third-party to accompany the OSHA agent during the physical workplace inspection.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

NLRB opens the tap for a union election at Creature Comforts Brewing Company … but will it matter?

It took more than seven months, but the NLRB has finally directed a union representation election at Creature Comforts Brewing Company. The NLRB will soon hold a secret ballot election over whether employees wish to be represented for purposes of collective bargaining by the Brewing Union of Georgia. 

The bigger issue for Creature Comforts, however, is that even if it wins the election, the union will almost certainly use its four pending unfair labor practice charges against the employer to seek a bargaining order under the Board's recent Cemex decision (which the Board will apply retroactively).

Saturday, August 26, 2023

BREAKING NEWS: NLRB issues in the era of card-check union recognition and bargaining order remedies

In Cemex Construction Materials Pacific, the NLRB significantly altered the process for how a labor union becomes certified as the exclusive bargaining representative of a group of employees.
Cemex eliminates (1) secret-ballot representation elections upon the presentation of signed authorization cards; and (2) re-run elections in the face of election-campaign unfair labor practices.

In their place, Cemex: (1) requires an employer to recognize and bargain with a union upon its presentation of a majority of signed authorization cards unless the employer promptly (within two weeks absent unforeseen circumstances) files an RM petition seeking an election; and (2) authorizes the Board to issue a bargaining order instead of directing a second, re-run election if an employer seeking an RM election commits any unfair labor practice prior to election that would require the Board to set the election aside.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Getting your termination ducks in a row

Just because someone engages in protected conduct doesn't mean you can't fire them. It just means you better have your ducks in a row when you do so.

Case in point: the saga of Nicole Oeuvray and the Art Directors Guild. Oeuvray, who served as the guild's accountant for 16 years, had been one of leaders of a campaign to organize the guild's employees into a labor union.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

NLRB resets the rules on employee handbooks … yet again

Yes, we need to talk about employee handbooks and the NLRB … again. 

Yesterday, the Board decided Stericycle, Inc., and announced its 5th (at least) new and different standard in the past 25 years as to when a workplace policy (such as those in employee handbooks) violate employees' rights to engage in protected concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act to talk between and among themselves about their terms and conditions of employment.

It's enough to give an HR practitioner or employment lawyer legal whiplash, and I'm not going to go through the history of all of these various disparate standards. If you want full history, you can read the Stericycle opinion or search the blog's archives.

What you really want, and need, is a summary of the new standard moving forward (and, as you'll soon discover, backward). Here it is.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Why all employers should care about the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes

At midnight on July 14, SAG-AFTRA, the labor union representing 160,000 film and television actors, went on striking, joining their fellow members of the WGA on the Hollywood picket lines. 

One of the key issues in both negotiations in the future of AI in the entertainment industry. SAG-AFTRA claims that the studios want the ability to pay background actors for one day's work use that likeness in perpetuity for any project without consent or compensation, including through the use of generative AI to fully replace the live actor. Similarly, a key sticking point for the WGA is the use of generative AI to write scripts in their entirety, which can then be edited by lower-priced non-union members.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Can an employer disable online commenting to quell pro-union messaging?

There's a lot going on with the union organizing campaign at Creature Comforts Brewing Company. While the union (known as "BUG") continues to wait for the NLRB to schedule a representation election, BUG continues to accuse the brewery of illegal union busting. 

According to the BUG, the brewery (allegedly) illegally fired Spencer "Spicy" Britton, one of the union's biggest supporters. Moreover, the public and the brewery's employees can no longer express their opposition to the brewery's alleged union busting tactics by posting comments on Creature Comforts' Instagram posts. The brewery has disabled the ability to comment on all new posts since March 29.

I'd like to tell you that because the Instagram comment policy applies equally to everyone (non-employees and employees), there's nothing unlawful about it under the National Labor Relations Act. But with the current composition of the most pro-union NLRB in history and its equally pro-union general counsel, all bets are off. I'd have real concerns permitting a client to take this step under these or similar circumstances.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo just obliterated non-compete agreements (maybe)

In my view, the proffer, maintenance, and enforcement of a non-compete provision that reasonably tends to chill employees from engaging in Section 7 activity … violate Section 8(a)(1) unless the provision is narrowly tailored to special circumstances justifying the infringement on employee rights.

With that sentence from NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo's just-published memo — entitled, Non-Compete Agreements that Violate the National Labor Relations Act — Ms. Abruzzo sent employment lawyers (including this employment lawyer) scrambling to understand exactly what she said and what she means.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Federal agencies need to stay in their lanes

These are just a few of headlines I've recently read in which one federal agency or another is signaling an intent to regulate outside of its core mission. Federal agencies should stay in their lanes, period. OSHA regulates workplace safety. The NLRB regulates the relationship between unions and management, and in non-union settings the rights of employees to engage in protected concerted activity.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

NLRB General Counsel goes nuclear on severance agreements in her guidance on McLaren Macomb

NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo just released her Guidance in Response to Inquiries about the McLaren Macomb Decision

Recall that McLaren Macomb held that garden-variety non-disparagement and confidentiality clauses in workplace severance agreements violate the National Labor Relations Act by unlawfully infringing upon the rights of employees to engage in protected concerted activity.

Just how far does Ms. Abruzzo push the limits of McLaren Macomb in her interpretation?

Monday, March 13, 2023

What can you do about employee mass protests? (Hint: not much.)

The 25 employees of Mela Kitchen at Jack’s Hard Cider recently walked off the job in protest after owner Donald Hoffman created a new drink menu of cocktails with racially inspired named such as "The Caucasian" and "The Negro."

MSN quotes one employee, Emily Kate Hessler, on why she and her co-workers decided to engage in the mass protest.

Despite days of efforts from upper management trying to halt this cocktail and it's name, Friday comes and it's time to reveal this weekends special. I made a formal complaint to upper management and notified them that if the name isn't changed most of the scheduled staff will be walking. An email was sent to Donald informing him of our plan and his reaction was explosive.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

NLRB bans non-disparagement and confidentiality covenants in severance agreements. What now?

Is it time to rip up your stock severance agreement? Consider the following two clauses, which I bet your standard agreement contains in some form.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Union avoidance vs. union busting

"A company that opposes a union organizing and presents both sides of this complex issue is 'union busting.'" This is what one commenter wrote in response to my recent post about union organizing at Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

I could not disagree more. 

There is vast, substantive, and significant difference between union avoidance and union busting.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Update on Creature Comfort Brewing’s union organizing

Last week I reported that the employees of Creature Comforts Brewing Co. formed their own independent labor union, the Brewing Union of Georgia (aka BUG) and announced their intent to unionize their workplace.

A lot can happen in a week.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

What does Creature Comfort’s union announcement mean for your craft brewery?

The employees of Creature Comforts Brewing Co. recently held a rally to announce their intent to form a labor union. They also announced the formation of the Brewing Union of Georgia, an independent union created by the brewery's employees with the stated goal of spreading their movement across their state. Despite the union's "independence," it has received assistance and guidance from assistance from the United Campus Workers of Georgia and the Workers Center at the Economic Justice Coalition.

This is HUGE news for the craft beer industry.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Employers, for the love of God, please stop banning employees from discussing their wages

I came across the following recent post on the legaladvice subreddit.

Work for a brewery. GM and owner … informed everyone that we needed to sign a contract essentially stating that if ANY employee was found to be discussing wages, they would be terminated immediately.… As of last week, GM let everyone know that any employee who hasn't signed the paper will be looked at as a voluntary resignation. I should probably add that, of course, we have no union.

This is what we labor and employment lawyers call … what's the term … ILLEGAL

Monday, December 12, 2022

A tale of two employee nondisclosure agreements

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…." This is perhaps the most famous opening line in the history of literature, A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. It's also an apt description of how two tech giants—Apple and Twitter—recently handled the issue of employee nondisclosure agreements.