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

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Long live Anchor Brewing! We'll have to wait and see about its labor union. ⚓ 🍻

News broke earlier this month that Hamdi Ulukaya, the billionaire founder of Chobani yogurt, purchased the assets of Anchor Brewing after its former owner, international beer conglomerate Sapporo, had unexpectedly shuttered the brewery nearly a year ago. Anchor was one of the country's few unionized craft breweries. Ulukaya has said that he would hire back as many former employees as possible but didn't know whether the union would be part of his new operations. If he hires enough of the former employees, however, he may not have a choice on the union. That issue will depend on whether Ulukaya's Anchor Brewing is a "successor" of Sapporo's Anchor Brewing.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

It's 100% legal to close your business to avoid a labor union

"We have some sad news to share. A process that began last year has reached its conclusion. Today was the last day of service for both cafes of the Wydown, which are now permanently closed." 

That sign hung on the door of both Wydown Coffee Bar locations late last week.

What's so newsworthy about two cafes closing? What if I tell you that the closure happened just five days before their 35 employees were set to vote on unionization?

The employees steadfastly believe that the cafes closed to avoid a labor union. The owners deny their claim and say that they were merely "ready for a change."

Monday, April 15, 2024

One bourbon, one union election, and one Cemex bargaining order

One bourbon, one union election, and one bargaining order … is what an NLRB ALJ told Woodford Reserve Distillery last week. The judge held that the distillery violated federal labor law by undermining its employees' unionization efforts and ordered the distillery to bargain with its employees as their remedy.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

YouTuber faces legal challenge against his overly broad severance agreement

"Employer and Employee agree to keep the existence and terms of this Agreement confidential and to not disclose its provisions to anyone.… Employer and Employee further agree not to take actions or make statements, written or oral, that would disparage or otherwise defame the goodwill or reputation of the other."

Those are the confidentiality and non-disparagement terms of the severance agreement that Steven Crowder, a popular right-wing YouTuber, provided to Jared Mittelo, his producer.

And they are why Mittelo has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

President Biden’s proposed 2025 federal budget offers a lot for employers to chew on

If you want to learn about a government's priorities, trace the money. 

President Biden's proposed federal budget for FY 2025 contains significant funding that would impact the workplace.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Bankrupcy, labor unions, and remaining union free

Fair State Brewing, one the nation's first unionized craft breweries, just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Meanwhile and elsewhere, Aslin Beer Co. just said that it will voluntarily recognize the union petition filed by a group of its taproom employees to join the SEIU.

Evan Sallee, Fair State's founder and CEO, tells Eater than its union has nothing whatsoever to do with the bankruptcy filing.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Baning salary discussion bans

πŸ›‘ Employers, for the love of all that is holy, STOP BANNING EMPLOYEES FROM DISCUSSING THEIR WAGES!!! πŸ›‘

A supervisor of subsidiary of Duke University is accused of doing just that, and now the employer is in hot water with the National Labor Relations Board.

According to the just-filed NLRB complaint, the supervisor allegedly instructed workers during a meeting "not to discuss their salaries." When one of those employees later raised "concerns about employees' salaries and equity in pay," they were fired.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Pro-employee vs. Pro-union

"You can't be pro-employee and anti-union."
"If you're pro-employee you should also be pro-union."

Each of these two themes ran through the more than 1,000 comments posted to last week's viral LinkedIn post on Costco's union organizing.

Let me be as clear as I can be. There is absolutely nothing inconsistent about an employer being both pro-employee AND anti-union.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

THIS is how you respond to a group of employees organizing and forming a labor union

Competitive salary. Excellent benefits. Great support from management. Collaborative environment. Those are a few of the glowing terms reviewers use to describe Costco on Glassdoor. They are also what help the warehouse club earn a regular spot on Glassdoor's "Top 100 Places to Work" annual report.

Why, then, did a group of Costco workers at one of its stores "overwhelmingly" vote to unionize, making it the Teamsters' first organizing victory at the big-box wholesale retailer in more than 20 years?

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Coincidence ≠ causation

An employer terminates a group of 14 employees within six weeks after learning that they were discussing unionizing.

Despite the timing of the mass termination of these employees, the 8th Circuit — in Strategic Technology Institute v. NLRB — reversed and concluded that anti-union animus did not motivate the terminations. 

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.