The United States Supreme Court has been issuing employment-law related decisions like a boss over the past week or so. Many observers thought that the Court’s decision in Harris v. Quinn (pdf), a case examining the constitutionality of union fair share fees, would result in more fireworks (sorry, a little 4th of July humor for
In a case which will interest public and private sector employers alike, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council 87 v. Pa. Labor Relations Bd., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is poised to address important issues regarding the subcontracting of public sector bargaining unit work to private sector contractors.
Continue Reading Pennsylvania Supreme Court To Consider When a Public Sector-Related Entity May Subcontract Bargaining Unit Work to Private Sector Contractors Without Bargaining
Stop me if you have heard this one, an employee was upset about his pay rate…
Seriously, an employee upset about his pay was at the heart of a recent decision issued by the National Labor Relations Board that explored the protections afforded by the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”). The employee in question was hired to perform waterproofing duties on a project at a university in Ohio. The project was a public project, and therefore, it was covered by the applicable prevailing wage laws. The employee, however, was not happy about the prevailing wage rate that he received on the project, and essentially complained about his wage rate throughout the entire time he spent working on the project. In fact, as the foreman testified, the employee complained about basically everything during his brief tenure with the employer.
Continue Reading NLRB Finds that not all Whining and Complaining Protected by NLRA
As Americans across the country anxiously stare at their National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Basketball brackets, the Northwestern University Wildcats are dominating the headlines in both the sports and labor law communities. In what many sports and legal commentators are calling a game-changing decision (pun intended), on Wednesday, March 26, the Regional Director for the Chicago Regional Office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that certain players on the Northwestern University football team could seek to form a union. Perhaps more importantly, the Decision is quite expansive in its interpretation of the term “employee.”…
Continue Reading NLRB Rules That College Football Team Can Seek to Form a Union
Recently, McNees issued its annual White Paper: The National Labor Relations Board Year in Review. Please click here to view the full White Paper.
From the looks of it, 2013 was a very rough year for the National Labor Relations Board! Last year, we reported that the National Labor Relations Board would face some serious legal…
On Monday, January 27, 2014, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a group of unionized steel workers at U.S. Steel Corporation did not need to be compensated for the time they spent “donning and doffing” safety gear before and after work. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority in Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp., Case No. 12-417 (Jan. 27, 2014), a case he described as requiring the Court to determine the meaning of the phrase “changing clothes” under section 203(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Although section 203(o) applies only to employers with collective bargaining agreements, certain aspects of the decision could have broader implications in “hours worked” cases under the FLSA.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules That “Donning and Doffing” Protective Gear Subject to Collective Bargaining; Leaves Door Open for Future Claims
The National Football League (“NFL”) has hired an outside investigator to handle the complaint made by Jonathan Martin of the Miami Dolphins. The national news media cannot seem to get enough of this story, and the coverage has been relentless. The media, however, seems to have focused on the bullying angle. But for some of us, based on the reports, it looks like there was more than just bullying going on. If the allegations are true there may be violations of the league’s workplace harassment policy as well. Given the dynamics here, and the high profile nature of the situation, we think it makes a lot of sense for the NFL (and the union) to bring in an investigator from the outside.
An employer’s investigation of workplace harassment is often critical to its subsequent defense of any related lawsuits. A good investigation that results in appropriate corrective action typically means a good defense to a claim of workplace harassment. The law encourages employers to be proactive and promptly investigate incidents that occur, and rewards employers who take those steps.
Continue Reading NFL Hires Outside Investigator . . . Should You?
It seems like we have been spending a lot of time discussing successful appeals of arbitration decisions lately, which is been a good thing for Pennsylvania employers. Recently, we reported on two cases in which an employer successfully appealed a negative arbitration decision. Historically, such successful appeals have been difficult. However, the current trend continued when…
The National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) aggressive campaign to educate non-union employees about their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) is in full swing.
In addition to the mandatory notice posting requirement that will go into effect for all employers on April 30, the NLRB recently announced its plan to launch a new website designed to educate both union and non-union employees about their rights under the NLRA. These rights include the rights to discuss working conditions and to present grievances to their employers. Under the NLRA, employees have a right to engage in such “protected concerted activity,” even when they are not union employees or involved in union organizing efforts.
Continue Reading NLRB to Expand Outreach Campaign Targeting Nonunion Employees
Many watched intently in early February as the political theater unfolded in Madison, Wisconsin when Republican Governor Scott Walker proposed legislation to limit the collective bargaining rights of most state government employees. In a matter of days, the Capitol would be swarming with protesters and demonstrators on both sides of the issue. What followed was weeks of sit-ins in the Capitol, a mass walkout by all 14 Democratic State Senators to block a vote on the proposed law, the unprecedented recall elections of 6 Republican and 3 Democratic state lawmakers and a bitterly fought campaign to unseat an incumbent State Supreme Court Justice widely viewed as a pro-Walker.
Observers on both sides generally agree though that the movement to reform public sector collective bargaining rights has invigorated the debate on the role of unions in today’s uncertain economic climate.
Continue Reading The State of State Unions: A Year in Review