Tennessee Labor Talk

NLRB Regional Director Sets April 25 as Date for Northwestern Football Players Union

Posted in Union Organizing and Collective Bargaining

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Regional Director has set April 25 as the date for the union vote for Northwestern University’s scholarship football players.  As readers of this blog will recall, that vote will determine whether the scholarship football players elect the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) as their bargaining representative.  It is still not clear whether the vote will actually take place on April 25, however, because Northwestern University already has announced its intention to appeal.

Supreme Court Overturns Sixth Circuit Ruling Exempting Certain Severance Payments from FICA

Posted in Employee Benefits, Wage and Hour Law and Practice

On March 25, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States (the “Supreme Court”) voted unanimously to overturn the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (the “Sixth Circuit”) ruling in United States v. Quality Stores, Inc. (“Quality Stores“). As we outlined in a previous alert, in September 2012, the Sixth Circuit ruled in Quality Stores that a type of severance payment called a supplemental unemployment compensation benefit (“SUB”) payment does not constitute “wages” subject to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (“FICA”) tax under Section 3121 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”). Continue Reading

Further Reflections on Unions in College Football – Is “student athlete” a misnomer?

Posted in Union Organizing and Collective Bargaining

Is this the beginning of the end of college football as we know it?  Some argue that the end already has begun, with the “big money” of television and the corresponding commercialization prevalent in the sport.  Some argue that in today’s major college football and basketball, the phrase “student-athlete” is a misnomer.

Has the end begun?  Perhaps, but as predicted below, look for a legislative initiative to be triggered. Continue Reading

NLRB Regional Director Finds that Scholarship Football Players at Northwestern are Employees, not “Primarily Students” and Orders Union Election

Posted in Union Organizing and Collective Bargaining

Readers of this blog will recall our post on January 30 of this year, found here, regarding the effort by certain Northwestern University football players to unionize scholarship players on the team.  Many pundits (including this one) predicted that even this National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would not find that the players were employees.  Wrong (at least so far)!  Continue Reading

President Presses Department of Labor to Redefine FLSA Exemptions for the “Modern Economy”

Posted in Uncategorized

Employer costs for meeting the overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will be increasing but not imminently. The process for that increase surely has begun.

On March 13, 2014, President Obama instructed the Department of Labor (DOL) to review the “white collar” exemptions from the FLSA.  As readers know, an employer is not required to pay overtime to employees who meet these exemptions.  Contrary to much of the commentary regarding the announcement, the President did not give the DOL specific instructions.  Rather, the President instructed the DOL to propose regulations that will “modernize and streamline” current overtime regulations. Continue Reading

Employers Cautioned to Review Disclosures for FCRA Compliance

Posted in Uncategorized

Employers have long been under an obligation to provide employees and prospective employees with prior written notice that a credit report – a “consumer report” in the language of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) – may be obtained about them.  The FCRA specifically requires this notice to be “in a document that consists solely of the disclosure,” although the Act elsewhere clarifies that the disclosure may also contain an authorization by the employee or applicant for procurement of the report.  Recent court decisions, settlements, and new lawsuits have highlighted the importance of ensuring compliance with this provision of the FCRA.
Continue Reading

Delay in Supreme Court Review of D.R. Horton Continues to Cost Employers Enforcing Arbitration Agreements

Posted in Labor Board Proceedings and Practice

Readers of our series of posts on D.R. Horton will recall our prediction that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) would continue its attacks on certain arbitration agreements.  As predicted, the NLRB’s administrative law judges (ALJ) continue to strike down any arbitration agreements that waive class or collective action claims and allow arbitration of only individual claims.  The ALJs consistently find that such agreements violate employees’ Section 7 rights to engage in protected concerted activity. Continue Reading

VW Aftermath – Factors Still Favor Non-Union South

Posted in Labor Board Proceedings and Practice, Union Organizing and Collective Bargaining

Much speculation abounds regarding why workers at the Volkswagen (VW) plant in Chattanooga rejected the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) in a recent vote.  Factors appeared to be aligning in favor of the UAW, such as

  • Statements of support for the union from VW representatives in Germany.
  • Access to the plant for union organizers.
  • Promise of a “works council” type approach to unionization.

Continue Reading

NLRB Finds No ULP by VW in Chattanooga

Posted in Labor Board Proceedings and Practice

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has found that Volkswagen (VW) did not commit unfair labor practices (ULPs) in the support its German parent company showed to the United Auto Workers’ union (UAW) at VW’s plant in Chattanooga.  Despite apparent opposition from members of management at the Chattanooga VW plant, and despite concern expressed by the business community in southeast Tennessee and northern Georgia over VW’s decision to essentially “invite” the UAW into the Chattanooga plant, it appears that the UAW has sufficient cards to ask for an election and most likely enough support to win representation among the VW production employees. The decision to dismiss the ULP charges opens the door for that process to move forward. Continue Reading

OFCCP Revises Disability Disclosure Rules for Federal Contractors

Posted in Uncategorized

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP) has revised the rules implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, which applies to certain federal contractors.  The revised rules, which are effective on March 24, 2014 require covered federal contractors to invite each job applicant to voluntarily disclose (“self-identify”) whether he or she has a disability as defined by the Rehabilitation Act at the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the application process.  Covered federal contractors also must invite their current employees to voluntarily self-identify any disabilities every five years. Continue Reading