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.
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
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
A group of football players at Northwestern University has teamed with the United Steelworkers Union and formed a labor union, the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA). What’s more, the players have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), at its regional office in Chicago, to have CAPA recognized as the players’ exclusive bargaining representative in negotiations with the players’ “employer.” Continue Reading
A federal court recently ruled that an employer’s rigid application of its light-duty policy could be used as evidence of pregnancy discrimination. The employer had a policy of providing light-duty jobs only to employees with on-the-job injuries, which the Court here, and the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) in general, have blessed as not showing disability bias against those with impairments caused off-the-job. Here, however, a pregnant certified nursing assistant who had a temporary lifting restriction was denied a light-duty job. Since her job required lifting in assisting nursing home residents, the employer considered her to have “resigned” when the employee gave notice of the doctor’s restrictions. The employee sued. Continue Reading
Readers of a previous post will recall that in December 2013, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the view of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) in the significant D.R. Horton ruling. There, the Fifth Circuit held that an arbitration agreement that requires employees to arbitrate all employment disputes but restricts the arbitration proceedings to individual arbitrations only (i.e., not allowing class or collective arbitrations) does not violate Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. Continue Reading
In a split decision, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected the view of the National Labor Relations Board (the Board). According to the Court’s majority opinion, an arbitration agreement that requires employees to arbitrate all employment disputes but restricts the arbitration proceedings to individual arbitrations only (i.e., not allowing class or collective arbitrations) does not violate Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. D. R. Horton v. National Labor Relations Board (December 3, 2013). The Board is considering an appeal.
Why is this important? Continue Reading
With a growing number of employers using direct deposit to pay their employees instead of paper checks (or even rarer, actual cash!), employers need to be aware of restrictions on the use of debit cards for such payments. Since some employees may not have checking accounts, employers may provide them with a “debit card” – usually issued by a local banking institution – to which the employee’s pay is credited on each payroll date. The employee can then use the card like “cash” for any purchases. Continue Reading
A federal circuit court’s recent ruling provides more evidence of a prevalent employment law trend that has developed in the last few decades. The trend? Candid interactive communication about an employee’s rights and an employer’s responsibilities.
Over the past few decades, attentive employers have seen courts favor those who communicate forthrightly concerns or issues and correspondingly disfavor those who do not. While there are anecdotal exceptions, we have seen this trend in the following: Continue Reading
“Micro-unit” is the term used to refer to a small portion of the total number of employees at a particular worksite which a labor union seeks to represent. Recent decisions by the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) have raised employers’ concerns that unions will focus organizational efforts on such small groups, or “units” of employees. Smaller units often are easier for a union to organize; if the union is successful in convincing a small unit to choose union representation, the employer will face bargaining with one or more unions over small portions of its workforce, creating numerous operational inefficiencies at the very least. Continue Reading