National Labor Relations Board

NLRB Issues Final Rule Expanding Joint Employer Status

November 6, 2023

By Kali R. Schreiner

On October 27, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a final rule that vastly expands the definition of joint employment under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). As we reported previously, this new rule rescinds and replaces the 2020 focus on “direct and immediate control” with a less-demanding standard intended to expressly ground the joint-employer rule in common-law agency principles.

Read More >> NLRB Issues Final Rule Expanding Joint Employer Status

NLRB Further Erodes Employer Rights and Promotes Unionization

September 1, 2023

By Raymond J. Pascucci and Thomas G. Eron

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continues to drastically change the law and tilt the playing field against employers and in favor of labor unions. Last week, the Biden NLRB issued new rules governing the unionization process that mark a return to the “quickie elections” from the Obama era. This week the NLRB issued a landmark decision in Cemex Construction Materials Pacific (372 NLRB No. 130) that seriously undermines both employer and employee rights by disfavoring secret ballot elections.

Read More >> NLRB Further Erodes Employer Rights and Promotes Unionization

NLRB Restores Expedited Union Election Procedures

August 31, 2023

By Nicholas P. Jacobson

On Aug. 25, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published a final rule regarding election proceedings. In issuing the rule, the NLRB reinstated election procedures it issued in 2014. These procedures shorten the union election and certification processes and reinstate what have been termed “ambush” elections. In 2019 the NLRB issued a rule replacing many of the provisions of the 2014 rule, but several of the provisions of the 2019 rule were invalidated in AFL-CIO v. NLRB, 57 F.4th 1023 (D.C. Cir. 2023). The NLRB’s latest rule rescinded additional provisions of the 2019 rule. Specifically, the NLRB’s new rule implements the following:

Read More >> NLRB Restores Expedited Union Election Procedures

NLRB Adopts New Legal Standard for Evaluating Employer Work Rules

August 8, 2023

By Pamela S. Silverblatt and Gianelle M. Duby

On August 2, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) issued its decision in Stericycle, Inc., 372 NLRB No. 113 (2023), where it adopted a new legal standard to determine whether an employers’ work rules violate Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The Board’s decision overrules existing precedent and establishes a more stringent test that is likely to render some existing work rules facially unlawful.

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Conflicting NLRB Stances Create Employer Compliance Plight

July 28, 2023

By Alice B. Stock

The following article by Bond attorney Alice Stock was published by Law360

Can an employer give employees a wage increase or benefits improvement during a union organizing campaign or while negotiating a first collective bargaining agreement after a union has won an election? At present, in most situations, it will be unlawful for an employer to do so.

Read More >> Conflicting NLRB Stances Create Employer Compliance Plight

The National Labor Relations Board: The Show Must Go On, But With a New Independent Contractor Test

June 20, 2023

By Paul J. Buehler III

On June 13, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (the Board), in its decision in the Atlanta Opera, Inc,[1] brought back for an encore, its 2014 FedEx II[2] standard for determining independent contractor status under the National Labor Relations Act (the Act). In doing so, the Board overruled and closed the curtains on its 2019 SuperShuttle[3] decision, bringing back a pro-employee standard for determining whether workers are employees covered under the Act or independent contractors not subject to the Act’s protections.

Read More >> The National Labor Relations Board: The Show Must Go On, But With a New Independent Contractor Test

NLRB Returns to Setting-Specific Standards for Employee Misconduct Occurring in the Course of Protected Activity

June 2, 2023

By Hannah K. Redmond and Jacqueline E. Zahn

In a recent decision, the National Labor Relations Board (the Board) returned to its earlier precedent “applying setting-specific standards” in cases involving employees who are disciplined for misconduct that occurs during activity otherwise protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The Board announced its return to the “traditional standards” earlier this month in Lion Elastomers LCC II.[1]

Read More >> NLRB Returns to Setting-Specific Standards for Employee Misconduct Occurring in the Course of Protected Activity

NLRB General Counsel Issues Sweeping Challenge to Non-Compete Agreements

June 1, 2023

By Thomas G. Eron and Pamela S. Silverblatt

On May 30, 2023 the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) General Counsel issued a memorandum advancing the position that non-compete agreements between employers and employees, which limit employees from accepting certain jobs at the end of their employment, interfere with employees’ rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (the Act). The memo, which is the latest pronouncement in an aggressive agenda to curtail established management practices, and expand the reach of the Act, directs the NLRB’s regional staff to begin enforcement of this novel, expansive interpretation of the law.

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NLRB General Counsel Releases Guidance on Board’s McLaren Macomb Decision

April 4, 2023

By Gianelle M. Duby

On Feb. 21, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (the Board) ruled in McLaren Macomb, 372 NLRB No. 58, that the mere proffer of a draft severance agreement containing broad confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). You can read our prior blog post outlining the details of the Board’s decision here.

Read More >> NLRB General Counsel Releases Guidance on Board’s McLaren Macomb Decision

The NLRB’s Latest Decision Restricts the Use of Broad Confidentiality and Nondisparagement Clauses in Severance Agreements

March 7, 2023

By Peter A. Jones and Gianelle M. Duby

On Feb. 21, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) issued its decision in McLaren Macomb, 372 NLRB No. 58 (2023), where it held that severance agreements with broad confidentiality and/or nondisparagement provisions impermissibly chill and restrain employees’ exercise of rights protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The decision applies in both union and non-union workplaces. The decision is significant in that it overruled prior Board precedent and signals the Board’s unwillingness to enforce or otherwise accept severance agreements, or key provisions of those agreements, that bind signatory employees’ confidentiality and nondisparagement obligations that the Board considers to be too broad. The Board’s decision would not apply to supervisors, managers, or individuals not otherwise subject to Section 7 of the NLRA.

Read More >> The NLRB’s Latest Decision Restricts the Use of Broad Confidentiality and Nondisparagement Clauses in Severance Agreements

NLRB Asserts Employment Protections for Student-Athletes and Seeks to Hold the University of Southern California, Pac-12 Conference and NCAA Liable

December 20, 2022

By Peter A. Jones, Thomas G. Eron, and Richard J. Evrard

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel has issued a complaint against the University of Southern California (USC), the Pac-12 Conference and the NCAA claiming that certain USC student-athletes are employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and that the conference and the NCAA, along with the university, can be held jointly responsible employers for the treatment of those students under the law. This NLRB litigation portends fundamental consequences for private college and university athletic programs.

Read More >> NLRB Asserts Employment Protections for Student-Athletes and Seeks to Hold the University of Southern California, Pac-12 Conference and NCAA Liable

NLRB Restores Obama-Era Bargaining Unit Test

December 16, 2022

By Peter H. Wiltenburg

On Dec. 14, 2022, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) issued a decision that (again) modifies its standard for bargaining-unit determination cases where a labor union seeks to represent a unit that contains some, but not all, of the job classifications at a particular workplace. The decision, in American Steel Construction, Inc., revives the Board’s prior test governing such determinations set forth in Specialty Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center of Mobile, 357 NLRB 934 (2011), which was overruled in PCC Structurals, 365 NLRB No. 160 (2017), and The Boeing Co., 368 NLRB No. 67 (2019).

In its 2011 Specialty Healthcare decision, the Board identified the elements to be satisfied if the proposed union was to be recognized. Among these were that the unit is “sufficiently distinct.” If a party contested the petitioned-for unit on this ground – thereby arguing that certain employees not included in the proposed unit should have been – it would bear the burden of proving that there was an “overwhelming community of interest” between the petitioned-for employees and excluded employees in order to add the excluded employees to the petitioned-for unit. This was a difficult standard for employers to meet and widely recognized as a boon for union organizing.  In the wake of Specialty Healthcare, unusual “microunits” were organized, including cosmetic and fragrance counter employees at a Macy’s department store.  

In its 2017 PCC Structurals decision, the Board overruled Specialty Healthcare and adopted a different test for the “sufficiently distinct” element: instead of the “overwhelming community of interest” test, the Board adopted a test whereby “the interests of those within the proposed unit and the shared and distinct interests of those excluded from that unit must be comparatively analyzed and weighed.” This test therefore removed the burden from the employer challenging the composition of the unit and instituted a balancing test that did not explicitly begin with deference to the petitioned-for unit. The test gave employers far greater ability to oppose recognition of a unit consisting of some, but not all, of the employees within their workplace.  

This week’s decision in American Steel expressly overrules PCC Structurals and Boeing and reinstates the “overwhelming community of interest” standard of Specialty Healthcare. The Board elaborated that this means that when there are only “minimal differences, from the perspective of collective bargaining… then an overwhelming community of interest exists, and that classification must be included in the unit.” The Board indicated that meeting this standard would be akin to showing that “there is no rational basis for the exclusion.” So long as the petitioned-for unit consists of a clearly identifiable group of employees with a shared “community of interest,” the Board will presume the unit to be appropriate. The impact of this decision is to again empower unions and employees to organize along narrower lines of job classification. Even prior to American Steel, employers have seen a significant uptick in organizing activity in the last several years. This decision will likely further invigorate unions to again focus on “micro units” as a path to organizing workplaces, and employers again face the prospects of multiple distinct bargaining units among their employees.

If you have any questions or would like additional information regarding this decision, or other legal developments, please contact Peter Wiltenburg or any attorney in Bond’s labor and employment practice.