The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled the NLRB had sufficient evidence to decide that a Florida auto dealer committed unfair labor practices before and after an election, in which its service technicians voted for representation by the IAM. The circuit court affirmed that Contemporary Cars Inc. acted inappropriately by interrogating employees about their union sympathies, engaging in surveillance of union activities, soliciting grievances from employees, and disciplining employees as a result of their union activity. The court further found that the company made unlawful unilateral changes to employment conditions and laid off employees without providing notice to the union. Contemporary Cars, Inc. v. NLRB.

A federal district court in Arizona granted the NLRB a preliminary injunction, under Section 10(j) of the NLRA against Shamrock Foods, a food distributor based in Phoenix, Ariz., preventing the company from illegally firing, warning, and threating employees who participate in Bakery, Confectionery, and Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTWGM) union activities. More specifically, the injunction was predicated on unfair labor practice charges, alleging that the company fired one employee, and warned another about engaging in union or other protected concerted activities. The federal district court found that there was reasonable cause to believe the NLRB will sustain the allegations and therefore, a preliminary injunction was appropriate. Overstreet v. Shamrock Foods Co.

The NLRB found, in a divided opinion, that Waffle House Inc. violated the NLRA by maintaining a mandatory arbitration agreement requiring employees, as a condition of employment, to waive their rights to maintain class or collective actions in all forums, whether arbitral or judicial. The NLRB majority rejected the company’s argument that its agreement was lawful because it permitted employees to file charges with administrative agencies, including with the NLRB. The NLRB majority further rejected the company’s argument that its arbitration agreement was voluntary because employees could seek employment with an employer that does not mandate individual arbitration as a condition of employment. Waffle House Inc.

The NLRB affirmed an ALJ’s findings that Samsung violated the NLRA by maintaining and enforcing an arbitration agreement requiring employees, as a condition of employment, to waive their rights to pursue class or collective actions involving employment-related claims in all forums, whether arbitral or judicial. The NLRB dismissed additional allegations that the company unlawfully instructed an employee not to discuss her lawsuit with other employees and unlawfully interrogated another employee about her protected, concerted activity. Samsung Electronics America Inc. f/k/a Samsung Telecommunications America LLC and Jorgie Franks.

The NLRB concluded a satellite television retailer based in Michigan violated the NLRA by requiring employees to sign arbitration agreements that prevented the employees from bringing class and collective action. Alternative Entertainment Inc. and James DeCommer.

A split NLRB ruled that employers and unions are prohibited from having mass representation campaign meetings within 24 hours of ballots being mailed for mail-ballot elections. The decision overruled the 50-year-old standard for allowing mass representation meetings up to 24 hours after the ballots were mailed. Guardsmark LLC and International Union, Security, Police, and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA).

A federal district judge in Kentucky granted summary judgment to nine unions, finding that the NLRA preempts county right-to-work ordinances, banning the use of union-security agreements between employers and unions, and regulating other practices that are either permitted or prohibited by federal law. The court stated, “the primary question presented by this lawsuit is whether a right-to-work law may be enacted solely by a state or territorial government, or whether a local government – in this case a county – may pass a law prohibiting union security agreements…Because the court finds that local regulation of union-security agreements is preempted by the NLRA, the right-to-work ordinance at issue here is invalid.” United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America et al v. Hardin County, Kentucky et al.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that the NLRB was wrong for allowing stagehands to hold a representation election with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees because the stagehands were independent contractors. The NLRB found that the stagehands were employees of Crew One Productions Inc., a referral service. However, the circuit court found that the company had no control over the stagehands and merely referred them to event producers, who then paid Crew One for the hours worked. Crew One Prods., Inc. v. NLRB.

Affirming the NLRB, the D.C. Circuit ruled that Alden Leeds, Inc. impermissibly locked out employees during collective bargaining negotiations last year. The circuit court determined that an email from Alden Leeds to the UFCW, which Alden Leeds claimed was an offer, was too confusing to be the basis for a valid lockout because there was no clearly proposed health care plan. The locked out employees will be eligible for up to 8 months in back pay, which could total $2 million. Alden Leeds Inc. v. NLRB et al.

A federal court for the Central District of California declined to dismiss a former employee’s class action claim against Kellogg Brown & Root, LLC. The employee had signed an arbitration agreement containing a class action waiver. The court’s decision is in line with the NLRB’s position that agreements purporting to waive an employee’s right to bring a class or collective action are unenforceable as violations of the NLRA. However, the Fifth Circuit has previously ruled that such agreements are enforceable and do not violate federal law. Totten v. Kellogg Brown & Root, LLC.

According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, a Massachusetts state law that allows bargaining between a state agency and a union but does not require child care providers to join the union or make contributions, does not violate the nonmember providers’ First Amendment rights. The child care providers, who are not members of SEIU Local 509, claimed that the bargaining system on its face violated their constitutional rights of association and free expression. However, the First Circuit found that nonmembers, who retain the right to present grievances directly to their public employer and may speak publicly outside the union, could not establish that giving an elected union the right to bargain for public employees violated their rights under the First Amendment. D’Agostino v. Baker.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held the NLRB failed to correctly consider the defenses of a masonry contractor charged with unlawfully repudiating a collective bargaining agreement with an International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) local. The local had filed several grievances claiming the contractor violated the rights of IUOE members under a multiemployer collective bargaining agreement. The company claimed that the union should withdraw pending grievances, and that it need not negotiate with the union because it employed only a single IOUE-represented employee. The NLRB found the contractor did not prove the single-employee unit defense and sustained findings of unfair labor practices. The Eighth Circuit, however, found that NLRB cases have recognized that an employer need not negotiate with a union concerning a bargaining unit that consists of only one employee if the single-employee unit is stable and not merely temporary. The court further determined that once the contractor raised the single-employee unit defense, the burden was on the NLRB, not the contractor, to provide evidence proving the absence of a stable single-employee unit. NLRB v. Seedorff Masonry, Inc.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania found that Allegheny Ludlum, LLC, was not required to arbitrate with the USW to settle an ongoing dispute regarding the termination of health insurance benefits. The court found that an unwritten insurance agreement did not fall within the parameters of the collective bargaining agreement, and was therefore not appropriate for arbitration. Steelworkers, AFL-CIO v. Allegheny Ludlum, LLC.

An NLRB ALJ found that EYM King of Missouri LLC violated sections 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(3) of the NLRA when it refused to rehire a Burger King employee who led a, “Fight for $15” campaign in Kansas City, Mo. The ALJ found the decision to not rehire the employee was discriminatory, and that issuing written disciplinary notices to other employees that took part in the campaign also violated the NLRA. EYM King of Mo. LLC, d/b/a Burger King.

The NLRB held that lieutenants working for a security contractor at a South Carolina nuclear facility were not supervisors under the NLRA. According to the NLRB, the employer failed to show that the lieutenants held authority to engage in supervisory functions, that their exercise of alleged supervisory authority required independent judgment, or that such alleged authority was held for WSI’s interest. Government Solutions Inc., d/b/a WSI Savannah River Site a/k/a WSI-SRS and International Guards Union of Americ.

A split NLRB ruled that a hotel management company violated the NLRA when it subcontracted housekeeping work to a group of employees, then refused to rehire the employees after the subcontract was terminated. The Board majority determined that the outsourcing of work at a Hauppauge, N.Y., hotel was motivated by the employees’ activity on behalf of a labor union. The Board also found that when the subcontractor terminated the arrangement, the company illegally refused to rehire more than 30 employees and replaced them with an entirely new group of workers. Remington Lodging & Hospitality, LLC.

A contract between the Cement League and the New York City and Vicinity District Council violated federal labor laws because it required that every non-union member hired must be supplemented with a union member hire. An NLRB panel found that the Cement League unlawfully maintained the collective bargaining contract where the provisions gave preference in hiring to union members, concluding that the contractual “full mobility” hiring provisions did not have anti-corruption purposes. Cement League and Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters and New York City and Vicinity District Council of Carpenters.

The NLRB issued two rulings preventing prehearing motions challenging unfair labor practices from being heard. Both rulings were split decisions and highlighted disputes among Board members as to when such prehearing disputes should be resolved. Board member Philip A. Miscimarra, dissenting in both actions, wrote that the motions raised factual issues that arguably should have been resolved despite the motions being denied. Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The National Mediation Board (NMB) rejected the IBT’s bid for a representation election among 91 Corvus Aviation pilots, finding that Corvus is part of Ravn Air Group. Ravn, based in Anchorage, Alaska, owns and operates Corvus along with two other airlines. The Teamsters argued that the three airlines have different Federal Aviation Administration operating certificates, and that differences in working conditions among the pilots preclude a single-system finding. Ravn argued that it is a single transportation system with substantial integration of operations, financial control, labor, and personnel functions. The NMB also found the Teamsters’ bid for representation deficient because an insufficient amount of authorization cards were submitted. Ravn Air Group.

Overruling the NLRB, the Eight Circuit ruled that ConAgra Foods Inc. acted legally when it disciplined an employee for commenting on union cards during work time. The circuit court drew a line between solicitation, which can be prohibited even when it is non-disruptive and brief, and other speech that cannot be punished unless production was interrupted. Here, the employee’s brief mention of union cards was determined to be part of a larger effort to get signatures, which violated ConAgra’s lawful rule against solicitation. ConAgra Foods, Inc. v. NLRB.

The D.C. Circuit ordered the NLRB to re-decide whether local broadcast and technical labor groups at NBCUniversal Media LLC should be combined into one national bargaining unit. The court was unable to determine the basis for the original NLRB decision to combine the groups, and therefore requested that the NLRB clarify its reasoning for authorizing a combination of several local broadcast and technical worker labor groups. NBCUniversal Media LLC v. NLRB.

The NMB dismissed the American Train Dispatchers Association’s application for union representation. The NMB found that the Southern California Regional Rail Authority is exempt from the Railway Labor Act (RLA) because it is an intrastate electrified railroad line that is not controlled by an interstate carrier. S. Cal. Reg’l Rail Auth.

A Federal Labor Relations Authority judge ruled that the NLRB failed to satisfy its bargaining obligation with the union representing the agency’s employees regarding the details of an office relocation in Washington D.C. The NLRB erred by cutting off negotiations regarding various issues of the move, such as the use of office furniture. The ruling stated that the NLRB must return to the bargaining table and post a notice regarding the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute at all its locations. National Labor Relations Board v. Nation Labor Relations Union.

The Fifth Circuit ruled a Louisiana utility company acted illegally by unilaterally reclassifying employees as supervisors during the contract term, regardless of whether the employees could properly be deemed supervisors. The circuit court concluded that the reclassification itself was irrelevant inasmuch as the company’s unilateral removal of those classifications from the bargaining unit during the term of the contract violated the NLRA. Dixie Elec. Membership Corp. v. NLRB.

The Seventh Circuit ruled that AutoNation Inc. must reinstate and award back pay to technicians it laid off in Florida during the recession in 2008. The circuit court ruled that the layoffs were improper, in part, because they were made without negotiating with the union. The court determined that dire economic circumstances were not an excuse for the layoffs at a Florida Mercedes-Benz dealership. Instead, the court affirmed the NLRB’s conclusion that the workers were let go improperly, either because they had worked to organize a unionizing effort or, after the union vote, without any negotiating with the union. Cotemporary Cars Inc. et al. v. NLRB.

The NLRB approved a settlement between Tesoro Corp. and the USW, resolving issues arising from unfair labor practice accusations stemming from a strike in 2015. Tesoro will pay $8.08 million in compensation to 769 workers from facilities in Anacortes, Washington, and Carson, Calif.