Senator, and Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), along with Representative Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), introduced proposed legislation, the Workplace Democracy Act, making it easier for workers to form unions. Specifically, the legislation requires employers to negotiate union representation within 10 days after receiving a request and compels binding arbitration where an agreement is not reached within 90 days.
Speaking at the White House Summit on Worker Voice, President Obama urged Congress to pass the Workplace Action for a Growing Family Act, which would amend the NLRA to, among other things, enhance remedies for workers disciplined for union organizing and give workers the right to sue their employers in federal court.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
The Pennsylvania senate approved a bill ensuring that public employee union dues that are automatically deducted from employee paychecks are not used to fund political operations. The legislation is still pending.
The National Mediation Board (NMB), which adjudicates union representation, collective bargaining, and other labor disputes in the airline and railroad industries, adopted several revisions to its representation election procedures, effective October 19, 2015. Specifically, the NMB adopted a procedure that failure by an employer to provide an accurate voter list “may be considered interference with the Board’s election process and constitute grounds for setting aside an election.” Another revision to the procedures clarifies the process for validating employee signatures.
Richard F. Griffin, General Counsel of the NLRB, revised his September guidance memorandum on the submission of electronic signatures as a “showing of interest” in representation elections to include examples of declarations and confirmations to be used by labor organizations when submitting electronic signatures to the NLRB. The revised memorandum is available here.
The Pennsylvania House passed H.B. 874 amending Pennsylvania criminal law on harassment and stalking to remove an exemption for “conduct by a party to a labor dispute.” The bill eliminates a loophole in Pennsylvania criminal law that has prevented law enforcement from intervening in harassment, stalking, and threat situations if the perpetrator is a party to a labor dispute. The bill has been sent to the Governor, but it is unclear if he will sign it.
The House Education and the Workforce Committee approved the Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act amending the NLRA and limiting findings that two or more organizations are joint employers to situations where the organizations “share and exercise control over essential terms and conditions of employment and such control over these matters is actual, direct, and immediate.”
The NLRB will close its Des Moines, Iowa office on November 30, 2015. The NLRB’s Minneapolis and Milwaukee offices will handle the work in Des Moines on an as-needed basis.