• The National Labor Relations Board found that FedEx had unlawfully refused to bargain with the Teamsters since it was certified in May, three years after FedEx Home Delivery drivers voted for representation. After the May 2007 election, FedEx challenged the elections results, arguing that the drivers were independent contractors rather than employees. After proceedings before an Administrative Law Judge and the Board, the Board upheld the results of the election and certified the union. The company continued to challenge the validity of the bargaining unit, but the Board held in its October 2010 decision that those contentions had already been raised and rejected, and could not be re-litigated. FedEx Home Delivery, 356 N.L.R.B. No. 10.
  • After the NLRB determined that the Wilshire Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles had unlawfully declared an impasse during bargaining with UNITE HERE Local 11 and unlawfully made unilateral changes to employment terms and conditions, the hotel agreed to pay $1.3 million to individuals and the union health and welfare funds. An administrative law judge had found that the hotel had engaged in “extensive and pervasive” unlawful acts before it declared an impasse, including refusing to furnish relevant information. The Board agreed, finding that the refusal to provide information indicated that the hotel failed to bargain in good faith, and that the hotel’s refusal to provide information and failure to make payments to the health and welfare funds for the benefit of the employees indicated that the parties had not reached a good-faith impasse. Majestic Towers d/b/a Wilshire Plaza Hotel, NLRB, No. 31-CA-28135.
  • The NLRB Regional Director in Seattle directed a decertification election among employees at Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. who are currently represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers union after both parties failed to comply with the notice requirements laid out by the Board in its 2007 decision in Dana Corp., 351 NLRB 434 (2007). After Tyson voluntarily recognized the union and the members ratified a contract, the parties were required to alert the Board and post a notice describing the workers’ rights. Their failure to do so meant that decertification petitions could not be blocked “for a reasonable period of time” under Dana. Tyson Fresh Meats Inc., N.L.R.B. Reg. Dir., No. 19-RD-3873.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that Anheuser-Busch Inc. may not be compelled to arbitrate a dispute with the Teamsters regarding the impact that seniority rights have on an employee’s pension benefits. In a 2-1 decision the court found that the collective bargaining agreement between Anheuser-Busch and IBT Local 783 required arbitration of disputes over seniority rights, but contained an exception for disputes over pension benefits, which had to be resolved pursuant to the mechanism in the pension plan itself. The case arose when a former Anheuser-Busch employee, who had gone to work as an elected union official, went back to work at the company for one day to restore his full seniority rights under the contract. He then initiated the process of obtaining his pension benefits. After the administrator for the company’s pension plan refused to recognize his seniority rights, the union sought to arbitrate the dispute, but the company refused. Teamsters Local 783 v. Anheuser-Busch Inc., 6th Cir., No. 09-6065.
  • A federal judge in Chicago dismissed a constitutional challenge to an Illinois state law and two executive orders providing for collective bargaining for home health aides. The suit was brought on behalf of approximately 20,000 home health aides currently represented by the SEIU and 4,000 home health aides who voted to remain unrepresented. Collective bargaining for both of these groups was authorized by executive orders from the Illinois governor. As to the union-represented group, the court rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that compulsory union fees violated their First Amendment rights because the U.S. Supreme Court has held that unions may constitutionally charge dissenting employees for the costs of performing exclusive collective bargaining agent duties. As to the unrepresented group, the court found that the plaintiffs had not shown injury-in-fact, and, therefore, the claims were unripe for adjudication. Harris v. Quinn, N.D. Ill., No. 10 CV 2477.
  • A federal judge ordered Long Island, New York-based Jung Sun Laundry Group, Inc. to reinstate employees who were barred from returning to work after they participated in a three-hour strike to protest the company’s failure to make health and welfare fund payments and cancellation of employees’ health coverage. The judge issued the injunction pending resolution of unfair labor practice charges before the NLRB. In November 2009, when the contract covering 120 employees expired, approximately 40-50 workers picketed outside the company’s facility for about three hours. When they offered to return to work without conditions, they were told they had been fired, witnesses said. An administrative law judge found that the company’s failure to reinstate the employees violated § 8(a)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act. The ALJ also found that Jung Sun violated § 8(a)(5) by failing to make the required health and welfare contributions before the strike. The federal judge found that injunctive relief was appropriate because the company had not, in fact, reinstated all the striking employees. Blyer v. Jung Sun Laundry Grp. Corp., E.D.N.Y., No. 10-cv-2975.