• The AFL-CIO will create a “Super PAC” in order to communicate with the general public for the 2012 political elections. The decision to create the Super PAC was in response to Citizens v. FEC, 130 S. Ct. 876 (2010) which struck down restrictions on direct campaign spending by corporations and unions. The Super PAC will continue to make endorsements of candidates but will also focus on a small set of priority races.
  • The Employee Rights Act (S. 1507) aimed at providing protections for workers regarding their right to select or refrain from selecting representation by a labor organization was introduced August 2 in Congress. The bill would mandate secret ballot elections, among other things, to protect workers from coercion and harassment. While the ALF-CIO has opposed the bill, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has not yet provided a formal position.
  • AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka announced that union members and their allies will participate in over 450 events across the country to “hold politicians accountable.” The events will include meetings, fundraisers, and local events, where lawmakers appear, to demand action on jobs as well as to oppose cuts in Medicare and Social Security. Trumka also reiterated the AFL-CIO’s continued opposition to the free trade agreements with Korea, Columbia, and Panama.
  • U.S. Department of Labor issued regulations concerning executive order number 13495, the Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts (Order). The Order mandates that when a service contract expires and a successor contract is awarded for the same or similar services at the same location, that the subsequent contract must include a clause requiring the new contractor and its subcontractors to offer a right-of-first-refusal to work to the old contract’s employees. The rule pertains to federal government service contracts or subcontracts of $150,000 or more. The rule will not take effect until the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council issues its own regulations on the matter.
  • Over 30,000 comments from the pubic were received in response to the NLRB’s recent issuance of proposed rules that would streamline litigation and limit the availability of Board review in representation cases, allowing the Board to conduct representation elections in a shorter time after the filing of a petition for a secret ballot election. Further, the congressional response to the proposal was divided along party lines. Unions, including the Teamsters, SEIU, and Laborers’ International Union, described the proposals as modest while business groups, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Society for Human Resource management argued that the proposals were hastily done and unnecessary. No date has been set for final board action on the proposed rules. Click here for a client briefing summarizing the proposed rules.
  • Lafe Soloman, General Counsel to the NLRB, and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) are engaged in discovery disputes pursuant to a congressional subpoena for documents concerning Boeing. Soloman authorized the issuance of a complaint alleging that Boeing unlawfully established a second assembly line at a nonunion plant in South Carolina to retaliate against union-represented workers in Washington who engaged in lawful strikes. Issa requested documents regarding the Boeing complaint, but Soloman refused to provide some documents based on privilege and because the premature release of documents could compromise the litigation. Issa has not been convinced by Soloman’s arguments and continues to demand the documents. Judicial Watch Inc. has also filed suit against the NLRB for records related to the controversial complaint against Boeing.
  • NLRB Chairwoman Wilma Liebman left the agency at the conclusion of her third term on August 27. The White House designated Gaston Pearce to succeed her as chairman. Since the Senate has not yet acted on President Obama’s nomination of NLRB lawyer Terence Flynn (R), the five-seat NLRB now has just three members. Should the NLRB lose another member, the Board would lose authority to issue rulings according to New Process Steel LP.
  • The NLRB issued a Final Rule effective Nov. 14, 2011, that requires employers to notify employees of their rights under the NLRA. Private-sector employers (including labor organizations) whose workplaces fall under the NLRA will be required to post an employee rights notice at the same location that other workplace notices are typically posted. Additionally, employers who customarily post personnel notices on an internet or intranet site will be required to post the NLRB’s notice electronically on those sites as well. On or before Nov. 1, 2011, the required notice may be obtained from NLRB regional offices or downloaded from the NLRB’s website (www.nlrb.gov).
  • The Acting General Counsel of the NLRB issued a report summarizing recent case developments arising in the context of social media. The cases cover emerging issues such as the protected and/or concerted nature of employees’ Facebook and YouTube postings, the coercive impact of a union’s Facebook and YouTube postings, and the lawfulness of employers’ social media policies and rules. The report also summarized a case involving an employer’s policy restricting employee contacts with the media. Click here to access a client briefing summarizing the report.