NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin released a memorandum stating that the NLRB plans to pursue injunctions under Section 10(j) of the NLRA to combat unfair labor practices relating to successor employers’ refusal to bargain with unions. Although Section 10(j) injunctions are typically used to preserve the status quo during administrative proceedings, the NLRB has recently worked to expand their scope. Although the expansion of Section 10(j) injunctions could lead to abuse by regional NLRB offices – using the threat of injunctions to induce a quick settlement – the memorandum clarifies that injunctions are only justified in egregious cases where a successor employer uses unfair labor practices to undermine an existing union.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has entered into a cooperation agreement with the NLRB under which OSHA will notify all complainants who file time-barred whistleblower complaints of their rights to file a charge with the NLRB. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) bars retaliation against workers who complain about safety hazards, but has a statute of limitations of only 30 days. Workers may file an unfair labor charge with the NLRB within six months. To fall under the NLRB’s jurisdiction, an OSH Act claim would have to be concerted. View our client briefing, NLRB Continues to Expand Authority Over Labor Disputes, for more details.

The NLRB’s semiannual regulatory agenda identified just one issue—proposed changes in representation case procedures. This issue has been under Board consideration for nearly three years. The changes were initially suggested in June 2011, with a two-member Board majority. In December 2011, two members gave final approval to some of the Board proposals, but in 2012, a federal district court, in Chamber of Commerce v. NLRB, found the action invalid because the Board lacked the necessary quorum of three members. In 2014, the Board agreed to drop an appeal of the court ruling, but issued a new notice of proposed rulemaking with the same changes in the 2011 proposal. View our client briefing, NLRB Proposes Amendments to Union Election Rules, for more details.

House Democrats demanded that U.S. trade negotiators include more worker protections as part of the ongoing trade talks with Vietnam, Mexico, Malaysia, and Brunei. The talks about being held on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would expand the Trans- Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, ratified in 2005, to expand the trade zone to 12 nations. Democrats want the U.S. negotiators to insist on strong, enforceable pans to protect the free association and collective bargaining rights of workers, as well as to ensure safe working conditions and fair wages. 153 House members and all Democrats signed the letter to the U.S. Trade Representative.