• In a 2-1 decision, the National Labor Relations Board decided that Parexel International LLC, a pharmaceutical research company that fired a licensed practical nurse in a “preemptive strike,” in an effort to keep her from discussing perceived wage discrimination or favoritism with fellow employees, violated Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act. In so holding, the Board reversed the Administrative Law Judge, who found that the employee had not engaged in protected concerted activity before her discharge where there was no evidence that she had met with other employees to confer about wage favoritism and where there was no evidence that any employees had asked her to raise the issue of wage favoritism. Parexal International, LLC.
  • In a 2-1 decision, the NLRB ruled in favor of a UAW local, finding the OGS Technologies Inc., a Connecticut button manufacturer, engaged in unfair labor practices when it removed recently reclassified die engineers from the bargaining unit without first bargaining with the union over this subject. The Board also found that OGS violated the NLRA when it changed its manufacturing operations by unilaterally deciding to outsource die making to subcontractors which resulted in the termination of one and reassignment of another die engineer. OGS´ argument that its decision to engage subcontractors who could provide laser and computer technologies was an entrepreneurial decision not requiring collective bargaining was rejected by the majority. The Board ordered OGS to reinstate employees laid off as a result of these changes and pay back pay going back to March 2000, among other things. O.G.S. Techs Inc.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the NLRB must “fashion evidentiary rules” to allow cross-examination of employees who apply for back pay regarding their immigration status. The Second Circuit held that the NLRB should have required the Administrative Law Judge to reconsider his ruling that an employer could not question employees in a back pay hearing regarding immigration-related issues and that the employer could not provide testimony of an immigration expert. NLRB v. Domsey Trading Corp.
  • A civil rights lawsuit was filed by Sal Rosselli, current head of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, and five other individuals which alleges that the SEIU´s United Healthcare Workers harassed and threatened them and that the union has a “policy and practice of utilizing physical intimidation against those in the labor movement who they consider to be ‘enemies.’” Rosselli is the former president of the union. He was asked to leave in 2009 after being accused of misusing funds. The complaint, filed in California Superior Court, alleges that the union engaged in improper conduct both prior to and after his departure from the union´s top position. Rosselli, et al v. Service Employees International Union, et al.
  • Rohm & Haas Co.´s attempt to vacate an arbitrator´s award in favor of a former water treatment plant worker on the grounds that the award violated public policies against violence in the workplace and employment discrimination was rejected by a federal court in Pennsylvania. The issue leading up to the arbitration arose after the employee´s supervisor reported the worker had made statements that the supervisor perceived as threatening. Following an investigation, the employee was fired, and the union grieved the discharge as being without just cause. The arbitrator sided with the union and the employer filed an action in federal court to vacate the award based on the fact that there was evidence that, in the workplace, the plant worker had allegedly discussed acts of violence, showed a knife to a co-worker while simultaneously telling the co-worker that he had friends who could “take care of” his supervisor, and called his supervisor, who was of Indian descent, “boy.” Rohm & Haas Co. v. United Steel, Paper & Forestry, Rubber, Mfg., Energy, Allied-Indus, and Serv. Workers Int´l Union.
  • An NLRB ALJ found that the Air Line Pilots Association, International violated the NLRA by committing unfair labor practices against its own workers. The ALJ found that the union illegally conducted employee layoffs and unilaterally imposed changed pay, fringe benefits, and work rules on its workers where no impasse in bargaining had been reached. Air Line Pilots Association, International.
  • In a 3-1 decision, the NLRB ruled that a union which displayed stationary banners at 19 locations did not commit an unfair labor practice in violation of Sections 8(b)(4)(i)(B) and 8(b)(4)(ii)(B) of the NLRA where, at a neutral employer´s construction site, union agents displayed banners announcing a “labor dispute” and which stated “shame on” the neutral employer. The Board affirmed the ALJ´s decision which found that the banners did not amount to signal picketing that induced or encouraged employees of neutral employers to cease work nor did they constitute a threat, coercion, or restraint of a neutral employer. Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters (New Star General Contractors, Inc.).
  • The NLRB and American Medical Response of Connecticut Inc. settled a case brought by the NLRB in October 2010, which alleged that the company illegally terminated an employee for posting critical comments about her supervisor on her Facebook page after the supervisor allegedly refused to allow the employee to have union representation during a performance related investigation. The settlement between the NLRB and AMR provides that the company will revise its Internet policy to permit employees to discuss wages, hours, and working conditions outside of the workplace and by changing union representation procedures.