On April 6, NLRB General Counsel Richard F. Griffin, Jr. issued a lengthy guidance memorandum intended to explain modifications to the representation case processing procedures under the Board’s Final Rule, adopted in December 2014. The General Counsel’s guidance covers how representation cases will be processed from beginning to end, incorporating both the Final Rule changes and the procedures that remain unchanged. The Board’s Final Rule went into effect on April 14, 2015, and applies to representation cases filed on or after that date. Significantly, the General Counsel notes in the guidance that neither the Final Rule nor the memorandum “establishes new time frames for conducting elections or issuing decisions.” Rather, he states that the Board will not be able to fully assess the Final Rule’s impact on the overall timing of elections until after the Board accumulates some experience processing representation petitions under the Final Rule. The General Counsel instructs that “Regions should continue to process representation petitions and conduct elections expeditiously, consistent with the Board’s Rules,” and that where any inconsistencies exist, his Guidance Memorandum “supersedes the instructions in the Agency’s manuals and other guidance, which will be updated in the near future.”
Republican leaders of taxwriting committees said that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) should look into the taxexempt status of organizations known as worker centers that are classified as charities but may be operating more as labor unions. In a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (RUtah) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan (RWis.) questioned whether the tax code Section 501(c)(3) status of some worker centers should be changed to labor union under Section 501(c)(5). The Labor Department also has been asked, by another committee, to review worker centers’ filing requirements to see whether certain centers are engaging in traditional union activities, such as conducting labor disputes and negotiating with employers on behalf of employees.
Native American leaders told a Senate panel that legislation to prevent the NLRB from acting in tribal employment matters is needed to preserve tribes’ sovereignty and protect their gaming operations. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs heard testimony on The Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act of 2015, S. 248, which would amend the NLRA to exempt enterprises owned and operated by an Indian tribe and located on its lands, from the law because they would no longer be considered an employer.