The NLRB asked for public input on whether it should overturn a 2014 decision, Purple Communications, which requires businesses to allow workers to use company email for organizing purposes. This comes as a federal appeals court is reviewing a challenge to the decision in Las Vegas, Nev. brought against Caesars Resorts Casino.
NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb directed agency lawyers to not object when a worker petitions to decertify a union that wants to intervene in a related unfair labor practice case. Unions often file unfair labor practice charges against a business when a worker petitions to decertify it as a strategy to delay the decertification election. The NLRB’s new policy now permits the decertification petitioner to participate in any unfair labor practice charge process; previously, they were not considered a party in these types of proceedings.
The NLRB announced it will downsize, offering early retirement packages and buyouts to certain agency employees, citing budget constraints. The House Appropriations Committee recently advanced a budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 that would cut the agency’s funding by 5 percent to $261.3 million.
Missouri voters rejected a right-to-work law that was previously signed into law in 2017 by Missouri’s then-governor Eric Greitens. While right-to-work laws vary by state, in general they bar provisions in collective bargaining agreements that make joining a union or paying dues a condition of employment.
The NLRB published informal guidance letters written by its in-house attorneys, including memos reaffirming that workers’ Weingarten rights kick in immediately after voting in a union. The Board also released a memo stating that Latino workers who took part in a pro-immigration protest were protected under federal labor law. The workers, who had previously complained they were paid less than non-Latino workers, were fired after skipping work on February 16, 2017, to take part in A Day Without Immigrants. The Board held that the NLRA protects concerted activities for “mutual aid or protection” and the workers’ protest was tied to their specific concerns at their workplace.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R) vetoed two bills that would have opened collective bargaining and health benefits to a wider group of Illinois paramedics, describing the legislation as tools of “political corruption” between union leaders and elected officials. HB 126 would have amended the definition of “firefighter” to include paramedics employed by a unit of local government under Illinois Public Labor Relations Act and HB 127 sought to expand definition of “firefighter” to include paramedics and emergency medical technicians employed by a local unit of government under the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act, which provides health insurance to firefighters and police officers injured or killed in the line of duty. Governor Rauner said both bills were unfunded mandates on local governments. Governor Rauner also vetoed a bill that would have defined most graduate students at Illinois universities as “educational employees” under the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act, and would have given them the right to join unions and bargain.
On August 27, NLRB Board Member Mark Gaston Pearce was renominated by President Trump for another Board term. Pearce was appointed by President Obama in 2010 and served as chairman from mid-2011, until January 2017. His renomination is in keeping with tradition that reserves three seats for the President’s political party and two seats for the minority.