• An National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge determined that Dresser-Rand violated the National Labor Relations Act when it instituted a lockout of striking employees, but continued to operate its facility with temporary and permanent replacement workers. After an extended strike by the International Union of Electronic Workers-Communication Workers of America Local 313, Dresser-Rand lawfully hired permanent replacement workers. When the parties were still unable to resolve their dispute, Dresser-Rand properly exercised its right to institute a lockout. The ALJ, however, found that Dresser-Rand’s exclusion of replacement workers from the lockout demonstrated that its motivation for the lockout was anti-union animus and thus a violation of the NLRA. The ALJ’s recommended order requires Dresser Rand to make striking employees whole by providing back pay to all employees who were unlawfully locked out.
  • The Fifth Circuit determined that portions of the City of Houston’s restrictions on holding outdoor events violate the First Amendment. The SEIU challenged Houston’s ordinances after the city declined some of the SEIU’s applications to hold parades and other gatherings. The Fifth Circuit struck down as unconstitutional some of the city’s ordinances, including a restriction on allowing only two permits for the same location during a 30-day period; restrictions on weekday parades in the downtown area except from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.; and the parks ordinance which fails to define “public gathering” and fails to designate which park areas require permits.
  • After AT&T voluntarily recognized the Communications Workers of America as the official representative for its employees at a newly-acquired facility, an NLRB Regional Director mandated a decertification election among the employees. The NLRB director found that AT&T did not provide its employees with proper Dana notice, a 45-day period during which employees may file a petition for a board conducted election. While AT&T argued that it had provided its employees with proper notice, one employee alleged that he saw no notices regarding AT&T’s voluntary recognition and, according to the NLRB decision, AT&T presented no evidence to the contrary. As a result of AT&T’s failure to provide its employees with proper Dana notice, the ALJ ordered a decertification election.
  • The Fourth Circuit held that the NLRA does not preempt breach of fiduciary duty claims based upon Maryland state law. Plaintiffs, retirees of a Chrysler assembly plant, brought suit against the UAW alleging, inter alia, that the UAW breached its fiduciary duty when it informed retirees that the UAW would not reach a workforce reduction program with Chrysler. Based upon the UAW’s representations, plaintiffs allege that they retired from Chrysler only to learn that two weeks after their retirement, Chrysler announced it was instituting a workforce reduction package. The UAW argued that plaintiffs’ breach of fiduciary duty claims were preempted by Section 9(a) of the NLRA. The Fourth Circuit rejected the UAW’s argument, holding that “Section 9(a) simply does not reveal an intent to always foreclose state law claims for breach of fiduciary duty arising solely on the basis of union membership.” The court directed the district court to send the case to Maryland state court for resolution.
  • Ten days before a decertification election at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, the SEIU mailed “supersized” refund checks to more than a quarter of the bargaining union for alleged over-deducted union dues. Earlier that year, the SEIU and Good Samaritan Hospital had entered into a good faith agreement to recalculate union dues deducted from employees paychecks because employees believed they were being overcharged. The employer was in the process of calculating the amount of refunds owed to the employees when the SEIU mailed employees refund checks for amounts substantially higher than what was actually owed the employees. An ALJ determined that mailing oversized refund checks during a critical period before the decertification election was an interference with employees’ electoral choice and therefore a violation of the NLRA. The ALJ ordered a new decertification election to take place.
  • The Third Circuit held that Rite Aid was not required to arbitrate grievances over its refusal to allow the UFCW to organize at its newly acquired stores. Rite Aid and the UFCW had entered into collective bargaining agreements covering all of Rite Aid’s Pennsylvania stores. When Rite Aid acquired new stores within Pennsylvania, the UFCW sought to organize at these stores. Rite Aid refused the UFCW’s request to organize the employees at its newly-acquired facilities and the UFCW filed grievances and a demand for arbitration. Rite Aid denied the grievances and instead sought a declaratory judgment in federal court determining the arbitrability of the union’s grievances. The Third Circuit determined that the parties collective bargaining agreements did not cover any newly acquired Rite Aid stores and therefore Rite Aid was not mandated to arbitrate the union’s grievance.
  • A federal judge rejected Iowa Governor Chet Culver’s attempt to intervene in a labor dispute between a grain processing firm and the UFCW. Governor Culver sought to invoke Iowa state law to compel the parties to submit to mandatory arbitration. The parties objected and filed a motion for an injunction in federal court alleging that the NLRA preempted Iowa state law and prohibited the governor from interfering in the parties’ dispute. The judge agreed with plaintiffs and issued an injunction prohibiting Governor Culver from intervening in the parties’ dispute on the basis that the Iowa state law was preempted by the NLRA.