The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in a recent Advice Memorandum (NLRB Case No. 13-CA-157467), has effectively ended the closely-watched enforcement action against Northwestern University on whether certain intercollegiate student-athletes are statutory employees for purposes of the National Labor Relations Act.
Second year pro football quarterback and Northwestern University alum, Trevor Siemian is making headlines on the field this season for the Denver Broncos. His alma mater is making headlines off of it in the realm of labor law.
In a 2-1 decision, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (the “Eleventh Circuit”) largely upheld the National Labor Relations Board’s (the “Board”) decision that an automobile manufacturer violated the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”) by 1) maintaining an overly broad rule prohibiting solicitation and distribution and 2) prohibiting employees not on working time from distributing union literature in its mixed-use atrium.
As I mentioned in a recent post, “SEIU Fights Its Own Unionization,” the Service Employees International Union has been behind the push at the National Labor Relations Board to extend joint employer status to franchisors, like McDonald’s (meaning that McDonald’s would be deemed an employer of its franchisees’ employees).
General Counsel’s New Standard On Intermittent Strikes, Another Untenable Position for Manufacturers
On October 3, 2016, the National Labor Relations Board’s (Board) Office of the General Counsel (General Counsel) issued a memorandum seeking to broaden a union’s right to engage in intermittent strikes, which it defines as multiple short-term strikes—“a plan to strike, return to work and strike again.”
In the waning days of the Obama Administration, the President’s appointed General Counsel to the NLRB took official action this week to permit questionable and disruptive strike activity, including one day strikes that are frequently used by aggressive unions against hospitals and other employers.
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a scathing rebuke to the National Labor Relations Board for “abusive tactics and extremism” and ordered the Board to pay an employer nearly $18,000 in legal fees incurred due to the Board’s “bad faith litigation” in Heartland Plymouth Court MI, LLC v. NLRB, No. 15-1034, decided September 30, 2016.
Last month, the National Labor Relations Board (the “NLRB” or “the Board”) reversed standing precedent and held that student assistants at private universities, including both graduate and undergraduate teaching and research assistants, qualify as “employees” under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) and may accordingly join unions to collectively bargain with their employers.
At the end August, the National Labor Relations Board released an advice memorandum, originally drafted in December 2015, concluding that a group of drivers who worked for a drayage company called Pacific 9 Transportation were misclassified as independent contractors and that this misclassification constituted a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.
The Board reaffirmed, prospectively, the Alan Ritchey doctrine requiring employers to bargain over discretionary discipline issued to newly organized employees pre-first contract and mandated prospective make-whole relief including reinstatement and back pay for future violations.