Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast Michael J. Lotito September 01, 2015
In what is being described as a "landmark" ruling by the National Labor Relations Board, a divided NLRB has changed a decades-long approach and made it easier for contract and temporary workers to unionize. The NLRB decision expands the traditional definition of "employee" to include shift workers, contract workers, and other temporary employees. What will the decision mean for workers and employers? Will it impact franchisers? Will it lead to more contested matters, as the NLRB has suggested that it will make further determinations on a case-by-case basis? These and other questions, including questions from the audience, were be addressed on our Teleforum call.
Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
- Mr. Michael J. Lotito, Co-Chairman, Workplace Policy Institute and Shareholder, Littler Mendelson PC
On June 30, 2015, the Supreme Court decided to revisit whether the First Amendment permits the government to compel its employees to financially support a union by granting certiorari in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, No. 14-915. In Friedrichs, the Court will consider whether to overrule Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), which held that public employees can be compelled to financially support union collective-bargaining with government, but not union political activities.
The Court’s grant of certiorari in Friedrichs comes on the one-year anniversary of its decision in Harris v. Quinn, where Court criticized Abood’s rationales, but did not overrule Abood after finding it inapplicable to the non-employee Medicaid providers who brought the case. Unlike Harris, Friedrichs squarely presents the issue decided in Abood—whether public school teachers can be required to pay compulsory union fees as condition of their employment.
The Friedrichs petitioners argue that Abood should be overturned because there is no distinction between bargaining with government and lobbying government—both are political speech. The respondent California Teachers Association, however, counters that union bargaining with government is akin to bargaining with a private employer, and that it wrongful for teachers to get a so-called “free ride” on union bargaining efforts.
Is the Court likely to overrule Abood? And what will be the implications if it does?
SCOTUScast 4-23-15 featuring Michael DeBoer
- Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine
- William Messenger, Staff Attorney, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc.
Michael DeBoer April 23, 2015
On January 26, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett. The issue in this case is whether, when courts interpret collective bargaining agreements in Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) cases, they should assume that silence concerning the duration of retiree health-care benefits means the parties intended those benefits to vest (and therefore continue indefinitely), or should require that it be stated explicitly (or at least stated in some way) that health-care benefits are intended to endure after the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held unanimously that when determining whether retiree benefits should continue indefinitely after the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement, courts should apply ordinary contract principles. Those principles do not support a presumption that the agreement reflects an intent to vest retirees with lifetime benefits. The judgment of the Sixth Circuit was vacated and the case remanded for further proceedings. Justice Ginsburg filed a concurring opinion, which Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined.
To discuss the case, we have Michael DeBoer, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Faulkner University School of Law. Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
On December 15, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board published a final rule amending its representation case procedures, which will become effective on April 14, 2015. According to the Board, the final rule retains the essentials of existing representation case procedures but removes “unnecessary barriers to the fair and expeditious resolution of representation cases.” Among other things, the rule shortens the election process to as few as 14 days from the current median time of 38 days, requires employers to give unions employees’ personal telephone numbers and email addresses, and makes post-election appeals discretionary with the Board rather than as of right.
The final rule has been challenged in lawsuits brought by employer associations in the U.S. District Courts for the District of Columbia and Western District of Texas. The complaints allege that the rule will restrict communication between employers and employees before an election, depriving employers of due process and speech rights and employees of information needed to decide intelligently how to vote.
Litigation and Free Speech & Election Law Practice Groups Podcast
- Homer L. Deakins, Jr., Chairman Emeritus, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
- Brent Garren, Deputy General Counsel, Local 32BJ, Service Employees International Union
- Hon. John N. Raudabaugh, former member, National Labor Relations Board, Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law, Ave Maria School of Law, National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation
James Manley March 26, 2015
The laws of six states prohibit businesses—but not unions or other groups—from contributing to political parties, committees, or candidates. On February 24, 2015, the Goldwater Institute filed suit on behalf of two family-owned Massachusetts businesses to challenge Massachusetts’ political contribution ban. Since 1908, businesses have faced a total contribution ban, but special rules implemented in 1988 allow unions to contribute as much as $15,000 before any disclosure requirements or other contribution limits apply to the union. After unions have donated $15,000 to campaigns, their PACs can continue to contribute up to the ordinary limits. Meanwhile, business-funded PACs are banned from contributing. Does the Massachusetts law violate state and federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection, free speech, and free association?
- Jim Manley, Senior Attorney, Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, The Goldwater Institute