Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against SELEX, alleging that its denial of benefits violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and breached its contractual duty to provide severance pay to eligible employees. The DC Circuit vacated the district court's grant of judgment in favor of SELEX with regard to the deferred-compensation claim where the company acted unreasonably in determining that he was terminated for cause and was thus ineligible to receive deferred-compensation. In this case, plaintiff did not refuse to perform the duties of his employment with the company when he declined to assume different duties of a different position in a different location and plaintiff's refusal to accept a transfer to a new position could not reasonably be considered cause for terminating him. The court affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of SELEX with regard to the severance pay claim, finding that plaintiff's arguments lacked merit. View "Peck v. Selex Systems Integration, Inc." on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from plaintiff's claims that his union violated the transparency and fiduciary requirements of their members by failing to comply with document requests and by permitting its officers to enrich themselves beyond the salaries permitted by the Union constitution. The DC Circuit held that the district court correctly determined on remand that the evidence supported defendants' assertion that they simply preferred to pay taxes on their expense allowances rather than document their expenditures. The court noted that their choice may not be a model of administrative efficiency, but it did not violate either the Union constitution or the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). In regard to the section 201 of the LMRDA claim involving plaintiff's requests for Union records that he alleged have been wrongfully withheld, plaintiff failed to adduce any evidence of wrongdoing by defendants. View "Noble v. Dunn" on Justia Law

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The Board held in three separate orders that Chino violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The Board's prior petitions to enforce the first two orders were granted by the DC Circuit and the Ninth Circuit. At issue in this appeal was whether, in the midst of Chino's repeated challenges to the Board's orders, and with the Union on the verge of securing its first contract, Chino could lawfully withdraw recognition from the Union—or whether, as the Board found, its refusal to bargain constituted another unfair labor practice. The court held that federal law did not permit Chino to withdraw recognition from the Union when it did, that the Board's remedies (except one) should be enforced, and that the would-be intervenor suffered neither prejudice nor a deprivation of his due process rights when the Board declined to expand this case to encompass his claim. Accordingly, the court denied Chino's petition for review as to all aspects of the Board's order except for its award of litigation costs and expenses. View "Veritas Health Services, Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit granted the employer's petitions for review of the Board's order holding it had committed an unfair labor practice by failing to bargain with the union before terminating five employees. The Board held that the employer was liable for a substantially longer period of back pay after the parties bargained over the effects of an impasse and the Board held the impasse was unlawful. The court held that the order was not supported by substantial evidence because there was no substantial evidence to support the Board's finding that the parties did not reach a lawful impasse on April 11. Therefore, the court vacated the Supplemental Order and remanded to the Board to assess more carefully whether the employer's offer to the union exceeded the Transmarine amount. On remand, the Board may find that the employer reached a lawful impasse on April 11 and therefore owed each employee only two weeks of back pay. View "Pennsylvania State Corrections Association v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit granted Verizon's petition for review of the Board's decision affirming the ALJ's finding that Verizon’s discharge of an employee for lying during an investigation was a pretext to rid the company of a prominent union supporter. The court held that there was insufficient probative evidence to support a finding of anti-union animus. In this case, it was not unlawful for Verizon to consider the collateral consequences of its personnel decisions, and there was no evidence that the employee's union activity played a role in her termination. Furthermore, the court rejected the ALJ and Board's alternative finding that even if the employee did lie, it was within the context of an inquiry into protected activity, and therefore she was immune. View "Cellco Partnership v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit granted a petition seeking review of the Board's determination that the issuance of a letter seeking union dues from employees of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Hawaii, who formally declined full membership in the union, was not an unfair labor practice. The court held that the Board's determination, that the letter was an obvious mistake and no reasonable employee reading it would have felt pressured to pay the demanded full union membership dues, was legally unsupportable on the record. In this case, the letter demanded payment from individuals the union knew had rejected full membership, and it simultaneously initiated the garnishment process to collect the full dues. Therefore, the letter reasonably tended to coerce or restrain the objecting Hyatt employees in the exercise of their statutory right to limit their association with the union. The court vacated the Board's decision and remanded for further proceedings. View "Tamosiunas v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit held that substantial evidence supported the Board's determination that petitioners violated Sections 8(a)(1) and (5) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 158(a)(1), (5), when they refused to recognize the Union that represented Island's collective bargaining unit as the representative of Verde's workers, and when they failed to apply the terms of Island's collective bargaining agreement to Verde. In this case, the Board determined that Verde was not a separate and independent employer, but merely Island's alter ego. Furthermore, Island's insistence that the Union renounce any present or future claim to represent workers at Verde violated the Act. Therefore, the court denied the petitions for review and granted the Board's cross-application for enforcement. View "Island Architectural Woodwork v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit granted the Company's petition for review challenging the Board's decision holding that the relationship between the Union and the Company was governed by Section 9(a), rather than Section 8(f), of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 159(a), 158(f). The court held that the record lacked evidence either confirming or controverting majority support. The court explained that the Board must identify something more than truth-challenged form language before it can confer exclusive bargaining rights on a union under Section 9(a). The court also held that the Board's decision was arbitrary and capricious because it made demonstrably untrustworthy contractual language the be-all and end-all of Section 9(a) status. View "Colorado Fire Sprinkler, Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit denied ILWU's petition for review of the Board's decision and order concluding that an employer was obligated to bargain with IAM over the termination of PMMC's unit employees and that the employer's recognition of ILWU was unlawful. The court held that the employer was required to bargain over its decision to shut down PMMC's operations and transfer them to PCMC; the employer's decision to close PMMC was based primarily on labor costs and thus it had an obligation to bargain under Sections 8(a)(5) and (d) of the National Labor Relations Act; and when PCMC/PMMC refused IAM's bargaining request and unilaterally terminated its recognition of the Union, it breached that obligation. The court also held that substantial evidence supported the Board's conclusion that the M&R employees at the Oakland and Tacoma ports were not part of ILWU's West Coast-wide bargaining unit and the employer's duty to bargain with the existing IAM bargaining unit was not extinguished by virtue of the accretion doctrine. Therefore, IAM continued as the appropriate bargaining representative for the M&R mechanics and ILWU violated Sections 8(b)(1)(A) and (2) when it accepted recognition from the employer. View "International Longshore & Warehouse Union v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit granted Tramont's petition for review in part, remanding for the Board to provide an explanation of the legal standard it applied when determining which subjects of mandatory bargaining were displaced by a successor's unilaterally imposed employment terms pursuant to National Labor Relations Board v. Burns International Security Services, Inc. The court denied the petition for review in all other respects. In this case, Tramont opted to exercise the right afforded certain successor employers under Burns to unilaterally set the rehired workers' initial terms and conditions of employment pending the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement. Tramont set out these initial terms in an employee handbook and argued that the provision in the employee handbook had reserved the company's right to implement layoffs and thus relieved it of its bargaining duty. View "Tramont Manufacturing, LLC v. NLRB" on Justia Law