Sunday, December 30, 2012

Woo-hoo! NLRB takes union-busting tactic away from employers

It just got a little harder. 
The labor board on Dec. 12 ruled employers must continue to deduct and submit dues to unions even after a collective bargaining agreement expires. The decision reversed a 50-year-precedent and will make it harder to bust unions.

JDSupraLawNews calls it a "gift to organized labor."

We'll take it.

Peoples World reports "NLRB overturns union-busting policy":
...the National Labor Relations Board threw out a 50-year precedent and took away a powerful weapon employers have had to force unions to accept drastic cuts in wages and working conditions. 
The board, all recess appointments by President Barack Obama, overturned its 1962 Bethlehem Steel decision that had allowed employers to unilaterally impose contract terms when an agreement expires and then stop collecting union dues to pressure a union to accept the "final offer." 
That decision, the board stated, was a mistake and inconsistent with labor law.
"Unlike a good wine, a mistake does not get better with age," the new ruling states.
JDSupra reports,
In WKYC-TV, Gannet Co., Inc., 08-CA-039190; 359 NLRB No. 30 (December 12, 2012), the NLRB reversed its 1962 decision in Bethlehem Steel,+136 NLRB 1500 (1962), in which it held that a "dues checkoff" provision expires with the agreement. In the reversal of its longstanding position, the NLRB reasoned that the dues checkoff provision is part of the status quo terms and conditions of employment that an employer must maintain until a new collective bargaining agreement or a lawful impasse is reached. However, the NLRB did acknowledge that collective bargaining agreements may include a clause providing for the expiration of the dues checkoff provision; however, such clauses must be "clear and unmistakable..."
This decision is notable for employers (because) ... the discontinuation of dues checkoff had long been recognized as a "legitimate economic weapon" for employers during collective negotiations. For instance, many employers stop deducting dues from employees as a way of exerting pressure on a union to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement. Now, by having to deduct dues and remitting them to the union, employers will essentially be funding union operations during what may often be tense collective negotiations. 
The ruling, unfortunately, doesn't apply to the plaintiffs, National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET) Local 42, a CWA affiliate.

Brother Mark S. Cleland brought this recent NLRB decision to our attention.