Posts Tagged ‘National Labor Relations Board’

U.S. Chamber talks out both sides of its mouth

National Journal recently reported that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans to create a new division focused exclusively on confronting regulatory bodies. In the words of Chamber president Tom Donahue, “We cannot allow this nation to move from a government of the people to a government of regulators.”

Allow me to summon my inner Gob Bluth and respond to the Chamber’s rhetoric with an emphatic “C’mon!”

Of course, Donahue is right when he says that we are a nation of people. And because we are a nation of people, we have created a system of rules that govern our society. These rules cover, among other things, personal conduct. For example, as a people, we don’t tolerate murder, rape, or robbery. But we also have rules about our conduct in other settings, including the business world. Read more »

 

Facebook: the new watercooler?

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) broke new ground this week, filing a complaint against American Medical Response of Connecticut for firing an emergency medical technician who posted a criticism of her boss on her Facebook profile.

The NLRB’s decision comes at a time when employers are increasing their use of social networking websites to keep an eye on their workers—and prospective employees.

The company in question, an ambulance service provider, accused Dawnmarie Souza of violating a policy that prohibits workers from portraying the company “in any way” on social media websites like Facebook. Then they fired her. Read more »

 

Justice for garbage disposal workers in El Paso

Justice prevailed in El Paso, Texas yesterday. For the first time in 35 years, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of an NLRB injunction, which requires a garbage collection and disposal company to rehire 32 union-supporting employees.

In the fall of 2007, the employees of El Paso Disposal (EPD) went on strike after the company refused to bargain with their union, the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE). Within a week, EPD hired a team of strikebreakers to replace the union members. By December, the union offered to end the strike and return to work, but EPD refused to re-hire them. Read more »

 

The sweet, fizzy taste of victory

When tCoca-Cola logohe Sacramento Coca-Cola Bottling Company agreed to recognize their workers as union members, The Teamsters got a sweet, fizzy taste of victory.

The 310 workers at the Coca-Cola Bottling Company have been members of a small, independent union for over 40 years. But when they decided to merge with the larger Teamsters Local 150 back in April, the management at the factory refused to recognize their newly-affiliated union as a bargaining representative.

But now management has agreed to settle with the workers, only a week before the situation was to go before an administrative law judge from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). According to the settlement, the Coca-Cola Bottling Company must bargain in good faith with the Teamsters, process union grievances, and pay the union dues for which the employees had authorized payroll deduction. In other words, it’s got to follow the law.

Coca-Cola workers are not the only ones who achieved victory lately. Two weeks ago the Board ordered Regis Corporation, owners of salons like Cost Cutters and Master Cuts, to cease threatening to fire workers if they tried to join a union. They’re showing Big Business that workers’ have the right to organize and collectively bargain.

 

Regis Corporation: cutting away at workers’ rights

I’ve always had something of a haircut phobia. I’m always afraid it’s going to end up too short or too frizzy, or just plain bizarre (I still refuse to let my mom hang my high school graduation portrait—taken after one such incident). I’ve gone up to about three years without even getting a trim!

But now, beyond frizz and fly-aways, it looks like I really do have something to fear at the salon: unfair labor practices. Read more »

 

Long-overdue updates come to the NLRB

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has held the authority to enforce the National Labor Relations Act since 1935, and little has changed since that time. Unscrupulous employers were breaking the law then, and they’re still union busting today. But we’ve seen the Board’s ability to effectively enforce the Act weaken as the nature of work changed and employer tactics became more sophisticated.

Fortunately, in a pair of decisions made public yesterday, the NLRB issued long-needed updates to two remedial mechanisms—electronic notice posting of unfair labor practices and compound daily interest on back pay. Both remedies are routinely used in cases where the NLRB finds that a party violated the National Labor Relations Act.

Read more »

 

Fighting for a voice at El Vocero

Newspapers are supposed to report the news, not be in the news. But Puerto Rico’s Spanish-language newspaper El Vocero made headlines last week when Michael A. Rosas, an administrative judge for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), found the paper guilty of firing 107 employees in an extreme act of unionbusting.

The owners of the paper said that the paper’s growing debts and a shrinking readership brought about the lay-offs. In reality, the company’s income rose in 2009. Read more »

 

Getting a fair shake in the fast food nation

If you’ve ever lived in a college town or if you’re just a fast food fan like me, then you have probably heard of Jimmy John’s.  The chain serves up delicious sandwiches that can be delivered directly to your pad well into the wee hours of the night.

But behind that tasty French bread exterior, not everything at Jimmy John’s is so appealing. Like many in the fast food industry, Jimmy John’s workers suffer from substandard wages, they don’t receive sick days, and have to bring in a doctor’s note just to get the day off. One worker claims that he had to work bicycle delivery shifts with a broken clavicle or risk losing his job, while another employee complains of working with too many ill coworkers, so sick they even vomit in the workplace. Read more »

 

Betting on Workers’ Rights

The employees of the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut took a gamble. After being denied the ability to have an honest vote for union representation, the workers, including bartenders and beverage servers, appealed to the NLRB and had their first official election last Saturday.

The owners of the Foxwoods Casino claimed that since the casino belongs to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, the workers should be governed by tribal laws.  But in 2004 the NLRB asserted its jurisdiction over tribal businesses, after casinos were noted to be using unfair labor practices. Previously, the Foxwoods counted people who chose to abstain from union elections as “no” votes.

And the gamble? It paid off. Read more »

 

Federal judge to pool chemical company: Clean up your act.

Alden Leeds, Inc., a company that produces swimming pool chemicals in Kearny, NJ, will have to face up to its dirty deeds. Last November, while in contract negotiations with its employees’ union, the company unlawfully locked out 50 workers.

For the record, that’s illegal. And it’s wrong. Instead of bargaining in good faith with its employees, the company chose to leave them out in the cold, without a paycheck, for nearly nine months.

Unfortunately, this kind of thing is nothing new for America’s working families. Firing and intimidating pro-union employees are common practice for far too many employers. Adding insult to injury, lawbreaking employers often get away with these crimes, with nary a penalty.  But not this time! Read more »