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Union Matters Archives

Union Organizing Update

In the last year or so, we have seen a distinct uptick in union organizing activity. We have represented employers in quite a number of union organizing campaigns and we are on a nice winning streak! One strategy has been helpful and I will be glad to fill you in if any of our readers are interested. Contact me at 630-377-1554 or via email at [email protected].

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year Employers

On December 13, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board finalized a new rule reversing some of the most problematic provisions of the "Ambush Election Regulations" that went into effect under former President Obama in 2015. While the new regulations did not rescind all of the Obama amendments, the modifications will be of great value to Employers in responding to Union Election Petitions and dealing with the vexing issue of Union Representation.

Life Raft For Multiemployer Pension Plans

On July 24, 2019, the United States House of Representatives passed a measure designed to rescue troubled Multiemployer Pension Plans. The Rehabilitation For Multiemployer Pension Act (House Bill No. 397) would provide loans and grants to insolvent and near-insolvent Multiemployer Pension Plans. The measure would create a new Treasury Department Agency-The Pension Rehabilitation Administration, to administer the loans and grants. It is estimated that there are over 130 Multiemployer Pension Plans that will run out of money within the next twenty (20) years. In addition, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) the current government agency that insures Multiemployer Pension Funds is expected to run out of money by 2025 without congressional action.

Operating Engineers Local 150 Remains One of Northern Illinois Most Active Unions

NLRB statistics and filings often do not reveal the true activity level of Operating Engineers Local 150. Frequently, Local 150's strategy is more focused on picketing and boycotts, rather than traditional NLRB elections. The reality is that Operating Engineers 150 is probably the most active private sector union in Northern Illinois. They are exceedingly well funded. They have a huge, well-paid staff, including an army of lawyers. Here is salary information from the most recent LM-2 filing with the US Department of labor:

No Recording Rules-NLRB Protected?

In the Boeing Company case (365 NLRB No. 154 (2017)), the National Labor Relations Board established a new system for interpreting Employer policies and whether or not they would have a negative impact on an Employer's ability to exercise their Section 7 rights under the National Labor Relations Act. Specifically in the Boeing Company case, the NLRB determined that the Employer's "no camera rule" was lawful because the Employer (Boeing) articulated sufficient justifications, including specific security protocols necessary to perform classified work for the United States Government that excepted the "no camera rule" of the Employer from the potential violation of Employee Section 7 rights. Unfortunately, many Employers have interpreted this NLRB ruling to be a "blanket coverage" protecting an Employer's policies vis-a-vis Section 7 rights. Unfortunately, that is not true.

NLRB Grants Employers Greater Rights to Limit Union Activity on Premises

In the case of UPMS Presbyterian Sunnyside, 368 NLRB No. 2-June 14, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board granted Employers greater rights to limit union activity on their premises.

No Local "Right to Work"

As of Wednesday, April 3, 2019, the Illinois House gave final passage to a bill that has already cleared the Illinois Senate that would clearly establish that only State Government, not Local Government (i.e, city, village, municipality, etcetera), would have the exclusive authority to enact laws governing what are known as Union Security Agreements. These are Agreements between Employers and Unions that establish the extent to which workers can be compelled to belong to a Union and whether or not the Employer will collect dues and fees on behalf of the Union.

"Shame on You" Strategies

Construction industry unions, particularly Operating Engineers Local 150, continue to use the strategy which we regularly refer to as "rats, banners and street theater". They rely on the 2010 Eliason & Knuth NLRB case which gives unions pretty much a green light to engage in secondary boycotts as long as they are not picketing. That Obama Board decision relied primarily on free speech theories. The normal union strategy is to put up a large rat at the premises of a neutral employer that says something like "Shame on You". In other words, there is disruption and demonstration in front of the neutral employer's premises and the whole objective is to have that neutral stop doing business with the primary. For unions, it is a way around the secondary boycott provisions of the National Labor Relations Act. But, with the new pro-business Board now in place, it is likely that this strategy will have a pretty short life expectancy. We anticipate that once the new Board finds an appropriate case they will overturn Eliason & Knuth and find this type of activity to be an illegal secondary boycott. Below is a picture of a typical Eliason & Knuth scene.

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