The Law @ Work

The Beat Continues

Two recent developments have occurred at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that are not good news for employers.  The first is that Brian Hayes, the sole pro-employer Republican on the Board resigned last Sunday at the expiration of his term.  This leaves the NLRB with just three members, all of whom are Democrats appointed by President Obama.  They are Chairman Mark Pearce, Sharon Block, a former staffer for Senator Ted Kennedy, and Richard Griffen, former chief attorney for the Operating Engineers Union as well as a board member of the AFL-CIO’s Lawyers Coordinating Committee.  Talk about a stacked deck!

The second big development at the NLRB involves its issuing a decision holding that an employer’s obligation to check off union dues continues after expiration of a collective bargaining agreement that contains a dues checkoff clause.  In WKXC-TV, Inc., 359 NLRB No. 30, released 12/19/12, the Board overturned 50 years of precedent holding that dues checkoff was a creature of contract and did not automatically survive the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.  Going forward, an employer “must continue to honor a dues-checkoff arrangement established in that contract until the parties have either reached agreement or a valid impasse permits unilateral action by the employer.”  Of course, the only way to reach impasse on this issue is for the employer during bargaining to propose the elimination of dues check-off.  This will require a strategic decision on how to handle check-off arrangements at the bargaining table.

So begins what promises to be an interesting next four years…

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