NLRB Decides 341 Cases In Fiscal 2012, Including Some Of Its Oldest

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued decisions in 341 cases during fiscal 2012, 1 Oct. 2011 through 30 Sept. 2012, tackling many of its oldest cases.

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The NLRB cut the median age of pending cases in half, resolving nine of the 10 oldest cases it faced at the start 2012, .

The age of pending cases dropped from 219 days to 108 days. Decisions were issued in 277 unfair labor practice cases and 64 union representation cases.

Also during this period, the NLRB finalized a rule streamlining the union representation case process. That rule is currently suspended pending court challenges.

It also  invited briefs from the public on several significant issues, including the employment status of certain university faculty members and graduate teaching assistants.

The NRLB’s membership changed several times during fiscal 2012.

The recess appointment of Craig Becker expired on 3 Jan. 2012. Three new members – Richard F. Griffin, Jr., Sharon Block and Terence Flynn – were recess-appointed by President Obama. They took office in early January.

Flynn resigned effective 24 July 2012.

The NLRB currently has four members. The board’s chairman is Mark Pearce. The other members are Brian Haye, Griffin and Block.

All board decisions can be found on the NLRB website here.

Some highlights of fiscal 2012 NLRB case decisions:

Mandatory arbitration: In D.R. Horton, the NLRB ruled requiring employees to sign arbitration agreements prohibiting them from joining together to bring legal claims against the employer violates federal labor law.

Lawsuits as unfair labor practices: A number of decisions, including two issued by the full NLRB, found that lawsuits filed by employers or unions may be unfair labor practices in certain circumstances.

The cases include Federal Security Inc.; J.A. Croson Co.; Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons (Standard Drywall); Sheet Metal Workers (EP Donnelly); and Allied Mechanical Services.

Symphony orchestra musicians: In three cases, set in Cape Cod, Mass., Lancaster, Penn., and Plano, Texas, the NLRB found that symphony orchestra musicians are employees, not independent contractors and eligible to join a union.

Facebook firings: In its first look at a case involving a discharge for Facebook posts, the NLRB found that the particular postings that led to the discharge were not protected. More such cases are pending.

Immigration status and backpay: In Flaum Appetizing, the NLRB ruled employers must have good reason to raise the immigration status of employees during procedures to determine backpay awards. Employers cannot raise the immigration status question as a ‘fishing expedition’ to avoid payment of back wages owed.

Successor employer obligations: In Massey Energy Company, the NLRB found that the company unlawfully refused to hire former unionized employees to avoid union obligations at a coal mine. The NLRB also found Massey to be a single employer with its subsidiary, Mammoth Coal Company.

Specialty Healthcare standards: The NRLB applied the standards for union unit determination that were clarified in its August 2011 opinion in Specialty Healthcare to several cases, including DTG OperationsNorthrop Grumman Shipyard, and Odwalla, Inc.

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