Summer Kick-Off: NLRB Tags Two Unions With Violations Of Act

Author:Proskauer's Labour-Management Relations Practice Group
Profession:Proskauer Rose LLP

What with the last several months of onslaught directed at employers,which includes the new election regulations, micro unions, the hoopla over social media, it is hard to forget that sometimes the NLRB is confronted with actions against unions. In any given year, such actions make up a fraction of the agency's cases, of course. But, when they do act, it can sometimes provide important insight.

In two recent cases, the NLRB found unions to have violated the Act. The reasons? Well, they're interesting and instructive, especially in these times, where the debate usually paints all employers with the same broad brush of callous disregard for employee rights.

So, today, we'll take a journey into the "other" side of the equation.

Threat To Terminate Organizer For Attempting To Publicize Labor Dispute

In Communications Workers of America, Local 13000, 358 NLRB No. 50 (June 1, 2012).pdf the NLRB was confronted with a case brought by a union organizer against the union. The individuals in the "union" in this case were all part of a district council comprised of 70 locals, and instead of worrying about keeping track it is easy enough to note that the person whose job was threatened worked for one local and was set to testify against another. In the case, the organizer ("Organizer 1"), who was represented by a staff union, was asked to testify in an NLRB proceeding on behalf of another organizer ("Organizer 2") who had filed unfair labor practice charges against his local union over his discharge. Organizer 1, fearing for her job, called the president of a local representing newspaper writers and expressed that she was fearful for her job and did not want the press to show up at the hearing "as it could do damage" to the labor movement. Yet, Organizer 1 still asked the Guild president whether he could have a particular reporter come over to hearing.

President of Newspaper Guild reported this "disturbing" conversation to other union officials. The local union Organizer 1 was to testify against then attempted to get Organizer 1 fired by sending a letter to sister local. The letter makes clear the union-employer's outrage: "It was quite disturbing on the day of the hearing to see your organizer appear on behalf of the charging party since it is crystal clear that our local had not violated the law. It is also disturbing when you put it in perspective what the ramifications this charge would have if by some small chance this charge was...

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