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Today’s Labor Updates, June 11, 2018

French minister slams ‘illegal’ oil refinery blockades

French farmers launch blockades of 14 refineries to protest imports of low cost palm oil for biofuel manufacturing

11.06.2018 By Hajer M’tiri

Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert on Monday denounced as “illegal” the farmers’ blockades of oil refineries to oppose the government decision to allow Total to use imported palm oil at a biofuel plant.

French farmers launched blockades of the country’s 14 refineries and hundreds of Total S.A. fuel depots since Sunday evening to protest imports of low cost palm oil for manufacturing biofuel, a move they denounce as unfair competition that jeopardizes their livelihood.

“This blockade cannot be the solution to the discussion that we are going to have. This blockade is illegal. It is not by blocking refineries that we are going to find adequate solutions,” Travert told French RTL radio.

The minister called on angry protesters to sit for negotiations to reach “adequate solutions”, insisting that the government would not back down on its decision to allow energy giant Total to import palm oil at a biofuel plant in La Mede, southeastern France.

Total has invested 275 million euros ($324 million) to transform La Mede refinery into a plant that can make 500,000 tons of biodiesel per year.

“I want Total and biofuel producers to reach an agreement on a base price and a contract that will benefit rapeseed producers,” Travert said, adding there was no risk of a shortage of petrol due to the movement.

Travert said he would meet the labor unions on Tuesday to jointly “find alternatives together.”

Christiane Lambert, president of farmers’ union FNSEA, said the blockades were intended to pressure the government over recent trade agreements that would allow imports of meat, sugar, and ethanol from countries “that do not respect the same conditions of production as French products.”

Total’s decision was “the last straw,” she said in an interview with Franceinfo television.

The farmers’ unions warned the three days action could be extended.

The number of French farms decreased by 7 percent last year and their bankruptcies rose by the proportion in France as a whole despite economy growth, according to the national statistical institute INSEE.

National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Memos Update

06/06/2018 12:00 AM EDT

Guidance on Handbook Rules Post-Boeing (GC 18_04 Guidance on Handbook Rules Post_Boeing)

Select events and news from the world of organized labor May 2018


The Chicago Tribune will have a unionized newsroom for the first time in its 171-year history. The parent company of the Chicago Tribune announced together with the Chicago Tribune Guild, affiliated with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), that the company will voluntarily recognize three collective bargaining units representing over 300 editorial employees. The decision avoids a formal election through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) representation case process.

All 25 non-management attorneys at CAMBA, a New York-based legal provider, signed authorization cards in favor of representation by a United Auto Workers (UAW) local. The attorneys would join about 1,200 other Local 2325 members if the new bargaining unit is recognized.

The Regional Director (RD) for NLRB Region 19 in Seattle ruled that a proposed unit of rework welders and specialists at three PCC Structurals facilities in Oregon is appropriate for collective bargaining and representation by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). The RD reached the same conclusion last year, but the Board used the employer’s challenge of the RD’s certification decision as a vehicle for overturning the 2011 Specialty Healthcare standard, which had toughened the standard for employers to challenge so-called micro-bargaining units.

The NLRB’s Regional Director in Atlanta approved a representation election involving a proposed bargaining unit of 178 Boeing flight-line technicians, finding that the employees have far more in common with each other than with the other 2,700 production and maintenance employees working at the plant. The workers will vote whether to join the IAM.

More than 172 school bus drivers and monitors in Albany, N.Y. voted by a 2-to-1 margin to join the Teamsters Local 294. The workers are seeking a contract that addresses safety concerns, time off issues, and wage and benefits increases.

Roughly 200 school bus drivers and monitors in Plymouth Township, Mich. voted to join Teamsters Local 243. The Durham School Services employees transport Ann Arbor Public School students and will join other Durham drivers, monitors, and mechanics in Chattanooga, Tenn., who voted to join the Teamsters earlier in May.

Boeing technicians voted to form the first collective bargaining unit at the company’s factory in South Carolina. The “micro unit” will be represented by the IAM and includes approximately 170 flight-line workers of the approximately 7,000 mechanics who build Boeing 787 Dreamliners in North Charleston, S.C. The company announced that it will contest the election, which it contends violates federal labor law. A 2017 attempt by the IAM to organize the entire factory unit was rejected by 74 percent of workers.

Pilots at Flexjet LLC voted 318 to 220 to decertify the Teamsters as their bargaining representative. The pilots had voted narrowly to join the union in 2016 but were unable to agree to a labor contract with the company. The decertification vote was verified by the National Mediation Board on May 30 and is a significant blow to organized labor in one of its few remaining strongholds.

Strikes & Labor Disputes

Students working as teaching fellows, tutors, and research assistants at the New School in New York went on strike after failing to reach a bargaining contract with the school. The students, represented by Student Employees at the New School-UAW, want wage increases, health care coverage, tuition remission, and a child care fund.

After the conclusion of a six-month strike, a majority of employees at a Lebanon, Pa. nursing home facility signed a petition stating that they no longer wish to be represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Because the nursing home hired permanent replacement workers during the strike, the strikers will only be able to return to work if and as vacancies arise. Those who return will come back under the terms of the employer’s “last, best, and final offer” that the union had rejected prior to the strike. That offer substantially increases employee health insurance costs and reduces paid time off for employees.

After striking and picketing for three days, thousands of University of California employees returned to work but vowed to continue pushing for a new contract. The workers, members of the AFSCME Local 3299, are seeking an annual pay raise of six percent and the freezing of health care premiums. The strike initially included service workers, but nurses and technical unions joined as well. Although the employees returned to work, they have warned that they are willing to walk out again.

Teaching assistants at the University of Washington went on a one-day strike seeking higher wages. UAW Local 4121 in Seattle represents 4,500 teaching assistants, tutors, and researchers who want a higher wage increase than the two percent over three years proposed by the school. The union members also want to be excused from paying approximately $300 in student fees.

A labor dispute between International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1982 and the Port of Toledo led to three ocean freighters effectively being stuck in Toledo, Ohio, and a fourth freighter being turned away, reportedly costing the port tens of thousands of dollars a day in lost work. The port withdrew its recognition of the union earlier this year after it had received signatures from a majority of 32-member unit, stating they no longer wished to be represented. Local 1982 has challenged the withdrawal of recognition with the NLRB and staged informational pickets outside the terminal in protest. As the dispute has worn on, lake pilots have refused to cross the picket line to maneuver the freighters back to open water, stranding the ships at the docks.

More than 150 Teamsters went on strike on May 22 against the American Bottling Co. The drivers’ previous agreement had expired three weeks prior, and they overwhelmingly rejected the company’s “last, best, and final offer” two days before. The two sides are in conflict over wages, as Dr. Pepper drivers earn $21.80 per hour, whereas Coke drivers make $23.90 and Pepsi drivers $23.95. The company’s final offer includes annual wage increases of about two percent over four years. Escalating matters, the union has filed six unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB in recent weeks.

Some 2,700 unrepresented United Airlines food service workers, the only frontline United employees not currently represented by a labor organization, have been demonstrating across the country. The food service workers seek representation and better working conditions. In January, 76 percent of United’s catering workers signed union authorization cards for representation by Unite HERE. While the airline exercised its right to call for an election, it also filed a fraud claim with the National Mediation Board, which prevents an election until the fraud investigation is complete.

Thousands of AT&T workers and CWA members went on strike and began picketing on May 31 over alleged illegal communications from the company. The roughly 2,500 workers, working in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, perform installation, repair, construction, engineering, and call-center work and are represented by CWA District 4. The union and company have been negotiating for a new contract for about 10 weeks, and the union alleges that the company directly emailed employees over bargaining issues.

Major Contract Settlements & Negotiations

An analysis of data compiled by Bloomberg BNA showed that unions negotiated average first-year pay raises of 2.9 percent for the first quarter of 2018 and 3.1 percent through May 25, 2018, up from 2.6 percent the first quarter of 2017. Including signing bonuses and other lump-sum payments, the first quarter 2018 average pay raise was at 3.1 percent, up from 2.9 percent over year-to-date 2017.

Teamsters working for ABF Freight Systems Inc. ratified a national agreement covering nearly 8,000 drivers, dockworkers, mechanics, and office workers. Nine supplements to the agreement were rejected and must be addressed before the contract can take effect. The terms of the deal were not released, but the union said it will provide for annual raises and restore a week of vacation that had been given up previously.

JetBlue Airways Corp. has reached a tentative agreement in principle with the Air Line Pilots Association. The agreement, the first in the airline’s history, comes just one month after JetBlue’s flight attendants voted to join the Transport Workers Union. The contract covers over 3,500 pilots. Details of the agreement were not disclosed.

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)-represented employees and the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative reached a tentative agreement ending a strike, the first for the IBEW in New Hampshire and Maine in at least 30 years. The three-and-a-half year agreement covers 83 union electricians and provides the employees more control over their pensions.

After a nearly two-week strike, 600 United Launch Alliance employees are back to work after ratifying a new labor agreement. The employees, represented by the International Association of Machinists, work in three locations in Alabama, Florida, and California. Their contract expired on May 6, and they were on the picket lines by the morning of May 7. Union negotiators recommended the new contract to members after meetings on May 15 and 16, and the members voted May 19 in favor of the deal. The four-year deal includes a three percent general wage increase and updated travel regulations, including lump sum payments of $500 to any volunteers bypassed for travel opportunities. Additionally, no employee will be forced to travel to other sites for work.

Allegiant Air reached a tentative agreement on a five-year labor contract with their flight dispatchers, represented by Teamsters Local 986. The 34 flight dispatchers voted to join the Teamsters on March 6. Details of the agreement were not released, but the union reported that it “includes significant improvements in job security, benefits, and compensation.”

Administrative, Court & Other Decisions

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court confirmed that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires enforcing employer-employee arbitration agreements even if they stand in the way of employment-related class and collective actions. The Court rejected the argument that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) overrides the FAA in this context. Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, Ernst & Young v. Morris, and NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA. See our client briefing for more information, here.

The D.C. Circuit upheld an NLRB decision ordering a regional nursing home operator to bargain with a union, stating that pro-union employees’ demonstrations did not illegally influence a 2015 election. The employees rallied outside the entrance to an Atlanta facility and allegedly threatened colleagues who voted against the union, but the court found the testimony of the other workers was not credible. The panel found that whether viewed alone or together, the union’s alleged actions did not violate the NLRA because an employer “can’t turn a number of insubstantial objections into a serious challenge.” PruittHealth-Virginia Park LLC v. NLRB.

The D.C. Circuit has remanded an appeal to the NLRB, asking the Board to clarify its reasoning in finding that a Las Vegas show production company terminated a dancer for complaining about working conditions. The Board found that the employee would not have been fired if she had not raised issues about pay and work conditions. The court requested clarification because how “the Board reconciled its conclusion on pretext and the credibility finding is unclear.” David Saxe Productions LLC, et al. v. NLRB.

Affirming a Board Order, the D.C. Circuit found that a union rule requiring Michigan workers resign membership in person restricted the rights granted to those workers under the NLRA. IBEW Local 58 claimed the Board ignored precedent, which allows unions to detail how members resign membership. But the court held that the Board only struck the union’s rule as too restrictive, while affirming the unions’ abilities to “impose ministerial requirements on the resignation process.” IBEW, AFL-CIO Local 58 v. NLRB.

The D.C. Circuit upheld an NLRB ruling that Prime Healthcare Services-Encino LLC violated federal labor law when it unilaterally suspended annual wage increases. The court held that the company was required to bargain with SEIU Local 121RN before making changes to employee wages. The panel also found that Prime illegally failed to answer the union’s requests for information about the costs of employee health care. Prime Healthcare Servs.-Encino LLC v. NLRB.

The D.C. Circuit remanded an appeal of an NLRB decision finding that a Wisconsin manufacturer illegally failed to bargain with the United Electric, Radio and Machine Workers of America, stating that the Board failed to properly explain its decision. The employer, Tramont Manufacturing LLC, laid off workers in 2015 without notice to the union, and the union filed unfair labor practice charges. The Board found that the company unlawfully refused to bargain about the effects of its layoff decision. However, the Circuit Court concluded, “we do not see how employment terms unilaterally imposed by an employer could ever effect a waiver of bargaining rights by the union,” and therefore, remanded for further Board explanation. Tramont Mfg., LLC v. NLRB.

The D.C. Circuit affirmed that the International Association of Machinists was entitled to represent maintenance and repair workers at the ports of Oakland, Calif. and Tacoma, Wash., and that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) unlawfully accepted bargaining rights for employees at those facilities and enforced union contracts requiring employees to join the ILWU. The case is just one in a litany of litigation proceedings between the two unions; on May 8, the ILWU petitioned the same appeals court to examine a different NLRB decision in favor of the Machinists. Int’l Longshore & Warehouse Union v. NLRB.

The Ninth Circuit partially reversed a trial court’s decision dismissing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s challenge to a Seattle law allowing app-based drivers to unionize, reviving the case. The court held that the city ordinance is not exempt from federal antitrust law but affirmed the lower court’s decision to dismiss the Chamber’s claims that the law was preempted by the NLRA. U.S. Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. City of Seattle, et al.

The Ninth Circuit held that a private equity firm that bought a Hawaiian hotel must pay $385,201 in pension liability assessed against the prior owner despite allegations that when the sale closed, the firm did not have actual notice of the liability. The court found that the private equity firm had some knowledge of the pension liability during the sale transaction and should have taken additional steps to determine whether the liability existed. Significantly, the ruling holds that constructive notice of withdrawal liability under federal benefits law is sufficient to trigger successor pension liability. Heavenly Hana LLC v. Hotel Union & Hotel Industry of Hawaii Pension Plan.

The Florida Supreme Court upheld a Florida law that lets cities alter collective bargaining agreements with their employees during financial urgencies. Last year, the court found that the city of Miami applied the law improperly when it unilaterally altered a police labor contract, but the constitutionality of the law itself did not come into question. In the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 20’s current challenge to the law, the court held that the legislature’s failure to define what constitutes a financial urgency does not render the 2010 statute unconstitutionally vague because it gave the task of defining the term to the Public Employees Relations Commission. Walter E. Headley, Jr., Miami Lodge No. 20, Fraternal Order of Police, et al. v. City of Miami, Florida.

A federal district court judge from the Eastern District of Michigan denied a union’s attempt to prevent the release of video footage taken by an intern who was allegedly planted with the union by Project Veritas. Affirming the defendants’ First Amendment rights, the court held that “allegedly improper conduct in obtaining the information is insufficient to justify imposing a prior restraint.” AFT Michigan v. Project Veritas.

The NLRB ruled that Roman Catholic-affiliated Manhattan College must bargain with a union that won the right to represent the school’s adjunct professors, aside from those in the religious department. The college has petitioned the D.C. Circuit to review the ruling. Manhattan College and Manhattan College Adjunct Faculty Union, New York State United Teachers, AFT/NEA/AFL-CIO.

The NLRB determined that Ports America Outer Harbor LLC, now known as Outer Harbor Terminal LLC, should have recognized and bargained with two unions that had represented maintenance and repair workers under a contract with a previous operator. The company instead bargained with a different union, violating the NLRA’s successor provisions. Ports America Outer Harbor, LLC, Currently Known as Outer Harbor Terminal, LLC.

The NLRB determined that 60 Walt Disney World “Minnie van” drivers can share a bargaining unit with other workers at the resort. The Board looked at language in the 1972 union recognition agreement between Disney World and the Service Trades Council Union and the original 1975 labor contract and how it would apply to a new category of employee, and determined that “Minnie van” drivers could be in a bargaining unit with other guest transportation employees. At the time of the agreement, there were 29 classifications, while there are now 130. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S.

The NLRB found that a construction engineering company’s senior safety manager did not violate labor law when he recorded union activities, finding that it was within the scope of his duties to record perceived safety hazards. The Board determined that the construction manager did not violate labor law by photographing workers picketing because they were blocking an employee entrance to the construction site, a crosswalk, and three lanes of traffic. Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC and United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC), Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters.

The NLRB held that Temple University Hospital must bargain with a unit of medical interpreters and transplant financial coordinators. Based on a 1972 decision in which the NLRB opted not to exercise jurisdiction over Temple employees, saying they fell under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, the hospital argued that the Board overreached in ruling on the state-related institution.  In 2016, however, an NLRB Regional Director asserted jurisdiction over the hospital based on exceptions the Board has carved out since the 1972 decision for public institutions not administered by employees who have to answer to public officials or the electorate. With this decision, the NLRB affirmed the Regional Director’s exercise of jurisdiction over the hospital. Temple University Hospital.

The NLRB determined that a military equipment maintenance provider had a right to union representation in a meeting with his supervisor to “clear the air” after being disciplined for sleeping on the job. The supervisor used the 90-minute session to question the employee about his denials of sleeping, and the employee eventually admitted that he had lied. Even though the incident was resolved with a minor penalty, the Board wrote that the employee still could have been charged with violating a company rule against dishonesty. As such, the Board said, the company should have granted his request to have a union representative present. PAE Aviation and Tech. Servs. LLC.

The NLRB found that a prominent steakhouse in Manhattan illegally fired a number of workers who went on strike. Nearly 40 waiters and bartenders were fired while striking in protest of stalled negotiations. The employees offered unconditionally to return to work, but the restaurant refused to reinstate them. The Board rejected the employer’s contentions that it had too many employees and needed to trim its staff and found that it had failed to support its allegation that striking employees had trespassed and destroyed property. The Board ordered the employees to be reinstated with full back-pay. Michael Cetta Inc. d/b/a Sparks Restaurant and UFCW Local 342.

Two Republican members of the NLRB signaled that the Board may revisit its blocking charge policy in the context of an “appropriate case.” Under the policy, the agency can pause petitions for union elections when one party to a union vote files an unfair labor practice charge alleging another one illegally coerced workers to vote a certain way. Apple Bus Company and Elizabeth J. Chase and General Teamsters Local 959.

The NLRB’s inspector general found that Board member Mark Gaston Pearce (D) did not violate ethics or other rules by allegedly leaking information about a controversial case during a conference in Puerto Rico. Pearce had stated that a “big decision” was coming the next day in the Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors case. Inspector General David Berry wrote that Pearce’s “statements were simply too vague to be of practical use or benefit to anyone given the overall context of the conversations.”

An NLRB administrative law judge (ALJ) found that a Maryland pizzeria did not violate federal labor law by firing a worker who insulted his boss at a meeting, stating that he was just voicing personal gripes, not fighting for better work terms. At a staff meeting, the employee asked a manager how he could know about the issues at the restaurant since “[he] don’t do [expletive].” He was fired after his shift for “disrespect and poor attitude.” The ALJ determined that the employee’s comments “did not entail the very nature of [his] work conditions, but rather, was calculated to undermine [the manager’s] managerial authority.” As such, he was not engaging activity protected by the NLRA. Bud’s Woodfire Oven d/b/a Ava’s Pizzeria and Ralph D. Groves.

An NLRB ALJ found that CSC Holdings LLC, a company formerly known as Cablevision, violated federal labor law by firing a sales representative. While the employee was allegedly fired for being insubordinate, the judge determined his termination was motivated by union activity. The judge ordered the company to offer the employee his job back or a similar position and compensate him for search-for-work and interim employment expenses. CSC Holdings LLC and CWA.

An NLRB ALJ ruled that a company could not ban employees from moonlighting without permission. Nicholson Terminal & Dock Co. argued it had a legitimate interest in ensuring its employees were well-rested and did not work for competing companies. However, the ALJ found that the moonlighting ban might have interfered with employees who wanted to organize or support a labor union and were seeking outside employment for that purpose. Nicholson Terminal & Dock Co.

California’s Fifth District Court of Appeal determined that the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (CALRB) applied the wrong legal standard when it concluded that Gerawan Farming had interfered in a union decertification election. The CALRB had decided to throw out the whole election to remedy the alleged meddling, but the court sent the dispute back to the board for reconsideration. The court estimated there were 1,000 to 2,750 agricultural workers at the time of the 2013 election to decertify the United Farm Workers of America, but the election result was never announced because the board impounded the ballots, and the parties have fought ever since about alleged misconduct leading up to the election. Gerawan Farming, Inc. v. Agric. Labor Relations Bd.

An arbitrator found that a Cornell University dean illegally swayed a March 2017 graduate student representation election. The dean sent students an email the day before the election, suggesting that a vote in favor of union representation could result in a reduction in the number of graduate students. The arbitrator found that graduate workers could have reasonably inferred that a vote for unionization would put their jobs at risk. The students, who would have been represented by the American Federation of Teachers, will now choose whether to seek a new election.

The Department of Labor (DOL) sued a Teamsters local in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, alleging violations of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, to force a new election of union officers because of misuse of a union Facebook page and problems with mail ballots used in a November 2017 election. The DOL alleges that the union set up a closed Facebook group for members and, contrary to union policy against campaigning on the Facebook page, approved a post that mentioned one of the candidates for union office. The DOL requested that the court void the election and order Local 41, which has 6,200 members, to hold a new election. Acosta v. Int’l Bhd. Of Teamsters Local 41.

The CWA expanded its proposed class action against Amazon, T-Mobile, and “hundreds of major American employers” for illegally targeting younger workers in Facebook job advertisements. The suit, brought in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that the defendant companies directed Facebook Inc. to show job ads only to younger workers, in violation of state and federal age-discrimination laws. CWA, et al. v. T-Mobile US Inc., et al.

The NLRB’s Office of the General Counsel recently released nine advice memoranda. One memo found that GE Appliances lawfully denied a union’s request to record meetings between a manager and workers, while another said a union did not waive its right to bargain by not naming a federal contractor as a joint employer in union representation petition.

Legislation & Politics

Labor unions are pushing to oust Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) in the 50th District of California. In the Democratic primary race, the California Labor Federation and the IBEW are supporting Ammar Campa-Najjar, an Obama-era Labor Department spokesman, while the International Union of Operating Engineers and International Brotherhood of Teamsters are backing former Navy SEAL Josh Butner. Hunter is viewed as vulnerable because of a federal probe into allegations of his misuse of campaign funds. He has also supported the reversal of pro-worker, Obama-era policies, motivating Democrats and unions to unseat him.

Fifty-nine people with union affiliations in 24 states have announced their candidacy for federal office or the top statewide positions of governor or lieutenant governor. Forty-five of the 59 are running for U.S. House of Representatives seats, and five are running for U.S. Senate. Nine are seeking the governor or lieutenant governor’s office in their respective states.

The NLRB is “considering engaging in rulemaking to establish the standard for determining joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act,” according to the 2018 regulatory agenda released May 9. It is listed under “long-term actions,” and there is no deadline set for the process. The issue of joint-employer liability has been hotly contested; an Obama-era NLRB decision making it easier for companies to qualify as joint employers is still in effect because the Board had to drop its decision to revert to a more limited joint employer standard because of conflicts of interest concerns related to member William Emmanuel (R).

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced the Workplace Democracy Act, which would make it easier for workers to unionize. The legislation would phase out NLRB elections in favor of a system where if a majority of workers signed up to be represented by a union, the NLRB would certify and recognize its existence. It would also require employers to negotiate with a new union within 10 days of receiving a request to form a “first contract,” establish a 90-day negotiation deadline before the parties could request “compulsory mediation,” and if that is unsuccessful, the parties would “have a contract settlement through binding arbitration.” It would also expand the definition of “employee” to include independent contractors. Finally, the law would repeal the portion of the NLRA allowing states to enact “right-to-work” laws.

In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy (D) signed a bill granting public unions the right to meet with members and new employees during working hours to discuss union business. The New Jersey law is similar one enacted in April 2018 in New York, which also allows union representatives to meet with new employees at work and requires employers to notify unions within 30 days of a new hire and provide employee information to the union. Both laws were passed in response to the Supreme Court’s anticipated decision in Janus v. AFSCME.

Missourians will vote on a referendum concerning the state’s right-to-work law in August, rather than November. The law was passed in 2017, but opponents gathered enough signatures to force a referendum. Before resigning on June 1, Governor Eric Greitens signed two labor bills. The first places significant restrictions on public sector unions, including requiring them to undergo a recertification election every three years and placing record-keeping and administrative requirements on unions. The other removes most state workers from the state’s merit-system law, making them at-will employees without due process protections in hiring, promotions, and firing.

In a House subcommittee hearing, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said that nearly 1,000 federal employees spend at least half their work hours on “official time” performing union representation duties. Additionally, over 12,500 federal employees spent at least some of their working hours in fiscal year 2017 performing union duties. To combat this, President Trump signed three executive orders. One requires governmental employees to spend at least 75 percent of their paid time performing agency business or completing other necessary training. Another requires agencies to report the purpose for which they authorize the use of official time and the job title and official compensation of the employees who have used it. The third dictates that federal agencies should negotiate “better” agreements with workers in the next year.

Crime, Corruption & Other Misdeeds

In Detroit, David Hart, a former financial secretary-business agent for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 was sentenced in federal court to time served and ordered to pay $37,000 in restitution and a $100 assessment. The former union official pleaded guilty in February 2015 to one count of misprision of a felony for failing to report to authorities the commission of extortion for his role in an extortion conspiracy involving now-sentenced local boss John Hamilton.

Richard D’Antuono, a former business manager and financial secretary for the local Plasterers Union in Rhode Island was sentenced to 36 months in prison for embezzling $319,795 in union funds. The manager pleaded guilty to three counts of embezzlement from a labor organization, embezzlement from an employee benefit plan, and aggravated identity theft. He was also ordered to pay full restitution and serve three years’ probation after his release.

A New York union official, Roland Bedwell, received a five-year sentence for extorting a construction business owner. The official, a business manager for United Plant and Production Workers Local 175 who claimed he had ties to an organized crime family, threatened a business owner with financial and physical harm to get him to hire union workers. He also admitted to extorting other victims as part of his plea bargain. He received three years’ supervised release after his sentence is finished.

Maria Nunez, a former office secretary for IAM Local Lodge 1484 in Wilmington, Calif., was sentenced to two years of probation for making false statements in the union’s financial records. She was also ordered to pay $4,868.50 in restitution.


In its latest annual projections report, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) disclosed a that there is a 90 percent chance that its multiemployer plan insurance program will run out of money before the end of fiscal year 2025. There is less than one percent chance that the program will remain afloat past fiscal year 2026. PBGC Director Tom Reeder recently told the House-Senate Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans that the program needs $16 billion over 10 years to avoid insolvency. The bipartisan committee has until the end of November to find a solution. The PBGC’s program for single-employer plans is in better shape and is likely to erase its deficits by 2019, three years sooner than projected in last year’s report.

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