Showing posts with label nlrb. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nlrb. Show all posts

Friday, May 6, 2016

New Georgia law protects franchisors from being treated as joint employers

Governor Nathan Deal has signed Georgia Senate Bill 277, the “Protecting Georgia Small Business Act.”

The one-page bill amends the Official Code of Georgia to provide that “neither a franchisee nor a franchisee’s employee shall be deemed to be an employee of the franchisor for any purpose,” excepting as it relates to workers’ compensation.

Sponsors of the new law are listed as State Senators John Albers (56th District), Charlie Bethel (54th), William Ligon, Jr. (3rd), David Shafer (48th), Fran Millar (40th), and Mike Crane (28th).

The law comes as the National Labor Relations Board continues to consider whether McDonald’s USA (a franchisor) should be regarded as a joint employer with certain McDonald’s franchisees and therefore responsible for any unfair labor practices of its franchisees. 

McDonald’s USA has argued that it did not exercise sufficient control over franchisees’ employment policies and practices to be regarded as a joint employer.

While the NLRB has not yet issued a final ruling, the current board seems to be headed towards a decision to treat McDonald’s USA as a joint employer, although changes to the Board that may come after the November Presidential and Senate elections may result in changes to the Board's composition and alter this course of action. 

Labor unions reportedly involved in this case include the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Fast Food Workers Committee, Pennsylvania Workers Organizing Committee, Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, Los Angeles Organizing Committee, and Western Workers Organizing Committee.

While most franchisors and franchisees oppose the joint-employer concept, some individuals have argued that making franchisors joint employers strengthens the bargaining hand of franchisees.

Franchisee lawyer Robert Zarco is quoted on the Blue MauMau web site as saying to Dunkin' Donuts franchisees that with the potential NLRB ruling "You can level the playing field. Here is your opportunity to level the playing field on a silver platter. Franchisors, many of them have crossed the line. They have crossed the line from giving you guidance and recommendations and suggestions to dictating, mandating and requiring what you should do as an independent business owner."

Zarco argues that up until the NLRB ruling, most franchisors had the best of both worlds. They were able to effectively control everything from hiring to how a tomato is sliced at their franchised locations, yet – at the same time – could claim they were not at fault when injuries or things went wrong at their restaurants.

The state’s new law is largely symbolic as it does not apply to federal decisions, such as those of the NLRB, but places the state squarely on the side of franchisors.

Georgia is home to several corporate fast-food franchisors, not the least being Chick-fil-A.


You can read the text of the new law here.

Friday, September 25, 2015

NLRB attorney explains recent decisions affecting union representation

National Labor Relations Board Region 10 Supervisory Attorney Lisa Henderson gives an update on changes at the NLRB.



On April 14, 2015, the NLRB implemented new procedures to speed up the processing of union representation cases to shorten the time between receiving a petition and holding an election to decide on union representation at a company.

Speaking to the Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA) Atlanta Chapter on Sept. 24, Ms. Henderson told the group that since the new procedures have begun, the result has been shortened processing times decreasing times from 1/3 to half compared to the old process.  In July, the average was 22 days, in August it dropped to 21 days. This compares to a goal of 42 days on average before the new procedures.

The new procedures also narrow what goes into the official record. At least one employer raised privacy issues concerning the requirement to supply union officials with personal information about employees, including email addresses, home addresses, and personal telephone numbers. In that case, Region 10 considered this issue but felt that the right of the union to have full access to employees outweighed any privacy concerns.

She did not mention that opponents of this decision have offered a bill in Congress, the Employment Rights Act (ERA), to counteract the new procedures.

The NLRB attorney discussed the NLRB’s recent ruling in the Browning-Ferris Industries case where it found that BFI was a joint employer with Leadpoint, the company that supplied employees to BFI to perform various work functions for BFI, including cleaning and sorting of recycled products.

In finding that BFI was a joint employer with Leadpoint, the Board relied on indirect and direct control that BFI possessed over essential terms and conditions of employment of the employees supplied by Leadpoint as well as BFI’s reserved authority to control such terms and conditions.

This ruling overturned the decision of the NLRB region in California, which had previously ruled that no joint-employer status existed at the recycling plant.

Ms. Henderson indicated that the Board felt this new ruling was a return to an older standard that the Board had moved away from rather than the implementation of a new standard. In her opinion, the Board felt that the BFI ruling brought it more in line with modern realities.

Finally, Ms. Henderson addressed NLRB guidance on deferral to grievance arbitration and settlements contained in Memorandum GC 15-02, which was meant to provide guidance to regional offices and the public. While GC 15-02 is both lengthy and complex, it offers a new test for deferring to awards rendered by labor arbitrators in cases also involving alleged violations of Sections 8(a)(1) and (3) of the National Labor Relations Act and does raise questions as to its implementation and how that might affect arbitrators nationwide.

For more on each of these issues:






Monday, August 24, 2015

Union wins election at PruittHealth-Virginia Park



The RWDSU has announced that it won a union organizing election held on Aug. 20 to represent health care workers at PruittHealth-Virginia Park.



The election was held by secret ballot under the supervision of the Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to determine the representative, if any, desired by the eligible employees for purposes of collective bargaining with their employer.

A majority of the valid ballots cast determined the results of the election.

The voting unit consisted of all full time and regular part time CNA’s, restorative aides, activity assistants, medical record clerks, and service and maintenance employees employed by the employer at its facility located at 1000 Briarcliff Road N.E., Atlanta, Ga., but excluding all RNs, LPNs, charge nurses, confidential employees, professionals, office clerical employees, guards and supervisors as defined by the National Labor Relations Act.

Workers were organized by Retail, Wholesale Department Store Union/UFCW Southeast Council.
PruittHealth-Virginia Park was represented by David Garraux and Marvin Weinberg of Fox Rothschild LLP.

In June, PruittHealth announced its official expansion in Atlanta by purchasing the Briarcliff Haven Healthcare and Rehab Center.

PruittHealth-Virginia Park spans 3.6 acres in an area of Atlanta known as Virginia-Highland. The facility includes a 40,302 square foot building and offers post-acute care services to 128 beds and 18 specialty vent beds.

At the time of the purchase announcement, Neil L. Pruitt, Jr., Chairman and C.E.O. of PruittHealth, said, "We are very pleased to welcome PruittHealth-Virginia Park into our PruittHealth family of providers. It is always exciting to expand our organization in other areas of the Southeast, and I am confident that we can build upon the solid foundation of health care services and resources that we have already integrated in the state of Georgia as a whole."

According to the company’s statements, PruittHealth has more than 170 provider locations throughout Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and one center in Florida. The company claims that on any given day, 24,000 patients are cared for by PruittHealth's 16,000 employees.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has written that the Pruitt family was among Governor Deal's largest campaign donors in his successful re-election bid last year.


PruittHealth has not yet issued a statement concerning the union election.

Monday, August 17, 2015

UGA & Ga Tech football off the hook - athletes cannot form union


The National Labor Relations Board today declined to consider whether football players at Northwestern University were covered under provisions of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
As a result, players at Northwestern University will not be allowed to form a union.
Since Northwestern University is a private institution, and not a state-run university, there was a possibility that its players might have fallen under the rules of the NLRA and be permitted to form a union.
Although any ruling would not apply to state universities, such as the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, it was thought that a ruling in favor of the Northwestern players would put pressure on other NCAA Division I schools to provide some sort of similar "association" for their athletes.
Today's decision specifically indicated that the NLRB would be open to reconsider the issue at a later date.
From the National Labor Relations Board release issued today (Aug. 17, 2015):
In a unanimous decision, the National Labor Board declined to assert jurisdiction in the case involving Northwestern University football players who receive grant-in-aid scholarships. The Board did not determine if the players were statutory employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).  Instead, the Board exercised its discretion not to assert jurisdiction and dismissed the representation petition filed by the union. 
In the decision, the Board held that asserting jurisdiction would not promote labor stability due to the nature and structure of NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). By statute the Board does not have jurisdiction over state-run colleges and universities, which constitute 108 of the roughly 125 FBS teams. In addition, every school in the Big Ten, except Northwestern, is a state-run institution.  As the NCAA and conference maintain substantial control over individual teams, the Board held that asserting jurisdiction over a single team would not promote stability in labor relations across the league.
This decision is narrowly focused to apply only to the players in this case and does not preclude reconsideration of this issue in the future.
Additional information on this case can be found here

Friday, August 14, 2015

NLRB attorney to speak in Atlanta in September


An attorney from the National Labor Relations Board will be the guest speaker at a September luncheon hosted by the Atlanta chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association.

Lisa Henderson will speak on new NLRB rules and a recent decision concerning deferral to arbitration. 

According to an announcement, the luncheon will be held on Thursday, Sept. 24, beginning at Noon at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center located at 800 Spring St. in midtown Atlanta.

The Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA) is the singular organization in the country where professionals interested in all aspects of labor and employment relations network to share ideas and learn about new developments, issues, and practices in the field. 

Founded in 1947 as the Industrial Relations Research Association (IRRA), LERA provides a unique forum where the views of representatives of labor, management, government and academics, advocates and neutrals are welcome.

Information on the September event can be obtained by contacting Phil LaPorte at 404-316-6798 or emailing plaporte@gsu.edu.