U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements

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Yesterday, May 21, 2018, the United States Supreme Court finally resolved a split among the federal circuit courts regarding whether the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) prohibits businesses from requiring employees to sign arbitration agreements that waive their right to engage in a class action against their employer.  Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis (No. 16–285).

At issue were two federal laws that appear to conflict with one another.

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Big Labor Attacks Idaho’s Right to Work Law

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A big labor case filed in Idaho’s federal district court continues to progress. The case, entitled International Union of Operating Engineers Local 370 v. Wasden, Case No. 4:15-cv-00500, was filed on October 22, 2015. The complaint alleges that Idaho’s Right to Work (“RTW”) statute is unconstitutional based upon the 5th Amendment prohibition against takings of private property for public use without paying just compensation. The union’s theory is that because they have an obligation to bargain on behalf of ALL workers in a unit and Idaho’s RTW law allows workers to decide whether to join the representing union and pay dues,

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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds D.C. Appeals Court Ruling in Noel Canning

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This morning, the United States Supreme Court issued its long anticipated decision in Noel Canning. It upheld the D.C. Court of Appeals decision that President Obama’s three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (Richard Griffin, Sharon Block, and Terence Flynn) were invalid appointments. As discussed in an earlier article, this could potentially invalidate hundreds of NLRB decisions issued during the time the Board did not have a sufficient number of legitimate members to create a valid quorum.

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NLRB Says College Football Players May Unionize

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In a surprising decision on March 26, the NLRB Director for Region 13 covering Illinois and Indiana issued a decision and direction of election holding Northwestern University’s college football athletes are university “employees” as defined by the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) and could vote whether to be represented by a union.

The decision focused on the grant-in-aid scholarships the athletes received to fund their education.  If upheld, other grant-in-aid scholarship athletes across the country may be entitled to unionize.

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Union Strike Numbers in 2013 Surpass 2011

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its “work stoppage” report today. The report indicates that 19 major work stoppages (“strikes”) idled more workers than all of the strikes in 2011 combined–148,000 workers.

The Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teacher’s Union idled the most employees–26,500; and Lockheed Martin’s strike was the longest–48 workdays. When multiplied by the 3600 Lockheed and International Association of Machinist workers who went out on strike, this equals 172,800 lost work days.

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