Get ready. With the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) finally at a working quorum, it is poised to make significant changes to labor law. For the first time in history, the NLRB majority consists of three union labor lawyers, including one who has written extensively about the need for dramatic reversal of established Board precedent. There are also several indications that the NLRB is preparing for an unprecedented attempt to use rulemaking as a way of bringing about major labor law changes. Rulemaking is a powerful tool because it would allow the Board to:
- Address issues that are not otherwise before the NLRB in a case adjudication;
- Address issues on a much broader basis than the facts in a particular case would allow;
- Achieve a desired result by avoiding unfavorable facts that may be present in a particular case;
- Issue changes in the law in less time than it typically takes the NLRB to adjudicate a case; and
- Increase the likelihood of labor law changes withstanding legal challenge, as courts are typically more deferential to rulemaking initiatives than adjudicated cases.
Add to all of this the number of strategic labor issues with which employers are currently grappling and which could be further complicated by the approach of the new NLRB:
- collective bargaining and health care reform
- pension collective bargaining and withdrawal liability issues
- lawful employee handbook and policy provisions
- responding to union information requests
- supervisory status and the use of supervisors
- card check and neutrality issues
Please join us as our Washington agency insiders Jack Toner and Leon Sequeira lead a discussion about these important issues. Jack Toner previously served as the Executive Secretary of the NLRB and Leon Sequeira is the former Assistant Secretary of Labor Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor. Kristin Michaels, a partner in the Labor & Employment Department of Seyfarth Shaw's Chicago office, will moderate the session.
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