Last week, Democrats Craig Becker and Mark Pearce were sworn in as Members of the National Labor Relations Board after receiving recess appointments from President Obama on March 27.

The recess appointments of Becker and Pearce will last until the end of 2011. For the first time under the new administration, Democrats make up a majority of the five-Member Board. The NLRB had only two of its five seats filled for over two years and its authority to issue decisions without a quorum has been called into question. The issue is currently pending before the Supreme Court, which is expected to make a decision this Spring.

Current Chairman Wilma Liebman has suggested that the current Board may now reverse many significant decisions issued by the Bush Board. Among those issues to watch are:

  • employee access to employers’ email systems for union purposes (Register-Guard)
  • the definition of “supervisor” under Section 2(11) of the Act (Oakwood Healthcare)
  • voluntary recognition (Dana/Metaldyne)
  • Weingarten rights in a non-union setting (IBM Corp.)

As days go on, we will monitor developments at the Board, union organizing activity, and related topics and report on them.

Update:  On April 16, the new Board issued its first decision.  Click here to read the decision by Chairman Liebman and Members Schaumber and Pearce.

 

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Photo of Justin Keith Justin Keith

Justin F. Keith represents employers in all areas of labor and employment law—including litigation of discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims, reductions in force, and numerous other personnel and workplace issues—before state and federal agencies and in courts throughout the country.

He is experienced…

Justin F. Keith represents employers in all areas of labor and employment law—including litigation of discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims, reductions in force, and numerous other personnel and workplace issues—before state and federal agencies and in courts throughout the country.

He is experienced with wage and hour class actions brought under the Massachusetts Wage Act and nationwide collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act. He represents employers across a broad spectrum of industries, including retail, transportation, delivery services, and telecom services in nationwide class and collective actions brought throughout the country.

Justin regularly provides counsel to senior management and human resource personnel on employment law compliance matters, such as reductions in force, leaves of absence, exempt status classification under the FLSA and state law, employee discipline, sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation, and restrictive covenant agreements.

Justin is a contributing editor of The Developing Labor Law, the leading treatise on U.S. labor law, and a frequent speaker to legal and industry groups on labor and employment issues.

Justin’s practice encompasses all areas of traditional labor law, including union organizing campaigns, collective bargaining negotiations, unfair labor practice charges and representation case proceedings before the NLRB, union avoidance strategy and training, strike response and contingency planning, grievance arbitration proceedings, and appellate litigation before the NLRB and the Courts of Appeals. Justin was co-counsel to New Process Steel in the landmark Supreme Court case, New Process Steel v. NLRB, 560 U.S. 674 (2010).