NMB agrees to delay implementation of Election Rule: Two weeks ago, the National Mediation Board (NMB) announced a change in the way votes would be tallied in future union representation elections under the Railway Labor Act. Last week, an association of airlines filed suit in federal court seeking injunctive relief against the implementation of the Rule. At a status conference in court this week, the NMB agreed to hold implementation of the Rule at least until June 30, 2010.
Reid Public Safety Employee Amendment to Supplemental Withdrawn: Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) proposed to attach the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2009 to the pending Emergency Appropriations Supplemental. The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, introduced with bipartisan support earlier in the Congress by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) would ensure the extension of collective-bargaining rights to public safety employees employed by all states and localities. Senator Reid's move prompted CQ Today to predict that "the amendment would be considered 'non-germane' and would no longer be in order if the Senate votes Thursday in favor of Reid’s motion to limit debate on the bill." Last night, the Amendment was indeed withdrawn and the Supplemental was passed 67 to 28. The stand-alone version of the bargaining bill remains pending, however, in both the House and Senate.
NLRB Would Assert Jurisdiction Over New York Racino: The Board this week issued an Advisory Opinion requested by the New York State Employment Relations Board (NYSERB) in Yonkers Racing Corp. d/b/a Empire City at Yonkers Raceway, 355 NLRB No. 35 (May 24, 2010). From 1899 until 2008, the employer operated a horse racetrack in Yonkers, New York. In 2008, like many other racetracks are doing nowadays, the employer opened a casino on its premises. Two unions filed petitions with NYSERB seeking to represent particular units of employees. They did so because traditionally the NLRB asserts jurisdiction over casinos which meet the appropriate commerce threshholds, but declines to assert jurisdiction over racetracks -- leaving the issues to state agency resolution. NYSERB sought the Board's advice on the issue, and the Board held:
We agree with the Employer that, as a result of the changes resulting from the addition of its casino gambling operations, the enterprise is no longer primarily a racetrack, and that the Board’s policy of declining jurisdiction over racetracks no longer applies to it. In two recent published cases, the Board considered combined casino and racetrack operations with histories similar to that of the Employer’s enterprise. In each case, the Board found that although the enterprise began life as a racetrack and added casino operations later, the revenue and employment generated by the casino so overshadowed those generated by the horseracing operations the enterprise was no longer “essentially a racetrack,” Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, 324 NLRB 550, 551 (1997), and “the racetrack was dependent on the casino, not the other way around.” Delaware Park, 325 NLRB 156, 156 (1997).
Racing employers accustomed to state agency jurisdiction in addressing labor relations matters should take note of these developments as they embark upon consideration of casino expansion.