Americold Worker Files Charges Against Employer: Derek Barichello of saukvalley.com reports that Karen Dixon, an employee of Americold Logistics in Rochelle, Illinois, has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that the company committed several unfair labor practices after workers voted to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store union (RWDS). Interestingly, Dixon's complaint alleges that, after the election, she attempted to garner signatures for a petition against union representation, but was threatened with discharge by management if she continued to do so. In pertinent part, the complaint alleges as follows:
Americold management discriminately enforced its policy to bar Cox and other independent-minded employees from collecting petition signatures while off duty, even threatening to fire Cox from her job if she continued – while non-employee union organizers are given wide-ranging access to company facilities to counteract Cox’s efforts.
Dixon does not want to pay union dues, which she would be forced to do once the RWDS and the company sign a collective bargaining agreement since Illinois is not a Right to Work state. This has been the third attempt by Americold employees to organize.
Former Board Chairman Blasts Recess Appointments: Former NLRB Chairman Peter Schaumber, in an opinion piece posted in the National Review Online, argues that the D.C. Circuit should invalidate President Obama's intra-session recess appointments of Board Members Sharon Block and Richard Griffin. Schaumber opines that, according to the Constitution and the intent of the framers, President Obama's power to make recess appointments is only valid if the appointments occur during an inter-session recess, not one of the many intra-session recesses that occur each year in the Senate.
This reading of the Recess Clause is supported not only by its text but by the historical context. At the time of the Framers, the Senate was in recess for six to nine months between sessions; once in recess, transportation made it difficult for them to return to vote on an appointment.
Schaumber, however, realizes that the answer may ultimately be a political question that the courts will avoid. Even though the Constitutionality of the appointments is certainly suspect, the Senate in recent years has largely acquiesced to the validity of intra-session recess appointments. We here at LRToday have been following this story for quite some time. We will certainly keep you posted as to any developments.
Board Investigating Possible ULPs at UNFI: The Auburn Reporter writes that the National Labor Relations Board has begun investigating allegations of unfair labor practices committed by United Natural Foods Inc. in connection with an unfair labor practice strike organized by drivers and warehouse workers at UNFI's Auburn warehouse. The strike occurred on December 10, 2012 and lasted three days. Following the strike, the union claims it gave the company an unconditional offer to return to work. The company allegedly accepted this offer, then rescinded it, eventually replacing 72 union workers with permanent replacement workers. The union returned to the picket line on December 13, 2012.