It was going to be hard to top 2011 in terms of unique and dynamic labor law developments. But 2012 may just have lived up to the task.
Seeking to ensure that the Board would have a quorum to operate during the year, on January 4, 2012, President Obama attempted the "recess" appointment of three members. Despite the controversy swirling about these appointments, the Board continued apace to expand the rights of employees and unions under the National Labor Relations Act. Among the more notable results were the invalidation of class waivers and mandatory arbitration agreements; the further diminution of the facility-wide presumption in organizing cases; and a number of decisions tilting the balance in collective-bargaining negotiations. At the same time, the Acting General Counsel continued to pursue an expansive agenda -- issuing numerous new complaints and explanatory memoranda in social media cases.
The courts, however, dealt the Board a series of blows throughout the year, dismissing the Board's challenge to Arizona's secret ballot amendment; and invalidating the Board's rule-making on required notice-posting and "quickie elections". But no court action carried as much import as the January 2013 Noel Canning decision by the Circuit Court of Appeals for D.C. which declared the President's "recess" appointments unconstitutional, and found that the Board lacked a quorum to act throughout 2012.
The labor attorneys here at Labor Relations Today have been following these significant developments every step of the way. Today we are publishing "Labor Law in 2012: A Year in Review." This brief summary highlights some of the most noteworthy developments in 2012. We hope you find it a helpful resource as we head into what is certain to be one of the most interesting years in labor law in some time.