5th Circuit Refuses to Enforce Board's Election Order: Scott Flaherty of Law360 ($$) reports that last Thursday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals held that Arkema Inc. had not actually interfered in a decertification campaign. Therefore, the National Labor Relations Board's ruling throwing out the results of the related decertification election was erroneous. The court ruled that it was not enforcing a Board order invalidating a 2008 decertification election because the Board's reasoning was not supported by the facts of the case.
Prior to the 2008 election, the company had disciplined an employee who allegedly had threatened a coworker in an attempt to drum up union support. However, the court held that the nature of the conversation took it outside the bounds of protected activity.
“Even if the incident began as protected activity, Saltibus escalated the encounter, thus losing the protection of the act,” the Fifth Circuit said. “Harassment and intimidation are not protected union activities; offensive, hostile language and threats are not protected even if under the guise of union activity.”
Neither party had responded to a request for comment as of Friday afternoon.
NLRB Employees Could be Furloughed As Result of Sequestration: Eric Yoder of the Washington post writes that the effects of sequestration will be felt by employees of the National Labor Relations Board. Apparently, the Board has provided its employees with a memorandum outlining the probable effects of the sequestration cuts. In particular, Board employees will most likely be furloughed for up to 22 days this year. The furloughs could begin as soon as late March. As this development could have a direct effect on the Board's administrative functions, we will be following the situation closely.
Striking HealthBridge Nursing Home Employees Return to Work: Nicholas Rondinone and Mara Lee of the Hartford Courant write that more than 600 nursing home employees at five different HealthBridge nursing homes returned to work this past weekend. The strike began more than eight months ago as a result of rising pension and health care costs. The employees, represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), returned to work approximately three months after a judge ordered HealthBridge to take the workers back and restore their pensions and health care benefits.