Board ALJ Nixes UPMC Social Media Policy: Matt Fair of Law360 ($$) writes that a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held in a decision issued last week that University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) was maintaining a social media policy that violated Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. In pertinent part, the policy at issue effectively prevented employees from using social media or company computers to discuss union activity.
“The prohibition ‘on describing any affiliation with UPMC’ is reasonably read to prohibit employees (who, are using Facebook, Twitter, etc., which the employer’s rule permits) from telling anyone where they work, a restriction that severely inhibits discussion with others about the terms and conditions and pluses and minuses of their work experience,” he said. “Such ambiguity and overbreadth is unlawful precisely because it chills Section 7 activity —an employee will reasonably avoid all Section 7 activity precisely out of concern that the employer may apply the rule in a manner that impermissibly singles out Section 7 activity.”
Interestingly, the ALJ did uphold UPMC’s policy forbidding union solicitation of employees via company email. The UPMC declined comment for the story.
While the Board has thus far issued few decisions regarding social media policies, it appears that the NLRB has begun to aggressively target company policies that could be read to "chill" employees’ Section 7 rights. As such, employers need to tread carefully when crafting employee social media policies. We will keep you updated if this case is appealed to the full Board.
Strongsville Teachers’ Strike Nears End: Jen Steer of NewsNet5.com reports that last Friday, the Strongsville Education Association and the Strongsville Board of Education reached a tentative deal that should end the eight-week long teachers’ strike in Strongsville, Ohio. Interestingly, both sides have stated that no details will be released until the proposed agreement is ratified. Once the deal is solidified, we here at @LRToday will break down the specifics for you. Stay tuned.
Union, Caterpillar Reach Tentative Agreement: Katie DeLong of Fox6NewsNow.com writes that members of Local 1343 of the United Steelworkers Union have reached a tentative agreement with Caterpillar regarding a new contract. The employees, located in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin, are expected to vote on ratification this coming Tuesday. No details of the proposed deal have been released, but we will certainly keep you posted as to the vote’s results.