D.R. Horton Argues that AmEx Ruling Nixes Board DecisionBen James at Law360 ($$) writes that on Monday, representatives for D.R. Horton argued in the Fifth Circuit that a recent Supreme Court decision clears the way for mandatory arbitration agreements barring class actions. The decision in the AmEx case essentially provided that the Federal Arbitration Act will not invalidate a class-action waiver simply because the potential recovery is dwarfed by the cost of an individual filing suit. Accordingly, D.R. Horton’s lawyers contended that this logic must also apply to class action waivers in the employment context.

The D.R. Horton case reached the Fifth Circuit after the National Labor Relations Board found that the company’s mandatory arbitration agreement barring collective actions violated labor law. In pertinent part, the Board decision held that barring collective actions is akin to prohibiting any protected or concerted activity, which in turn would violate Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act’s protections.

Interestingly, more than 25 courts have already rejected the reasoning behind the Board’s decision, per D.R. Horton’s representatives. We will be watching this case closely and will certainly keep you posted with any updates.

Mediator Steps in to Help Avert AZ Bus StrikeDianna M. Nanez of the Arizona Republic reports that transit officials and union members have sought the assistance of a federal mediator as the two sides attempt to reach a collective bargaining agreement governing Arizona bus drivers. Failure to do so before the end of the week could result in a strike, which would begin this coming Monday.

Management officials have stated that negotiations are currently stalled out, with neither side showing signs of budging. To further complicate the issues, the Amalgamated Transit Union has filed unfair labor practices against First Transit with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging bad-faith bargaining by First Transit management.

Con Edison Workers Set to Strike in NYTracey Porpora of the Staten Island Advance reports that Consolidated Edison employees are set to strike beginning this Saturday if an agreement is not reached with management officials over proposed changes in benefit and pension plans. Further talks are scheduled for later this week, with the union expressing hope that a strike could be averted by diligently negotiating.

"The last thing we want to do is go on strike. As a union, we want to come to an agreement. There are certain things unions stand for and protect, such as pensions and medical. … To me, a strike is a failure of the collective bargaining process. We hope to come to an agreement at the end," [ a union spokesman stated.]

There has also been hushed talk of a potential lockout if the parties fail to reach an agreement before they contract expires at 12:01am on Saturday. We will certainly keep you posted as these negotiations move forward.