SCOTUS To Consider Lawfulness of Neutrality Agreements: Brian Mahoney of Law360 ($$) writes that yesterday, the United States Supreme Court agreed to consider whether union/management neutrality agreements violate the Labor Management Relations Act. These neutrality agreements essentially set the "ground rules" for union organizing campaigns. As long as the organizing union follows the rules, management usually agrees to stay out of the campaign completely. The appeal arose after an Eleventh Circuit decision questioned the appropriateness of a neutrality agreement between Unite Here and Mardi Gras Gaming.
"The Eleventh Circuit has become the first court since the LMRA was enacted to hold that an agreement between an employer and a union setting ground rules for organizing — including promises to the employer not to oppose union representation, to let the union onto its property to talk to employees and to give the union employees’ names and addresses, and promises by the union to [forgo] its rights to picket, boycott or otherwise put pressure on the employer’s business — may violate [the LMRA]," the petition said. "That theory has been pressed on other courts, all of which have rejected it soundly."
Interestingly, the U.S. Government filed an amicus brief questioning the appropriateness of the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling, but urged the Court not to take the case nonetheless because the Circuit Court’s order was only an interlocutory appeal. Currently, we expect a decision sometime in the Court’s next term, which is set to begin in October.
McConnell Praises Decision to Consider Board Appointments: James Carroll of the Courier-Journal writes that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has come out in full-throated support of the Supreme Court’s decision to consider the D.C. Circuit’s Noel Canning decision. The ruling, issued in January of this year, threw the legitimacy of the National Labor Relations Board into chaos because the Circuit Court found that President Obama’s recess appointments to the Board did not pass Constitutional muster.
“A federal appeals court earlier this year reaffirmed what Republicans and job creators around the country have been saying: the president’s attempt to circumvent the Senate with a supposed ‘recess appointment’ to the NLRB was unconstitutional,” the Senate GOP leader [stated]. “It will now be up to the Supreme Court to decide whether the president violated the Constitution, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found.”
McConnell, along with other Republican brass, had filed an amicus brief earlier this year urging the Court to take the case. The crux of the argument was that President Obama had violated the "advice and consent" requirement by unilaterally appointing three persons to serve as Board members. The Court is set to hear the case in its next term, which begins in October.
Chattanooga VW Plant Organizing Kicks Into High Gear: Mike Pare of the Times Free Press reports that Chattanooga’s Volkswagen (VW) Plant is at the center of a serious battle over the future of unions in the auto industry. The United Auto Workers (UAW) have been trying to organize the plant for months. Just recently, however, anti-union groups have entered the fray and have expressed their disdain for the union model. Currently, the campaign is at somewhat of a stand-still, with the UAW negotiating with VW management over the creation of a "workers’ council" at the plant. We will keep you posted with any new updates.