ALJ Holds That Bargaining Cannot Be Conditioned On Noel Canning: Abigail Rubenstein of Law360 ($$) writes that this week, a National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge ruled that Professional Transportation, Inc. violated the National Labor Relations Act when the company attempted to use the possible invalidity of the D.C. Circuit’s Noel Canning decision as a bargaining chip. In particular, the company had refused to bargain with the Teamsters unless the union agreed that any contract would be automatically void if the U.S. Supreme Court found Noel Canning to be valid.
“Can the company lawfully insist on the conditional bargaining restrictions it demanded without violating its duty to bargaining in good faith with the union. No it cannot,” Judge Cates’ decision said. “The company here is simply attempting to challenge or test the regional director’s certification of the union as the bargaining representative of a unit of the company’s employees.”
The ALJ further held that the National Labor Relations Act makes clear that an employer may not insist upon bargaining conditions while waiting out pending litigation in the federal court system. An attorney for the company refused to comment for the story. We will keep you posted on any possible appeals.
Judge Puts Brakes On AC Transit Strike: Kurtis Alexander of the San Francisco Gate writes that yesterday, a California Superior Court judge signed off on a 60-day "cooling off" period between AC Transit and the unions representing its employees. Fortunately for commuters, this action will stave off any sort of labor strike by AC Transit’s bus drivers for the next two months. More than 1,500 drivers had threatened to strike at the end of last week in protest of what they believe to be unfair wages.
The parties have been in negotiations for over six months now. On two separate occasions, a deal in principal was reached. However, both deals were struck down by union ratification votes. We will keep you posted as this protracted labor dispute continues.
Unions Fighting Detroit Bankruptcy: Joseph Lichterman and Bernie Woodall of Reuters report that a trial concerning the City of Detroit’s eligibility to enter bankruptcy began yesterday. At issue is whether the city negotiated with the myriad of labor unions it deals with in good faith before seeking protection from its creditors. In its opening statement, the unions argued that the city was attempting to avoid its many pension obligations by filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 9. The city, in turn, claimed that it has been compelled to do so because of far too many unfunded obligations. We here at @LRToday have been watching this action closely and will keep you informed of all important news coming out of Detroit.