Board ALJ Strikes Down Arbitration AgreementBen James at Law360 ($$) writes that last Friday, a National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge held that an arbitration agreement between Leslie Poolmart, Inc. and its employees violated federal labor law.  The ruling was somewhat surprising because the agreement did not explicitly bar employees from bringing class or collective actions.  However, the judge reasoned that the agreement still had the effect of doing so.

“While the agreement is silent as to collective or class actions, in practice, respondent closed the avenue to pursue collective and/or class-wide litigation when it sought to limit Cunningham and other similarly situated employees to arbitration of their individual claims,” Judge Thompson said. 

The judge further noted that she was bound to follow the controversial D.R. Horton decision "until it is reversed by the Supreme Court . . .."  We will keep you posted as to whether Judge Thompson’s ruling is appealed to the full Board.

MI Ambulance Workers File Union Petition: Jeremy Allen of MLive reports that emergency medical service workers employed by Huron Valley Ambulance have filed a petition to form a union with the National Labor Relations Board.  The 413 paramedics and EMTs will vote on whether to join the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees for the purpose of collective bargaining and representation.  Voting will be done by mail.  Ballots will be mailed out the first week of February and will be counted by a Board representative on February 25.  We will keep you posted on the results of the vote.

Portland Teacher Talks Break DownMary Loos of KATU.com writes that labor negotiations between the Portland Association of Teachers and the Portland School Board broke off at the end of last week because the union wants to bring in almost 200 teachers in order to reduce class sizes.  While the Board thought the proposal was brought in too late in the game and thus dismissed it, other major sticking points are also preventing a deal from getting done.  The biggest issues that remain to be negotiated include retirement benefits, workloads, and the length of the school year. 

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