Proposed change to the contract bar doctrine
Workers at a Montaire poultry processing plant were in the middle of collective bargaining agreement with a UFCW local when a petition to decertify the union was filed by one employee with assistance by the National Right to Work Foundation. Normally during a collective bargaining agreement, an election is not permitted under the Board’s long standing “contract bar” doctrine intended to provide stability to the bargaining relationship. In Montaire, the Board ordered an election claiming that the contract contained an unlawful union security provision, and therefore did not bar an election. In July, the Board issued a Notice and Invitation for Briefs on the issues of whether it should maintain the contract bar doctrine at all or retain the doctrine with modifications.
A change in the contract bar doctrine would be an extraordinary disruption to the collective bargaining relationship. Amici briefs on this issue are due before the Board by September 23, 2020. To read the Notice and Invitation to File Briefs, click here. Interested parties can file a brief at nlrb.gov using the e-filing system.
Additional proposed changes to the election process
On July 29, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) posted a proposed rule to amend its election rules. The proposal eliminates the requirement prior to an election the employer must provide to the Board regional office personal phone numbers and personal e-mails of employees, that are then shared with all parties. Most of you have heard of the Excelsior rule: since 1966, the Board has required that the employer provide the Board regional office with the names and addresses of employees as part of the election process to allow for communication with employees. In 2014, the Board recognized the changes to modern technology and communications and required employers to also provide known personal emails and phone numbers. By its proposed rule, the Board would reverse the 2014 decision. The proposed rule would also provide for absentee ballots for employees on military leave. Comments are due by September 28, 2020. To comment, go to https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NLRB_FRDOC_0001-0137 and click on the comment now button.