By Nelson Cary on February 20, 2017
What a last couple of weeks on the labor law front. Here is a quick round up of significant developments, just to make sure you are caught up:
Puzder Out, Acosta Up Next
President Trump’s first DOL secretary nominee, Andrew Puzder, withdrew himself from contention earlier this week. Press reports suggest that there was insufficient support in the Republican Senate to get him over the 51-vote hurdle for confirmation.
In his place, President Trump quickly nominated Alexander Acosta. Mr. Acosta has a significant record of public service positions, having served as a U.S. Attorney, an Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and a Bush-appointee to the NLRB for less than a year in 2002-2003.
With all the hoopla in Washington, D.C., you could be forgiven if you had not noticed the IAM’s stunning loss at the Boeing plant in South Carolina. In an NLRB-conducted election, the union lost by a 3-1 margin. This is the plant that drew the attention of the NLRB’s former Acting GC when Boeing shifted work to this non-union plant from a unionized plant in Washington state. This loss certainly doesn’t help the case of unionism generally, which continues to bleed membership across the board.
Speaking of the NLRB, its General Counsel, Richard Griffin, Jr. (D), is busy as his term enters its twilight. Most recently, the GC’s office released a memorandum directing the regional offices in the proper handling of complaints regarding discretionary discipline, which the NLRB held in August last year were a mandatory subject of bargaining for unionized employers. At the beginning of the month, the GC’s office released a memorandum on labor law issues in colleges and universities. The biggest highlight was the GC’s position that Division I scholarship athletes are “employees” under the NLRA.
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