NLRB reconsiders construction collective bargaining rules
- As it considers an appeal in a collective bargaining case, the National Labor Relations Board has issued a Notice and Invitation to File Briefs as to the issue of whether it should revisit and/or overturn existing construction-industry precedents.
- The issue at hand revolves around what is required of a union to prove that a pre-hire relationship with a contractor has been transformed into a full relationship, according to Bloomberg. A construction company can withdraw from a pre-hire relationship once a labor contract expires but needs majority employee support to withdraw once it has been converted to an agreement under Section 9(a) of the National Labor Relations Act. A union can achieve 9(a) status by proving it obtained recognition from the employer and by proving or offering to prove that it has the backing of the majority of employees (Staunton Fuel & Material, Inc.).
- In the case now under review, Loshaw Thermal Technology is asking the NLRB to require that unions show "that they have majority employee support before being granted 9(a) status." The company is also asking the board to overturn another precedent (Casale Industries, Inc.) that limits the time companies can challenge a 9(a) status determination to six months. Those interested in submitting a brief have until Oct. 26 to do so.
There has been an industry focus on collective bargaining agreements recently as the work covered by these agreements in two major metros came to a near standstill.
In Seattle, members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302 went on strike for more than two weeks while they tried to hammer out an area-wide collective bargaining agreement with the Associated General Contractors of Washington, which represents many contractors doing business in the area. The two parties came to a preliminary agreement after Local announced it had struck direct agreements with more than 30 contractors. Union member votes on the new contract will be tallied on Sept. 28.
In Michigan, including the Detroit metro area, the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association, which negotiates and manages collective bargaining agreements on behalf of some of its members, ordered the lockout of a reported 2,000 operating engineers from Local 324, but Crain's Detroit Business reported that 1,000 workers are currently not working due to the parties' failure to reach an agreement. The association represents about 40 road and highway contractors. Representatives of Local 324 have expressed an interest in negotiating directly with employers, but, in the meantime, some contractors have brought in out-of-state or non-union workers to take up the slack.
Follow Kim Slowey on Twitter