NLRB Intiative Helps Crack Down on Unionbusting, Illegal Firings

From In These Times:

By Mike Elk
Friday Apr 15, 2011

Effort will continue, as federal mediation agency avoids major budget cuts

A few months ago, I profiled Lafe Solomon‘s appointment as General Counsel to the National Labor Relations Board, which handles disputes between unions and management, among other things. As General Counsel, he can speed up and provide quick remediation for employees illegally fired during union organizing drives.

Solomon has already make big waves in changing how the NLRB operates.

On December 20, 2010, Solomon announced an initiative to ask the NLRB’s regional offices to more quickly identify cases where someone has been fired during an organized drive. According to a press release, remedies should be crafted to “recreate an atmosphere that allows employees to fully utilize their statutory right to exercise their free choice.” The memo authorizes regional offices to include in complaints and in petitions seeking temporary injunctions from federal courts, appropriate remedies such as a reading of the Board’s remedial notice, or allowing union access to workplace bulletin boards and providing names and addresses of employees.”

One of the key features of this initiative has been to seek temporary injunctions in federal court against employers’ illegally firing, and to seek them quickly when they are needed. 10(j) injunctions are effective because they return workplaces to the status quo while the NLRB is considering the case.

The Board process is cumbersome and can take almost a year for some cases of unfair firings during an organizing campaign to make their way through the process. Going to federal court for a 10(j) injunction allows the firing to be halted until it can make its way through the NLRB progress.

If somebody gets fired in a workplace during an organizing campaign, it sends chills throughout the whole campaign. Under the normal NLRB process, it would go through a long process that could take over a year. Under Solomon’s new initiative, the NLRB would more regularly ask a judge to give a temporary order so that he could get his job back while the case is going through the NLRB. This helps organizing drive, because it makes it harder for employers to intimidate workers as easily.

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