Archives: Labor Relations

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A Troubling Future Part One:  Teamsters’ Pension Rescue Plan

  Two significant developments in the multi-employer pension world emerged in September, developments which could give manufacturers concern.  While this is not the time to panic (we have plenty of time to panic), readers should take notice. Development number one was the filing on September 25 of the Teamsters’ Central States Pension “Rescue Plan” to … Continue Reading

Heralding Wholesale Changes for Manufacturers, Labor Board Revamps “Joint Employer” Test

Just in time for Labor Day, the National Labor Relations Board handed organized labor a great gift and potentially disrupted the business and labor relationships of thousands of American manufacturers. On August 27, 2015, a divided Labor Board ruled 3-2 that Browning-Ferris Industries was the “joint employer” of workers supplied by a third-party.  Browning-Ferris Industries, … Continue Reading

Raising Manufacturing Employees’ Wages? Consider the Unintended Consequences

The political discourse focusing on the wage disparity between the rich and the poor has led to efforts to raise the minimum wage for American workers.  Today, more than half the states have minimum wages above the Federal minimum wage, and effective July 1, 2015, the District of Columbia crossed the $10 per hour threshold … Continue Reading

Proposed DOL Rulemaking Means Uncertainty for Manufacturers

On June 30, 2015, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comments on a proposal to raise the salary threshold for the so-called “white-collar” exemptions from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to an expected $970 per week ($50,440 annually), as projected by the DOL for 2016. The DOL … Continue Reading

Even More Reason for Manufacturers to Update Their Employment Agreements

In an increasingly competitive landscape, a manufacturer’s significant employees may hold the “keys to the kingdom.” Loss of such a worker to a competitor could have a substantial impact on future business growth. Many manufacturers invest significant resources to keep key employees and, by doing so, preserve their market advantage.  Strategic use of employment agreements, … Continue Reading

Teamster Plan to Cut Pensions Presents Significant Issues for Manufacturers

In April, the Teamsters Central States Pension Fund (“Central States”) announced its intention to cut the benefits of retired workers under the recently enacted 2014 Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (“MEPRA”). I previously blogged about the MEPRA in December. There I noted that, for those financially stressed pension plans seeking protection, the process for implementing benefit … Continue Reading

The Year of Change Continues: New NLRB Election Rules Take Effect April 14

Barring a last minute surprise (and this writer is not betting on anything), the National Labor Relations Board’s new union representation case rules will take effect April 14. Capping a lengthy campaign to revamp the process by which manufacturers (and other employers) may be compelled to recognize and bargain with unions, the NLRB’s new rules … Continue Reading

A View From the Foxhole: The Practical Side of the NLRB’s New Election Rules

Having recently completed my latest National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) post-election representation hearing, I found myself contemplating the impact of the NLRB’s new election rules (which some have dubbed the “Quickie Election Rules”). Whether you love them (as most labor unions and labor practitioners seem to do) or hate them (which seems to be the … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Strikes Down Presumption of Lifetime Retiree Medical Benefits

The New Year holiday is barely over and 2015 has delivered its first significant development affecting manufacturers and their labor unions.  On January 26, 2015, in M&G Polymers U.S.A. v. Tackett, a unanimous United States Supreme Court took the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to the woodshed with the wholesale repudiation of its thirty-year old … Continue Reading

Five 2015 Labor and Employment Predictions for Manufacturers

The second half of 2014 was a whirlwind of activity on the labor and employment front, and I expect that trend to continue in 2015 with manufacturers having to navigate the rapids created by these developments. The United States Supreme Court will be called on to address the Constitutionality of state medical and recreational marijuana … Continue Reading

The Gift-Giving Season? Three “Game-Changing” Employment Developments Impacting Manufacturers

The approaching holidays may have put Congress, the National Labor Relations Board and the United States Supreme Court in the “gift-giving” mood.  In the last week, three significant developments occurred which may radically affect manufacturers in 2015. On December 11, in Purple Communications, a divided National Labor Relations Board ruled that employees had a statutory … Continue Reading

The Liability Risks of Temporary Employees

Last week, Pam addressed the issue of temporary workers from an EHS perspective.  Now, in this installment of one of our “360” posts, I’ll comment on the liability risks of having temporary employees. First, an introductory note.  I understand from my conversations with manufacturing executives that many companies need to use staffing agencies in order to locate skilled workers.  In most cases, companies … Continue Reading

Temporary Workers: Properly Sharing Control Is Key To The Relationship

  Manufacturers are increasingly using temporary employees (“temps”) to supplement the work force.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the temporary workforce has increased exponentially.  Manufacturers  previously used temps as a stopgap for labor, but are now routinely using temps to supplement the workforce.  Our 360 post this week touches on the issues associated … Continue Reading

Unionized or Nonunionized, How Might the NLRB’s Recent Activity Impact Employers?

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has increased its focus on employer policies and practices – nonunion and union alike – that could be read to “chill” employees’ rights to engage in protected, concerted activity.  Hot button issues, based on a recent NLRB General Counsel Memo issued last month, include:  whether employees should have a … Continue Reading

NLRB Proposes Rules To Provide More Employee Information To Unions And To Speed Up The Election Process

On February 4th, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced revisions to certain labor representation rules that would significantly impact both nonunionized and unionized manufacturers.  Although these rules are proposed and not considered final, manufacturing companies should pay close attention as the agency rulemaking process moves forward this year. The revisions that the NLRB is … Continue Reading

New Proposed Recordkeeping Regs from OSHA, and a Friendly Reminder on the ADA

Two short posts today – new proposed regs, and a reminder Pam: OSHA is proposing significant changes to the recordkeeping associated with injuries and illnesses.  OSHA is proposing a rule that will require electronic reporting on a much more frequent basis.  First, OSHA is proposing that workplaces more than 250 employees who are already required … Continue Reading

Impact of NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin’s Appointment

The U.S. Senate recently appointed Richard Griffin to be the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel.  The significance of this appointment should not be overlooked.  The general counsel is the person responsible for investigating and deciding which labor laws to prosecute.  Griffin will therefore have primary authority in establishing the Board’s agenda.  With Griffin’s pro-union … Continue Reading

Legal Issues To Consider When Purchasing Assets From Another Manufacturer

The decision to purchase the assets of a manufacturer raises a host of legal issues, including labor/employment, environmental, and product liability.  We thought we would do a group post to describe the first things that come to mind for each of us when one of our clients considers such a deal. Nicole:  As a labor … Continue Reading

OSHA Fines Ohio Steel Mill $1.1 million – Calls Safety Efforts “Unacceptable.”

Last week, OSHA announced that it cited Republic Steel for 24 safety violations at one of its mills.  Fifteen of the 24 violations were willful.  The background regarding OSHA’s actions are described in the article in EHSToday, which is a useful website for anyone interested in safety issues.  David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for … Continue Reading

Three Things You May Not Have Seen: The Affordable Care Act, Supplemental Environmental Projects, And Nutritional Supplement Manufacturer Shut Down By Court Order

* The Manufacturing Law Blog provides timely commentary on issues of importance to manufacturers and distributors.  Contributors from the law firm of Robinson & Cole LLP are corporate compliance and litigation attorney, Jeff White; environmental, health and safety attorney, Pam Elkow; and labor and employment attorney, Nicole Bernabo. Each week, Chris Matthews ends his show by … Continue Reading

The Legal Response To A Workplace Accident: Part I

One of the goals of the Manufacturing Log Blog is to provide analysis of legal issues from many different vantage points.  Pam, Nicole, and I focus on different substantive areas for our clients that manufacturer or distribute products, and thus, we can effectively offer a holistic approach to issues that arise.  As a result, this … Continue Reading

Employers Be Prepared: The Little Known “Persuader Activity” Rule Could Have an Enormous Impact on Your Business

On December 21, 2012, the Department of Labor (DOL), as well as all federal agencies, released its regulatory agenda and regulatory plan.  Included in the agenda is the DOL Office of Labor-Management Standards’ (OLMS) plan to revise the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA) otherwise known as the “Persuader Activity” rule. The proposed … Continue Reading
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