Union Organizing and Collective Bargaining

Bass, Berry & Sims attorneys Tim Garrett and Dustin Carlton authored the article “Analyzing Recent NFL Scandals: Is Some Conduct Ever ‘Off Duty’?” that was published by InsideCounsel on December 4. In the article, the authors discuss recent allegations involving off-duty behavior of NFL players and how the league responded to the behavior. The authors

Bass, Berry & Sims attorneys Tim Garrett and Dustin Carlton authored the article “NLRB’s Expansive View: The Northwestern ‘Football’ Ruling and Why Inside Counsel Should Care,” that was published by InsideCounsel on November 13. In the article, the authors discuss how the recent NLRB decision in the Northwestern University case may indicate a broader approach

In a short ruling issued Thursday, April 24, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) granted Northwestern University’s request for review of a regional director’s decision that Northwestern football players are primarily employees and therefore can be represented by a union.  Readers will recall the extensive discussion triggered first by a petition for representation filed in

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Regional Director has set April 25 as the date for the union vote for Northwestern University’s scholarship football players.  As readers of this blog will recall, that vote will determine whether the scholarship football players elect the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) as their bargaining representative.  It is still not

Is this the beginning of the end of college football as we know it?  Some argue that the end already has begun, with the “big money” of television and the corresponding commercialization prevalent in the sport.  Some argue that in today’s major college football and basketball, the phrase “student-athlete” is a misnomer.

Has the end begun?  Perhaps, but as predicted below, look for a legislative initiative to be triggered.
Continue Reading Further Reflections on Unions in College Football – Is “student athlete” a misnomer?

Readers of this blog will recall our post on January 30 of this year, found here, regarding the effort by certain Northwestern University football players to unionize scholarship players on the team.  Many pundits (including this one) predicted that even this National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would not find that the players were employees.  Wrong (at least so far)! 
Continue Reading NLRB Regional Director Finds that Scholarship Football Players at Northwestern are Employees, not “Primarily Students” and Orders Union Election

Much speculation abounds regarding why workers at the Volkswagen (VW) plant in Chattanooga rejected the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) in a recent vote.  Factors appeared to be aligning in favor of the UAW, such as

  • Statements of support for the union from VW representatives in Germany.
  • Access to the plant for union organizers.
  • Promise of a “works council” type approach to unionization.


Continue Reading VW Aftermath – Factors Still Favor Non-Union South

A group of football players at Northwestern University has teamed with the United Steelworkers Union and formed a labor union, the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA).  What’s more, the players have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), at its regional office in Chicago, to have CAPA recognized as the players’ exclusive bargaining representative in negotiations with the players’ “employer.”
Continue Reading College Football and Labor Law? Let the Debate Begin

Some employers use last chance agreements (“LCA”), particularly in union settings, to allow hourly employees “one last chance” to improve performance.  In return, the employee waives the right to use the union’s grievance and arbitration process if later termination is due to continued failure to improve performance or due to another policy violation.  Employers will explain that the employee otherwise would be terminated, but can remain employed in return for signing this “one last chance” agreement; if the employee fails to sign the LCA, the employee will be terminated for the underlying violation which led the employer to offer the LCA.

Some employers also require employees to release statutory civil rights in an LCA.  As an employer recently learned, this practice is hazardous and can lead to significant liability.

Continue Reading Last Chance Agreements – Asking for Waiver of Discrimination Claims Perilous

The National Labor Relations Board’s recent attempt to change its union election rules has been halted by a federal district court in Washington, D.C. The Court ruled that the attempted changes were not valid because the vote to approve the rules occurred when the Board did not have a quorum (Chamber of Commerce v. NLRB, D.D.C., No. 11-cv-2262, 5/14/12).

Interestingly, the decision hinged on what is sufficient “participation” in an electronic vote to satisfy quorum requirements. Board member Brian E. Hayes did not vote or take any action in the December 16, 2011 electronic vote. Is that like being present but abstaining, and thus counting toward a quorum? No, said the Court. Hayes was only sent the notification calling for a vote; he did not vote or even abstain. His silence was as if he was not in attendance at an in-person meeting, and thus, no quorum was present for the election rules to have been properly adopted.

Continue Reading Federal Court Halts Board’s Changes in Election Rules