Winter | 2015

2014-2015 SCVEA

 Board Of Directors

President -

Sherry DeLong


 Treasurer -

Deb Henke


 President Elect -

 Trish Norman


 Past President -

Katie Cole


 Secretary -

Patty Draxler


 Program Chair -

 Nicole Butz


 Membership Chair -

Pam Gartmann


Director -

Holly Butler


Director -

Kristin Novak


Director -

Danielle Nelson


Marketing Chair -

Kristen Wilcox


College Liaison/Director - Dori Marty

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 Presidents Note

The 2014 Volunteer Leaders' Summit Theme:  

Prepare. Change. Succeed.  


Attending the SHRM Volunteer Leaders' Summit in Washington D.C. in November was a fantastic experience. As President Elect for SCVEA I was given the opportunity to attend this event, along with current SCVEA President, Sherry DeLong. The Summit is offered by SHRM to help prepare volunteer leaders for their new roles in their local SHRM chapters or state councils. The Summit provides educational sessions and offers a platform to network and share with colleagues throughout the SHRM community.


Upon arriving in Washington D.C. we checked into our hotel and immediately left for the first event at The Flying Bridge. This roof top venue, which gave us our first glimpse of the Capitol, Union Station and the Washington Monument, was amazing. Navigating public transportation and the Metro proved to be a bit of a challenge, but Sherry and I managed with the help the GPS feature on our phones and the extremely helpful Metro employees.


The first day of the conference started early with a Capitol Hill briefing and then we were off to visit the Wisconsin State Senators, Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, as well as District 7 Representative Sean Duffy. Each year during this Summit in D.C. attendees are able to meet with members of Congress to discuss how pending workplace legislation will affect HR professionals and the businesses we represent. This year we discussed the disbarment of employers with FLSA violations and FLSA overtime regulations. It was wonderful to meet our Wisconsin Senators and their staff and to educate them on some of the issues that both SHRM and we as HR professionals are concerned about. In the afternoon we heard from President and CEO of SHRM, Henry Jackson. Jackson spoke about the "State of the Society" and changes occurring in the SHRM organization. From there we attended a welcome reception and finally ended our day with a two hour bus tour of Washington D.C. that the WI SHRM State Council had arranged for us. We toured several local attractions including Capitol Hill, the World War II Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and the White House. It was fascinating to see these beautiful memorials and images of our Capitol.


Day two brought another busy day that started with an awesome keynote by Mike Abrashoff, the former Commander of the USS Benfold, which is a ship in the U.S. Navy. Abrashoff spoke about leadership and empowering people to take ownership and improve all aspects of an organization. His "It's Our Ship" philosophy is about creating a high-performance culture where everyone shares responsibility and innovation to increase operational performance.


Following the breakout sessions we attended a lunch and the Pinnacle Awards, which recognize chapters and state councils for their innovative initiatives. It was inspiring to see how chapters across the nation are contributing to the human resource profession. Some of the winners were involved in creating training on I-9's, providing networking to young professionals, conducting food drives, establishing mentoring opportunities, creating job fairs, creating HR Resource Directories and providing professional development courses. The work of these national chapters was truly remarkable and it was fun to see each chapter receive this prestigious award. The afternoon included more breakout sessions with a volunteer celebration reception and the SHRM Foundation silent auction.


Our last day began with a breakfast meeting and then on to sessions involving effective leadership skills, leading and motivating volunteers and strategic thinking and leadership.   The three day event ended with a luncheon featuring SHRM Board Chair Bette Francis and SHRM Board Chair Designate Brian Silva discussing the role and decisions of the SHRM Board and its priorities for 2015 and 2016.


After attending this training I would encourage anyone who is interested in becoming a member or who is interested in running for a SCVEA Board position to get involved with SCVEA and attend this motivational and inspirational conference.


Both Sherry and I hope to use the information and knowledge we gained at the Summit to improve the work of SCVEA and to encourage our board and members to "Prepare. Change. Succeed." and to do what we all must do to survive-and thrive-in today's ever-changing world.


Business is changing and employers are demanding that HR professionals adapt to that change. Sherry and I look forward to working with all of you in 2015!


Trish Norman

President Elect



Membership Promotion! Join SCVEA now!


Interested in becoming a SCVEA member? 

Join now and receive your membership at a 50% discount for the remainder of the 2014-2015 year! 


Members of SCVEA receive discounted rates for professional development seminars, including programs such as the Waves of Change, Ocean of Opportunities program, presented by JA Counter and sponsored by SCVEA, on January 15th, 2015.


Click Here to Register For Our January Program:





SHRM CP/SCP Certification Prep & Study Group

March 4 - May 20, 2015

Wednesday 6-9pm


Earning your SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP™) or SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP™) credential establishes you as a recognized expert in the HR field. This certification preparation program covers four knowledge domains: People, Organization, Workplace and Strategy as well as eight behavioral competencies; Leadership & Navigation, Ethical Practice, Business Acumen, Relationship Management, Consultation, Critical Evaluation , Global & Cultural Effectiveness, and Communication. Students must also register for the SHRM CP/SCP Study Group. Total cost is $995. Study materials are included in the cost. This course is offered in collaboration with SCVEA St Croix Valley Employers Association. Spring exam window: May 1 to July 15, 2015. Registration deadline is February 18, 2015.


SHRM Essentials of HR Management

April 10 & 17, 2015

Friday 9am-4pm


SHRM Essentials of HR Management. Human resource issues impact every company in some way. That's why it's important to understand the fundamental issues surrounding HR today. SHRM, the leading global HR professional organization, has developed the SHRM Essentials of HR Management course which provides an introductory overview of the human resource function. Whether you are new to HR or if HR is one of many roles you fulfill at your company, this program, offered in partnership with SHRM, through WITC in collaboration with SCVEA St Croix Valley Employers Association covers the key HR topics you need to know. Fee covers participant materials, light breakfast, and lunch.


To register go to or call 715.246.6561 x4221. For more information contact Dori Marty at or 715.246.6561 x4207.




Last week, Christmas came early for labor unions with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) delivering some significant presents. First, the NLRB issued a decision that allows employees to use company e-mail to engage in union organizing, notwithstanding an employer's prohibition not to use such resources for non-business purposes. Second, the NLRB issued rules that will allow for quicker elections and grant unions access to more employee information. Finally, the United States Senate confirmed Lauren McFerran ("McFerran") to the NLRB. Each of these "presents" will make it easier for unions to organize and obtain favorable decisions from the NLRB.


Present #1:    

NLRB Rules Employees Can Use Employer E-Mail Systems While Off-Duty


In Purple Communications, Inc., 361 NLRB No. 26 (2014), in a 3-2 decision, the NLRB found a company policy that prohibited the use of the company's e-mail system for non work-related messages was unlawful. Specifically, the NLRB ruled that employees can use an employer's e-mail system, on non-work time, for union organizing or to otherwise engage in protected concerted activity, such as complaining about wages and benefits to co-workers. Significantly, the NLRB noted that it:


. . . will presume that employees who have rightful access to their employer's e-mail system in the course of their work have a right to the use the e-mail system to engage in Section 7 protected communications on nonworking times. An employer may rebut the presumption by demonstrating that special circumstances necessary to maintain production or discipline justify restricting its employees rights.


In issuing its decision, the NLRB noted the ruling only applies to employees who have already been granted access to the employer's e-mail system in the course of their work and does not require employers to provide such access. It also noted that it would be a rare case where special circumstances supported a total ban on non-work email use by employees. The NLRB did not address e-mail access by non-employees, such as union organizers, or the use of any other electronic communications systems provided by an employer. Finally, the NLRB also noted that its Purple Communications decision will be applied retroactively.


The decision will raise a significant number of issues for employers. For instance, while the NLRB noted that its decision did not prohibit an employer from monitoring employee computers and e-mail for legitimate business purposes, such as measuring productivity and preventing the use of e-mail for unlawful purposes, it made it clear that claims of unlawful surveillance of protected conduct could be raised. For instance, if an employer increases its monitoring during an organizing campaign and/or focuses its monitoring efforts on certain employees engaged in protected conduct, the employer would be deemed to engage in unlawful surveillance.




What It Means To Employers: This decision is likely to be appealed, but it will be some time before the courts rule on this case. In the meantime, employers should review their electronic communications policies to determine whether they are prohibiting all non-work use of company e-mail. In such a case, the policy will likely be found to violate the NLRA. An employer with non-compliant policies can be found guilty of an unfair labor practice for (1) having the policy; and/or (2) disciplining/terminating employees who violate the policy.


Present #2:

Ambush Election Rules

On December 12, 2014, the NLRB also issued its "Ambush Election" rules which will dramatically shorten the time between the filing of a petition for an election and the union election from roughly 42 days to between 10 to 24 days. While unions can spend six months to a year (or longer) attempting to organize workers, employers will have only a few weeks to address the potential consequences of unionization if the organizing efforts take place in secret. In such a case, workers will be forced to make a decision impacting their workplace without knowing all of the facts relating to unionization.

The new rule imposes a number of additional burdens on employers, including but not limited to:

  • Requiring employers to provide unions with additional employee contact information (personal home and cellular telephone number and email addresses, work locations, shifts, and classifications) in voter lists that the employer gives to the NLRB within two days of an election being directed, which in turn is then given to the union.
  • Eliminating an employer's right to challenge an employee's eligibility to vote prior to the election being held.
  • Requiring employers to identify all objections and disputes regarding the election in its "Statement of Position," filed one day prior to the pre-election hearing, and any objections or issues not raised will be waived.
  • Providing the NLRB greater discretion to dismiss an employer's post-election objections.

Given these controversial rules, a number of trade associations have announced their intent to file a lawsuit against the NLRB, challenging the ambush rules from a number of different aspects. Fortunately, since the ambush rules do not take effect until April 14, 2015, courts should have some opportunity to decide whether the rules are valid prior to their effective date.

What It Means To Employers: The amended rules will lead to quicker elections. This, in turn, means that employers will have significantly less time to educate their employees about the disadvantages of unionization as well as train their supervisors on how to lawfully respond to union organizing and tactics. Similarly, under these new rules, employers will have less of an opportunity to challenge the fairness of a union election. Given the constraints of the ambush rules, employers should begin to educate their supervisors on how they can legally respond to union organizing. Employers should also consider educating employees on the disadvantages of unionization --- before a campaign even commences.  


Present #3:

New NLRB Member:

Last week, in a party-line vote of 54-40, the United States Senate also confirmed Lauren McFerran ("McFerran") for a three year term to replace Nancy Schiffler (D), whose term with the NLRB expired on December 16. If Schiffler had not been replaced, the NLRB's pro-union agenda would have been stifled as it would have consisted of two Democrats and two Republicans heading into 2015 when the Republicans will control the Senate. As a former staffer for both Senators Ted Kennedy (D) and Tom Harkin (D), most believe McFerran will continue the NLRB's pro-labor agenda.  


What it Means to Employers: As a result of McFerran's appointment, for the foreseeable future (i.e., August 27, 2016), the majority of the NLRB's members will be considered friendly to the union causes. As a result, employers can continue to expect the NLRB to issue decisions designed to improve unions' ability to organize workers and lead to more unfair labor practices being filed against employers.


For more information on this article, please contact the author, Tom Revnew, at, 952-921-4622 or any attorney at Seaton, Peters & Revnew.