Fall 2013 is here and now the holidays are quickly approaching. But. while some of us were lucky enough to take time to enjoy the summer and hopefully some vacation time, the world of Labor Relations and new challenges to management continued.
As the result of several developments and events in the past few months, Union and Non-Union employers will continue to face new issues this year.
Just a few of the Employee and Labor Relations issues that we have been tracking and working with clients on include the following:
OBAMACARE is here!
In spite of a vigorous national debate and conflicting poll results and predictions, the President's Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is finally ready to directly impact on workplaces throughout the country when Insurance "Exchanges" are scheduled to open up.
On October 1, 2013 all employers have the obligation of complying with the mandate of the new law whereby employees must receive formal notification of their Health Care options.
The Department of Labor has issued many informational memos and Notices regarding this complex issue including acceptable samples of the notice to the employees, which must be distributed by October 1st.
You can download the DOL approved "Model" versions of this notice including versions in multiple languages from the DOL webpage by clicking here.
The appropriate version of an approved form must be issued to employees regardless of whether their companies offer health insurance benefits or not.
The current makeup of the NLRB was finally settled and the for the first time in 10 years the Labor Board now has a full contingency of members with a makeup of 3 democrats and 2 republicans.
It is no surprise that the new appointees from the President's own party bring a long history of pro-union inclinations and biases. This fact will only lead to a continuation of labor friendly initiatives and rulings by the NLRB during the remaining term of this administration.
These include: Quickie Elections, Micro Units (see the recent, Kendrick Nursing Centers vs. NLRB case here) a broader definition of "Protected Concerted Activities" in Union and Non-Union Workplaces, etc.
New Issues and Topics at the NLRB:
There's an App for that!
Following the the failure of the NLRB to impose the mandatory display of its "pro-union" poster in all workplaces, the Board has taken a new approach towards it's goal of ensuring that all Union and Non Union employees are informed of their "Right to have a union" when it launched its new smart phone app on August 30th.
NLRB chairman mark Gaston Pearce stated the matter unambiguously when he wrote in a press release ( which you can read here)
" With this app, we are using 21st Century technology to inform and educate the public about the law and their rights."
|AFL-CIO 2013 Convention - President Richard Trumka Keynote Speech|
The AFL CIO held its 2013 convention last month promising to focus on a renewed approach to increase its declining membership and strengthen its alliances with non traditional groups and with union friendly politicians and gov't agencies especially with the Department of Labor and its new Director Thomas Perez who was a key speaker at the convention.
After declaring that he felt " Very much at home " at the union convention, Mr. Perez spoke in detail about his Department's agenda and how it coincides with the goals of the union movement.
A video of Mr. Perez' speech to the convention can be seen here
NEW UNIONS ON THE HORIZON
The AFL-CIO also revealed a new approach to increasing it's influence and its ranks by announcing it's willingness to accept individual non-labor union members and new alliances with the new face of unionism known as "Worker Centers" such as National Guestworker Alliance or Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha ( Center for Workers Unified in the Fight ).
The declared goal of the AFL-CIO is ....1 MILLION NEW MEMBERS!
The EEOC and it's new focus on Pregnancy Discrimination.
In spite of various State and Federal laws already prohibiting it, last year the EEOC still received over 3,700 pregnancy related discrimination complaints in 2012. According to statistics published by the agency a record numer of pregnancy discrimination cases were submitted and resolved last year which led to recovering more than $14 million in settlements for victims.
Conclusions and Recommendations:
No doubt, Unions and government agencies will continue to present significant new challenges to employers during the balance of 2013 and beyond.
In order to reduce and prevent costly problems, we continue to strongly suggest preventative and proactive steps to identify underlying issues.
Employee Opinion Surveys and Supervisor (Management) training are still very reliable and effective tools for identifying and preferably preventing labor and employee relations issues at unionized and nonunion workplaces.
Give me a call and let's talk about how we can put our 30+ years of experience and our diverse team of consultants to design some unique ideas that will work for you.
I look forward to hearing from you and being of service.
EMSI Consulting Inc.
Multilingual Management Consultants