On February 8, 2014, the IAM conducted runoff elections to resolve contested nominations for IAM Executive Council positions of International President, General Secretary-Treasurer and, for U.S. locals, eight General Vice Presidents. Under the IAM Constitution, local lodge members first nominate incumbents and/or challengers for open positions, followed by runoff votes if needed to determine local lodge endorsements. If challengers are endorsed at 25 or more local lodges, a union-wide general election is held. While the incumbent office holders received endorsements from more than 90 percent of local lodges reporting results, preliminary results indicate a mix of challengers received endorsements from more than 25 local lodges, exceeding the threshold for a general election. The election will take place in accordance with the IAM Constitution. The IAM is one of the largest industrial trade unions in North America and one of the few where local members directly choose the union’s top officers.
Boch Imports Inc., NLRB ALJ, No. 1-CA-83551, 1/13/14
Jan. 27 — Although an automobile dealership agreed to amend its social media policy after consultation with National Labor Relations Board staff, the company still must take affirmative steps to ensure its employees are aware of the new policy, an NLRB administrative law judge found Jan. 13 (Boch Imports Inc., NLRB ALJ, No. 1-CA-83551, 1/13/14).
The case began when an International Association of Machinists local alleged that Boch Imports Inc. of Norwood, Mass., issued overly restrictive rules in its employee handbook, according to the opinion by ALJ Joel P. Biblowitz. Among those restrictive terms was a social media policy.
The policy prohibited employees on social media platforms from sharing any information about customers, engaging in activities that “could have a negative effect” on the company, using any company logos and posting any videos or photos taken in the workplace.
Boch Imports argued that the allegations regarding the social media policy were moot after the employee handbook was updated in May 2013.
Citing Passavant Memorial Area Hospital, 237 N.L.R.B. 138, 98 LRRM 1492 (1978), the ALJ found that NLRB rulings hold that disavowal of earlier unlawful statements do not always remove the need for remedial action, particularly if there are no assurances made that the employer will not interfere with employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act in the future.
“It requires little discussion to find” that many of the employer's social media policies clearly violate the NLRA “as employees would reasonably construe these provisions as preventing them from discussing their conditions of employment with their fellow employees, radio and television stations,” the ALJ found, citing Karl Knauz Motors Inc., 358 N.L.R.B. 164, 194 LRRM 1041 (2012) (191 DLR A-5, 10/2/12).
The ALJ ordered Boch Imports to post a notice explaining that the employer handbook was updated and to refrain from issuing or enforcing any overly broad rules that violate Section 7 of the NLRA. Section 7, 29 U.S.C. § 157, protects both union activities and the right of nonunion employees “to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.”
NLRB attorneys Daniel Fein and Karen Hickey in Boston represented the agency. Thomas J. McAndrew, of Thomas J. McAndrew & Assocs., in Providence, R.I., represented Boch Imports.
While working the line at Harley-Davidson’s factory in York, Pa., Mark Dettinger noticed a small problem. The plastic piece that held electrical parts to the front of a motorcycle, a piece about the size of a hardcover book, wasn’t fitting correctly. Every time a new bike came down the line, it took a few extra shoves to push it into place. In fact, it took an extra 1.2 seconds. But Dettinger, who had spent some 20 years at the York plant, knew that every second counted. With 400 motorcycles built each shift, on two shifts a day, an extra 1.2 seconds per bike added up to 2,200 lost bikes annually. Millions could be lost in revenue. Maybe it wasn’t such a small problem.
As Congress inches toward proposing legislation that would arguably enable the most significant changes to private pension law in decades, opposition from organized labor is slowly mounting. In addition to the Machinists, the first union to come out strongly against the proposal, the Teamsters, Steelworkers and Boilermakers are now raising concerns. The wave of rebelling unions marks the most significant opposition that the proposal, which enjoys bipartisan support among the most influential members of the House Education and Workforce Committee, has yet to encounter.