Strong labor peace agreements are one of the best ways to protect the good jobs our communities need. With new guidance from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) impacting these agreements, the International’s Legal Department is helping locals understand the implications. The new NLRB memo (Memorandum GC 20-13) describes potential legal changes the NLRB could implement that would undermine neutrality or labor peace agreements.
Here are a few key points from the Legal Department regarding this memo:
First, it is important to understand that the General Counsel’s memo does not change existing NLRB law allowing companies and unions to enter into labor peace agreements or automatically invalidate existing labor peace agreements.
Congress did not give the General Counsel of the NLRB authority to change the law alone. Unless a majority of the members of the NLRB issue a new decision adopting the General Counsel’s suggestions, the changes the General Counsel proposed will not become law or have any binding effect.
Second, the NLRB’s General Counsel acknowledges that under current law, most of the terms that usually appear in neutrality agreements are valid, lawful, and enforceable in court.
The memo suggests changing the law to make it unlawful for labor peace agreements to:
- provide union organizers access to company property;
- allow union organizers to solicit, talk to, or ask workers to sign cards during working time;
- provide unions with workers’ contact information; or
- express company support for a specific union.
The memo also suggests changing the law to make it unlawful for a company and a union to agree on certain working conditions before the union shows that it represents a majority of the workers.
Importantly, the General Counsel does not suggest that it is unlawful for companies to agree to be neutral in an organizing campaign. The General Counsel also does not argue that it is unlawful for a union to promise that “the union will not itself call or cause a strike” in a neutrality agreement.
If you are negotiating a new neutrality or labor peace agreement, please make sure to check with your local attorneys or the International Legal Department about the provisions and language you use or include in the agreement.
If you are dealing with any NLRB charges involving a neutrality or labor peace agreement, please make sure to to have your Region Director notify the International Legal Department as soon as possible. It is important to keep labor peace agreement issues away from the Trump NLRB so that it will never have the opportunity to adopt the General Counsel’s suggestions. Please have your Region Director contact Amanda Jaret (firstname.lastname@example.org) about any NLRB issues.