the 2022 Broadcasting, Manufacturing, and Telecommunications Conference held
the week of March 7th in San Antonio, TX
Third Circuit Court of Appeals Rejects RICO Charges Against Union
In the case of Care One Mgmt. v. United Healthcare Workers East, the employer claimed that the union had engaged in practices which violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The employer’s argument was that the union’s corporate campaign against them was an attempt at extortion to force them to recognize the union and provide better wages and benefits to its employees. Specifically, it charged that the union engaged in a public campaign attacking its business and labor practices, lobbied government officials to investigate their customer billing practices, and damaged and vandalized their equipment. The employer claimed that these actions harmed them financially and that the union was using the threat of continued actions in an effort to blackmail them. First, the court found that State’s Attorney had investigated the employer’s claim regarding the damaged equipment and did not find evidence to charge any union officials. The court also found that claims that the union’s corporate campaign against them amounted to extortion weren’t legitimate and therefore RICO doesn’t apply. This ruling should be helpful since employers have recently started using this RICO tactic to intimidate unions from engaging in legitimate efforts to pressure employers to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions.
NLRB Considers Changing the Independent Contractor Standard
The NLRB is currently considering revamping the current standard which is used to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. In 2019, the Trump Board made it very difficult for a worker to claim to be an employee if their employer classified them as an independent contractor. The Board’s notice says that they will consider going back to the pre-Trump standard or they may create a new standard regarding how a worker can be classified as an independent contractor.
2022 BMT-March 7th through March 11th in San Antonio, TX
2022 Fall Council Meetings-October 24th through October 28th in St. Pete Beach, FL
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About The Telecommunications Department:
Since its invention in the 1870’s, the telephone has become essential to our everyday life. Over the last 150 years, technology has revolutionized how we communicate with the rest of the world. Beginning in 1897 with the first local union of telephone operators, the IBEW has always been committed to servicing and advancing the telecommunications industry.
IBEW members are involved in all aspects of the field from telephone, to cable and satellite television, to wireless systems. Employees erect telephones lines, run lines into buildings, lay cables, install, maintain, and repair equipment, and service the community. As new means of communications are developed, they will continue to grow with the industry.
Through negotiated collective bargaining agreements with communications companies across the United States and Canada, the IBEW Telecommunications Department ensures that the rights of its 50,000 members are protected and that their interests are represented.It also helps strengthen local unions through training, research, and organizing.
NLRB Rules Employer Must Supply Subcontractor Agreements to the Union
The NLRB has issued an award in the DirectSat v. IBEW 21 case ruling in the Union’s favor. The award requires DirectSat to supply the Union will a “full, unredacted” copy of its contract with DirecTV (referred to as a “Home Service Provider” agreement). The Board said that because DirectSat made a proposal which referenced this Home Service Provider agreement, the Union was clearly entitled to it.
NLRB Overturns Union Organizing Win for Minor Voting Delay
In the attached unpublished NLRB ruling (Bronx Lobster v. Machinists), the Board overturned the majority vote of employees of Bronx Lobster who voted 14 to 12 to unionize. The rationale for setting aside the vote was that there was a 7 minute delay in opening the polls. There were 4 employees in the unit who didn’t vote. The Board ruled that even though there was absolutely no evidence that the delay caused any of these 4 not to vote, it still had the “potential” to “disenfranchise” these 4 employees. The Board used this to justify ruling against the union since had those 4 employees voted against the union, the employer would have prevailed. Interestingly, the Board Agent running the election was the one who caused the 7 minute delay.
NLRB Rules Union Does Have a Right to “Overscale” Wage Contracts
The Denver Musicians’ Association has a contract with the Colorado Symphony that allows individual musicians to negotiate a wage rate above the rates in the CBA. After an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate a higher wage with the employer, one of the musicians filed a complaint with the Union because she believed the employer’s offer was unfair and was less than wages being paid to other male musicians. The Union requested a copy of all “overscale” contracts from the employer. The employer refused on the basis that the Union waived its right to information because it agreed to allow individual employees to negotiate their own wages. The Board ruled that a waiver of any bargaining rights by the Union (which includes the right to information) must be “clear and unmistakable” and cannot be inferred because the Union waived its right to bargain “overscale” wages.