Thursday, October 4

We Didn't Realize the NLRB was THAT Management Friendly...

Getting off the bus to get to work this morning, there was a giant, inflatable rat outside an office building in the loop. This is not that unusual (especially here in the Chi), it just means a union is striking outside a job site.

Some things about this particular strike seemed odd, though. For one thing, the picketers were in collared shirts and slacks - some were wearing suits. We don't know of any unions with strike-wear dress codes (though there may be something to that...). Then there was the fact that the strike was outside the University Club building - which is a typical breakfast meeting/cle event locale for attorneys...

Then we noticed the signs - "NLRB: Practice What You Preach."

That's right, folks - the National Labor Relations Board Union is currently picketing the NLRB for failure to recognize it as a certified bargaining unit. Right now, all we've got is the strike flyer, so our information is understandably one-sided (and scant)[ed. note: see updates below]. But we have an email in to the Union directors and we're going to try to contact someone at the Board to get a reaction.

Here's what we know:
[ed. note - see new post here]
- This appears to be a national issue - the flyer quotes Ronald Meisburg, the NLRB General Counsel, as saying "I am refusing to bargain over conditions of employment." (which, whoa - hopefully not, you know? That's pretty much the ballgame)
- The FLRA did apparently certify a bargaining unit, and they did issue a ULP against the Board (that's irony, right?) - according to the union flyer.

If there's something else you know - or want to know - put it in the comments or email us, and we'll get on it.

[UPDATE: 10:23 am] - A little google searching led us to this Press Release from August that we think is the foundation for today's activity. Apparently the NLRB Union petitioned the FLRA to combine some previously separate units, which it did. Then GC Meisburg emailed employees saying he wouldn't bargain with the newly combined unit. The union picketed (we think in New York) in August. The Release goes on to promise more:

Union sources said this would not be the last demonstration demanding
Meisburg’s resignation. They indicated that the Union has plans to picket
at other public events Meisburg attends and will continue until he either
resigns or agrees to obey the law.

So is that why they're at the University Club? Is GC Meisburg gracing us in the Windy City with his presence? Looks like we may have to crash a party or two this morning...

[UPDATE: 11:44 am] - Ok. We've been doing some digging, and it seems like maybe we're a little late to this party. The Union's picketed in a few places, and caused the New Jersey regional office to cancel its 50th Birthday celebration in September by promising to picket Meisburg's presence at the event. Bob Gilson at FedSmith (where we found the Press Release) has a series of articles explaining the history of this sordid, labor law love-triangle, which is 90% assured of making its way into court. Needless to say, we're on pins and needles.

Expect a full post on this mess later in the day.
[UPDATE: Ok, so later in the day actually means four days later or so, but here's the promised post, for those still interested.] Any more updates on today's picketing will be tacked on here.

The text of the strike flyer appears after the jump.

Here's the Text of the Flyer:

National Labor Relations Board
Refuses to Obey Federal Labor Law

On August 19, 2007, the Federal Labor Relations Authority issued an unfair labor practice complaint alleging that the National Labor Relations Board violated its obligation under federal labor law to bargain with the National Labor Relations Board Union, the union of NLRB employees, in the bargaining unit certified by the FLRA.

- Refuses to recognize the certified bargaining unit of its own employees
- Refuses to bargain with the Union
- Ignores FLRA decision
- Violates federal labor law

NLRB General Counsel Ronald Meisburg, the chief enforcer of the National Labor RElations Act, told its employees, "I am refusing to bargain over conditions of employment." He has told employees that he will not obey the federal labor law. He has said that he will refuse to bargain with the Union in the bargaining unit certified by the FLRA.

The NLRB is violating the law by refusing to bargain with the Union. If the NLRB does not honor the rights of its own employees, how can employees count on the Board to protect THEIR rights?



Updates will come before the jump.