As of August 1, companies doing business in Mexico can anticipate that unions will move quickly to legitimize existing collective agreements under a new government-issued protocol. Among other steps, the process includes a vote by covered employees to determine whether they approve the terms of the agreement. Collective agreements must be legitimized by May 1,
(With thanks to our colleagues in Mexico for this alert.)
On January 25, 2019, more than 45,000 employees from 45 different manufacturing sites in Matamoros, Tamaulipas initiated a strike, which was allegedly incited by an activist outside the region. Their demands were a 20% salary increase and a significant increase in annual bonus to MXN $32,251.40 (about USD $1,600) per employee.
(Thank you to our Baker McKenzie colleagues in Mexico for sharing this alert.)
As a result of a change in government leadership and recently signed laws and treaties, companies in Mexico now have an important “to do” for 2019: prepare to review any unions that are “on the books” and assess compliance in this new environment.
What are “White Unions”?
- White Unions in Mexico are usually employer-friendly unions that — due to current legislation deficiencies — can effectively bar entry of other unions who might otherwise attempt to gain a foothold in the workplace. They have little to no actual membership and do not actively represent workers. Historically, any union could petition for unionization without the need to prove the support of workers.
A recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board left experienced labor practitioners scratching their heads. In Tschiggfrie Properties Ltd. v. NLRB, a three-member panel of the Eighth Circuit did more.
The panel vacated the NLRB’s decision in a case involving an employee who was fired for abusing his employer’s Wi-Fi and for sleeping
Mark Twain famously said: “Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.” So it is true with reports that employers can breathe easier with the new Trump National Labor Relations Board.
The recent decision in Circus Circus Casinos Inc. is a stark reminder that even as the mid-term elections in the Trump presidency approach, the
Manufacturers and retailers that have long relied on a complex web of contractors and subcontractors to supply necessary parts and materials may face a new risk. A recent decision limiting the effectiveness of a no-strike clause in a collective bargaining agreement may create an additional risk to that supply chain, if not to the employer’s own uninterrupted operations.
- Most CBAs contain some form of a no-strike clause. They are intended to protect against any interruption to production due to labor unrest during the term of the agreement.
- The Supreme Court has long deemed a strike in violation of a no-strike clause a breach of the collective agreement which a federal district court could enjoin.
- BUT — that assumption may no longer be wholly valid as demonstrated by a recent decision by a federal district court. Just Born, Inc. v. Local Union No. 6, Bakery Workers, 2017 BL 466136 (ED Pa. 2017).
The NLRB closed out its busy week of reversing Obama-era standards in two more high-profile decisions, this time addressing the duty to bargain and bargaining unit determination (see our previous post covering work rule and joint employer standards). On Chairman Phillip Miscimarra’s final day in office, the Board’s two key decisions: (1) returned to a standard returning to broader employer rights to make unilateral changes without providing a union notice and an opportunity to bargain; and (2) eliminated the “micro-unit” bargaining unit standard that constricted employers’ ability to expand proposed bargaining units to include other employees who share a community of interest with those of the proposed unit.
Impact on Employers
The return to previous standards of unilateral change analysis will allow employers more discretion in changing terms of employment consistent with past practice. This benefit to employers most commonly arises with company-wide changes to health insurance plans. Under the previous standard, an employer could be forced to delay implementation of health insurance changes until it had provided notice to the union and an opportunity to bargain, even in the face of longstanding past practice. Many employers with medical plans covering union and non-union employees will have less interruption during open enrollment plan changes.
Elimination of the “micro-unit” standard of bargaining unit appropriateness substantially reduces a union’s ability to cherry pick favorable groups of employees to win elections. Unit determination will return to a more holistic review of shared “community of interest” rather than proceeding based on the union’s extent of organizing. Ultimately, the decision will give employers more ability to defend against union organizing campaigns and keep unions from obtaining representation through small pockets of employees amongst a larger department or facility.