Click here to download a PDF of the Labor & Employment Law Alert, NLRB Sues Arizona over Union Elections"
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has sued the State of Arizona seeking to invalidate a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing workers the right to hold a secret-ballot election before a company can be unionized. Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) private-sector workers can choose a union by two methods: They may vote in a secret-ballot election conducted by the NLRB, or they may persuade an employer to voluntarily recognize a union after showing majority support by signed authorization cards. The former is much more common, and the failed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) legislation had sought to take away the secret ballot, leading to Arizona’s and other states’ efforts to address the issue at the state level. The NLRB argues that the amendment conflicts with federal labor law and is therefore preempted by the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.
In addition to suing Arizona, NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon advised the Attorneys General of three other states with similar amendments – South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah – that the new provisions were in conflict with the NLRA. The agency intends to initiate litigation against South Dakota in the coming weeks, while suggesting it might sue the remaining states at a later time.
The NLRB's lawsuit is just another example of the aggressive and pro-union positions being espoused by the NLRB. Last week, the NLRB filed a controversial lawsuit against Boeing Company. That lawsuit claims that Boeing placed an assembly line in South Carolina—a right to work state—in retaliation for previous strikes and labor instability Boeing had been subjected to in Washington State. More information about the Boeing lawsuit can be accessed at http://www.btlaw.com/labor-employment-law-alert-nlrb-boeing/.
To obtain more information, please contact the Barnes & Thornburg Labor and Employment attorney with whom you work, or a leader of the firm’s Labor and Employment Law Department in the following offices: Kenneth J. Yerkes, Chair (317) 231-7513; John T.L. Koenig, Atlanta (404) 264-4018; Norma W. Zeitler, Chicago (312) 214-8312; William A. Nolan, Columbus (614) 628-1401; Eric H.J. Stahlhut, Elkhart (574) 296-2524; Mark S. Kittaka, Fort Wayne (260) 425-4616; Michael A. Snapper, Grand Rapids (616) 742-3947; Peter A. Morse, Indianapolis (317) 231-7794; Scott J. Witlin, Los Angeles (310) 284-3777; Tina Syring-Petrocchi, Minneapolis (612) 367-8705; Janilyn Brouwer Daub, South Bend (574) 237-1139; and Teresa L. Jakubowski, Washington, D.C. (202) 371-6366. Visit us online at www.btlaw.com/laborandemploymentlaw.
© 2011 Barnes & Thornburg LLP. All Rights Reserved. This page, and all information on it, is proprietary and the property of Barnes & Thornburg LLP. It may not be reproduced, in any form, without the express written consent of Barnes & Thornburg.
This Barnes & Thornburg LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.