Wyatt Employment Law Report

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Supreme Court Dismisses Case Involving Employer Neutrality Agreement

By Edwin S. Hopson

U.S. Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. ...

U.S. Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

On December 10, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order in UNITE HERE Local 355 v. Mulhall, 571 U.S. ___ (2013), No. 12-99, dismissing the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted.  The case involved the question of whether an employer who agrees with a union (1) to remain neutral should the union seek to organize its employees, (2) that the union will be given access (for organizing purposes) to nonpublic areas of the company’s premises, and (3) that the union will receive a list of employees’ names and contact information, is in violation of the Labor Management Relations Act.  This statute makes it a crime for an employer “to pay, lend, or deliver, or agree to pay, lend, or deliver, any money or other thing of value” to a union that represents or seeks to represent the company’s employees.  29 U.S.C. §186(a)(2).  The lower court, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, had held that such commitments by the company violated the LMRA.

The Supreme Court had already received briefs in the case and had heard oral argument before it decided to dismiss the case without deciding it.  Three Justices, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan, dissented and argued that the Court should have kept the case and requested additional briefing on several issues.

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Major Unions Join the Chorus Seeking Changes to the Affordable Care Act

By Edwin S. Hopson

According to the Wall Street Journal, three major unions, Teamsters, UFCW and UNITE-HERE, have written a letter to Senate Majority, Leader Harry Reid, and Democratic Leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi, complaining:

“Since the ACA was enacted, we have been bringing our deep concerns to the Administration, seeking reasonable regulatory interpretations to the statute that would help prevent the destruction of non-profit health plans. As you both know first-hand, our persuasive arguments have been disregarded and met with a stone wall by the White House and the pertinent agencies. This is especially stinging because other stakeholders have repeatedly received successful interpretations for their respective grievances. Most disconcerting of course is last week’s huge accommodation for the employer community—extending the statutorily mandated ‘December 31, 2013’ deadline for the employer mandate and penalties.”

More, specifically, they complain that the ACA creates an incentive for employers to keep employee work hours below 30 per week in order to avoid any obligation to provide health care coverage.  Next, they point out that under Taft-Hartley plans such as many of their members have, they will not be eligible for all the benefits that other employees will receive who are covered under lesser plans.  Finally, employees covered by so-called Cadillac plans will be taxed to pay for subsidies other employees receive, according to the letter.

Whether this approach will produce results remains to be seen.

See: http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2013/07/12/union-letter-obamacare-will-destroy-the-very-health-and-wellbeing-of-workers/