News & Commentary

December 13, 2017

Edward Nasser

Edward Nasser is a student at Harvard Law School.

Tomorrow, the National Labor Relations Board will publish a Request for Information in the Federal Register, asking for public input regarding the Board’s 2014 “Quickie Election” Rule.  The amendments, which took effect on April 14, 2015, allowed union organizing to move at an accelerated pace by, among other things, significantly reducing the time between the filing of a representation petition and the election from an average of approximately six weeks to an average of 23 days. The Board will seek information from interested parties regarding three questions:

  1. Should the 2014 Election Rule be retained without change?
  2. Should the 2014 Election Rule be retained with modifications? If son, what should be modified?
  3. Should the 2014 Election Rule be rescinded? If so, should the Board revert to the Representation Election Regulations that were in effect prior to the 2014 Election Rule’s adoption, or should the Board make changes to the prior Representation Election Regulations? If the Board should make changes to the prior Representation Election Regulations, what should be changed?

The NLRB ruled against Harvard’s appeal of an earlier decision that ordered a new graduate-student union election.  Earlier this year, the NLRB invalidated the results of Harvard’s 2016 graduate-student election and ordered a new election, arguing that the University did not provide a complete list of eligible voters prior to the election. The issue of whether graduate students are employees is still hotly contested following the NLRB’s decision in a 2016 Columbia University case; Yale and the University of Chicago have filed briefs arguing that case should be overturned.

Yesterday in Rodriguez‐Depena v. Parts Auth., Inc., 2d Cir., No. 16-3396, the Second Circuit ruled that the Fair Labor Standards Act does not prohibit arbitration on wage and hour claims. The Second Circuit found that language in the Fair Labor Standards Act that authorizes lawsuits “in any federal or state court of competent jurisdiction” doesn’t prohibit arbitration. Arbitration provisions have been a hot issue over recent years, and will likely continue to be. The Supreme Court heard arguments on two class action waiver cases in October. 

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