News & Commentary

May 26, 2022

Anita Alem

Anita Alem is a student at Harvard Law School.

The Biden Administration has filed an amicus brief arguing that the Supreme Court should not take up an appeal in a case that would require airlines to change their staffing practices in California to comply with rest and meal break laws. In 2021, the Ninth Circuit held in Virgin America v. Bernstein that the airline was not complying with state law and needed to staff additional flight attendants to ensure all attendants could access duty-free breaks to which they are entitled. The Justice Department sided with the flight attendants, despite Virgin Airlines’ insistence that the decision would wreak “nationwide havoc in the airline industry” and opposition from an airline lobbying trade association, Airlines for America.

Bloomberg reported that the NLRB general counsel’s office released an advice memo asking regional NLRB prosecutors to challenge two Trump-era decisions that limit the rights of unions. The two cases, Kroger and UPMC, narrowed union access to the employer’s property. The NLRB memo argued that the decisions unfairly discriminated against unions by permitting an employer to ban union access while nonemployees engaging in other activities, like charitable or commercial activities, remained free to access the property. The memo stated that the Region should “is authorized to argue” that the decisione be overruled, and that the Region should in fact  “urge the Board to overrule Kroger and UPMC.”

In union news, Apple will likely face at least three union drives over the coming months across stores in Georgia, Maryland, and New York. On Wednesday, an internal Apple video leaked to the Verge showed the vice president of people and retail attempting to persuade employees that they did not need a union and that a collective bargaining agreement would diminish Apple’s ability to respond to issues that employees raise. The anti-union video continues a series of union-busting actions Apple has taken over the past several weeks.

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