Stevens & Lee Team Prevails in Precedential NLRB Dispute Where Union Refused to Bargain

As reported by Law360, Brandon Shemtob and Daniel Sobol led winning arguments in a unique case where the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided that a union violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) against an employer when it commenced and then abandoned negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). This decision is likely to affect future interpretations of what actions constitute contract bargaining between employers and unions.

In the case, Stevens & Lee client, Frisco Baking Co., had corresponded with Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union Local (BCTGM Local 37) leadership about the expiration and renewal of the current CBA due to the company’s proposed amendments regarding modified wage structures. Prior CBA language required both the employer and union to provide notice of plans to bargain for a new agreement, otherwise the prior CBA would renew each year. BCTGM Local 37 asserted that it had not provided formal notice of wanting to negotiate a new CBA and had abandoned the negotiation process to allow the prior CBA to renew.

Stevens & Lee successfully argued that the correspondence between employer and union over changes to the company’s wage plan qualified as respective notices to negotiate a new CBA. The NLRB determined that by discussing changes to the CBA and then refusing new CBA negotiations, BCTGM Local 37 had violated its duty to bargain in good faith – a breach of the NLRA – and must return to the negotiation table. 

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