A union contract between the Carpenters Union and the management of a tradeshow convention center was illegal when it required that the manager of the center have tradeshow exhibits installed and dismantled only by companies that were unionized. The National Labor Relations Board's holding was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, finding that the agreement violated "hot cargo" restrictions in Section 8(e) of the National Labor Relations Act. The contract had an illegal secondary purpose of determining the labor arrangements of other employers by requiring subcontractors to have union agreements.
The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that union membership continued to decline slightly in 2002, (down by 280,000 from 2001), and now standing at 13.2% of all workers. In the private sector, union members now make up only 8.5% of all workers. Among government employees in federal, state and local agencies, 37.5% were union members last year, a slight increase from 2001.
Labor Agreements reached in 2002 showed an increase in lump-sum provisions for wages. The Bureau of National Affairs' study found such lump-sum clauses in 13% of non-construction contracts. In those settlements with lump-sum payments, the average first year increase was 3.1%, the median was 2.1%, and the weighted average was 1.9%. In manufacturing, lump-sum pay provisions were contained in 26% of all manufacturing contracts, up from 19% in 2001. The most common form of bonus was a flat dollar amount, appearing in 80% of those contracts with lump sums.
The Teamsters Union and the unionized portion of the trucking industry agreed to a five-year contract on February 6. Wage increases will add $2.25 over the next five years to the present average hourly wage of $19.90 paid to drivers and cargo handlers. Contributions to health and welfare over the five-year term will increase by $3.10 per hour. The bankruptcy of Consolidated Freightways in September, 2002 and the continued shrinking of the unionized portion of the trucking industry is apparent within the Teamsters Union, with freight workers now accounting for less than 3% of all Teamsters, according to the Teamsters' General Secretary-Treasurer.
A new tax-exempt organization has been formed by several AFL-CIO member unions as a counterweight to the National Right to Work Committee. The new organization will be known as the National Rights at Work Committee (NRAW), dedicated to public education on the limits of worker rights in the United States, and engaging the public, political decision makers and media in a dialogue on the issue of a worker's right to join unions and bargain collectively. The new NRAW will launch "an aggressive education and litigation strategy."
Beverly Health & Rehabilitation Services is obliged to post notices throughout its corporate organization of 950 nursing homes regarding unfair labor practices which were involved only in its Pennsylvania facilities. The NLRB had found that corporate officers "kept close oversight of all regional labor developments" and were "extensively involved" in the unfair labor practices, and found corporate-wide posting appropriate. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with an NLRB order to this effect but disagreed with two unfair labor practice findings. One of those involved the refusal by Beverly to rehire strikers who were discharged when they did not give a 10-day notice of the strike, required in this industry for the protection of patients. Beverly also prevailed on an issue of video taping leaflet picketers outside one of its facilities. It was not unlawful surveillance but rather a legitimate justification in gathering evidence because Beverly believed they were trespassing on its property -- a defense which the Administrative Law Judge and the NLRB had "arbitrarily ignored."
Employers are generally unable to have a federal court issue an injunction to stop a strike, and the same rule applies to a labor arbitration procedure that a labor union institutes against an employer with which it has a contract. The Norris-LaGuardia Act was passed in the 1930s in order to stop the courts from issuing injunctions growing out of "labor disputes." When AT&T Broadband sought an injunction to halt the arbitration of a dispute with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers that it claimed was not subject to arbitration, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found that arbitrability questions surely "grow out of" labor disputes covered by the anti-injunction terms of Norris-LaGuardia