New NLRB overrules Obama-era NLRB independent contractor precedent 1/29/19

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

On Jan. 25, the National Labor Relations Board, in a three-to-one decision, ruled that Super Shuttle drivers at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport were independent contractors and not employees.

This case is especially good news for the newspaper industry. The board in the new Super Shuttle case specifically referenced its decision in St. Joseph News-Press, a 2005 decision. In that decision, the NLRB found that home delivery carriers, single copy carriers and bundle haulers were all independent contractors.

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NLRB general counsel issues new advice memoranda 1/15/19

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

In December 2018, new NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb issued several new advice memoranda. Advice memoranda advise local NLRB offices about how to proceed with a particular unfair labor practice charge.

In one such memorandum, the employer's "Commitment to My Coworkers" policy was found to be lawful. The employer required all employees to read and sign a "Commitment to My Co-Workers" document.

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NLRB to revisit employee use of employer email 9/10/18

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

On Aug. 1, the National Labor Relations Board invited interested parties to file briefs on whether the board should adhere to, modify or overrule Purple Communications – a case (decided by the Obama Board) that held employees who had been given access to their employer's email system for work-related purposes have a presumptive right to use that system, on non-working time, for communications protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (union organizing activity).

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Supreme Court rejects NLRB position on class action arbitration waivers 6/5/18

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

On May 21, the United States Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in Epic Systems Corp v. Lewis. Justice Gorsuch delivered the opinion of the court. Rejecting the position of the National Labor Relations Board, the court ruled that employers and employees may lawfully agree that any disputes between them will be resolved through one-on-one arbitration. The court ruled that under the National Labor Relations Act, employees do not have the right to file class or collective actions, no matter what they agreed with their employer.

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Transparency is important in subscription campaigns 4/30/18

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

To drive revenue, publishing companies are increasingly producing "premium editions" for their newspapers.

Many legal issues must be considered when preparing newspaper subscription promotions. What you communicate about "premium editions" – the cost and how they impact the length of a newspaper subscription can be critical, legally. These legal issues were brought into sharp focus in a recent lawsuit.

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Emanuel confirmed; NLRB management majority restored 9/26/17

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

On the evening of Monday, Sept. 25, the U.S. Senate voted 49 to 47 to confirm William Emanuel to the National Labor Relations Board.

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Health insurance premium increases invalidated under Open Meetings Act 9/5/17

By Jane Nicholes, SNPA Correspondent

An Alabama circuit judge has ruled that the state board governing education employees' health insurance violated the Open Meetings Act when it met in private before voting to jack up rates.

How far-reaching the ruling will be depends on whether it is appealed and upheld, said Dennis Bailey, longtime attorney for the Alabama Press Association.

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Texas court kills Obama DOL overtime rule 9/4/17

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

On Aug. 31, U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant granted the motion for summary judgment of various business groups and state attorneys general in the overtime rule case.

Previously, on Nov. 22, 2016, Judge Mazzant issued a nationwide injunction, preventing the implementation of the rule, pending a decision on the merits of the case. The injunction case is before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. It has been fully briefed and is currently scheduled for oral argument before the court on Oct. 3.

There is much speculation that oral argument may not occur, and the DOL may withdraw the appeal, given the Aug. 31 decision of Judge Mazzant granting the motion for summary judgment, which ruled that the final rule was unlawful.

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Court of Appeals reverses NLRB on handbook policies 8/15/17

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

In recent years, the National Labor Relations Board has relentlessly attacked common sense policies found in many employee handbooks. I have been hoping that the U.S. Court of Appeals would correct these egregious decisions. I am delighted to report that, on July 25, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued an opinion in a case involving T-Mobile that did just that.

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Latest updates on N.C. legislative presumption 8/8/17

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

As previously reported, North Carolina newspapers have been fighting to maintain the tremendous advantage they have enjoyed in Workers' Compensation legislation for the last 20 years, in the form of a legislative presumption of independent contractor status for newspaper carriers.

At the very end of the legislative session on June 28, a modified version of H.B. 205 passed in both Houses. This bill would have removed the legislative presumption. Fortunately, on July 17, Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the new legislation.

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