Interpreting Laws and Court Decisions
Interpreting labor and employment laws, as well as court decisions, can be a tedious task at best. The laws set in place are constantly changing and use language that is not easily deciphered by the average working American. The United States Labor laws cover the binding legal connection between the employers, their employees and the employee labor unions. Within the borders of the United States; it is generally know that employers and labor unions do not see eye to eye on most issues regarding labor and employment laws. Labor laws can address one of three different situations: “A union attempts to organize the employees of an employer and to get the employer to recognize it as the employees’ bargaining representative; (2) a union seeks to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with an employer; or (3) a union and employer disagree on the interpretation and application of an existing contract between the two. Within these three situations, specific rules have been created to deal with rights of employees and employers.” (Labor Law, 2005) The third situation is often seen more times than not; thus creating an everlasting rift between the two parties.
In the case study 1-1 of our text, Reinstatement and Back Pay Remedy for Illegal Discharge, it seemed like a common sense; open and shut scenario. My initial thoughts without any research had me thinking there was no way an employer would need to reinstate an unlawfully terminated employee, since the person in question is an illegal alien. Recent events in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit showed that my thoughts were way off base and wrong. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals decided on a case, Palma v NLRB, on July 10, 2013 that an employer could be required to reinstate illegal aliens previously terminated in violation of the NRLA; or National Labor Relations Act. (Palma v NRLB, 2013) This particular case was on appeal from a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision that was Hoffman Plastics Compounds, Inc v. National Labor Relations Board, which found the employer unlawfully terminated the aliens for engaging n concerted protected activity under the NRLA, but the aliens were not entitled to an award of back pay. (Hoffman Plastics v. NLRB, 2001) On appeal, the Second Circuit reaffirmed the Hoffman Plastics ruling prohibiting back pay to undocumented aliens, however the bare bones of the final ruling states than an employer that fires employees in violation of the NLRA essentially could be required to reinstate ex-employees it knows to be illegal aliens pending these workers can show proof of work authorization and present it to the employers (Palma v. NRLB, 2013).
The next question for this particular case study is if it’s possible for the court to enforce the voluntary settlement agreement between the employer and NRLB without violating any immigration laws? I believe the answer is yes on account of the Palma ruling, as long as the “illegal aliens” can provide proof of work authorization, they’re sitting in the driver’s seat with minimal worries.
Case Study 3-3 within our text book, titled “NLRB Jurisdiction over a Private Charter School”, we’re being asked if the Charter Schools Professional Management Inc (CSPMI) “meets the definition of an employer, as stated n Section 2 (2), LMRA and therefore, the board may assert jurisdiction and conduct a representation election?” (Holley, Jennings, Wolters, 2012). The case study tells us that: To be exempt from NLRB jurisdiction as a political subdivision of a state, the employer must either (1) be created directly by the state so as to constitute a department or administrative arm of the government, or (2) administered by individuals who are responsible to public officials or to the general electorate (pgs. 114-115) CSPMI was not created by the state or any government entity, rather is a private, for-profit organization and the board is elected by the ownership of the corporation.
This right here shows me that they are not exempt from NLRB jurisdiction. An interesting case, Chicago Mathematics & Science Academy Charter School, Inc., Employer and Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff, F, AFT, AFL-CIO, Petitioner, was discussing the issue on whether a private, nonprofit corporation that established and operates a public charter school in Chicago, Illinois, is exempt from our jurisdiction because it’s a political subdivision of the State of Illinois within the meaning of section 2(2) of the NLRA (Chicago, 2012). The summary of this particular case state: While CMSA is not a political subdivision of the State of Illinois or the City of Chicago, I would decline jurisdiction because it is so closely intertwined with and defined by those governmental entities in providing services of a peculiarly public and local nature. I am also noting that declining jurisdiction would not leave CMSA’s employees without the possibility of collective-bargaining representation. It would only subject them to the same labor relations laws as are applicable to others who, like them, are defined by statute as public employees in a public educational system. Accordingly, I would dismiss the petition. (Chicago, 2012)
Chicago Mathematics & Science Academy Charter School, Inc., Employer and Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff, F, AFT, AFL-CIO, Petitioner. Case 13-RM-001768, 2012
Holley Jr, W., Jennings, K, & Wolters, R (2012) The Labor Relations Process 10th edition. South-Western CENAGE Learning; United States
“Labor Law.” West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005. Retrieved from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3437702567.HTML
Palma v. NLRB, 12-1199 (2d Cir. 2013)