GC Abruzzo’s Aggressive Remedial Agenda Begins
On October 8, 2021, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) West Los Angeles regional office issued an unfair labor practice (ULP) complaint against the Daily Grill for allegedly violating section 8(a)(5) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by engaging in a pattern of delay intended to frustrate the bargaining process, according to the NLRB press release.
The allegations arise from the employer’s first contract negotiations with UNITE HERE Local 11, the union certified to represent Daily Grill’s employees. Negotiations allegedly ran from November 13, 2019, through December 11, 2020, but since then, the employer has allegedly refused to meet and bargain with the union.
This complaint is notable for the remedial actions it seeks. Here, among other remedies, the complaint asks for an order requiring the employer to bargain in good faith with the union for a minimum of 24 hours a month (for at least six hours per session) until a collective bargaining agreement or lawful impasse is reached and to reimburse the expenses incurred by the union in unproductive bargaining expenses from November 19, 2019, until the employer begins bargaining in good faith. Given the specificity of the remedy sought, this complaint is an early example of the aggressive prosecution policies of new General Counsel (GC) Jennifer Abruzzo (as outlined in her September 8, 2021, Memorandum 21-06). It also portends probable forthcoming changes to the legal landscape under a Biden-appointed NLRB.
Section 8(a)(5) of the NLRA requires employers to bargain in good faith with the certified bargaining representative of its employees; however, “good faith” is not defined by a specific template of the number, frequency, or duration of bargaining sessions. The complaint against the Daily Grill demonstrates GC Abruzzo’s initiative to introduce strict remedies for NLRA violations, including imposing bright-line rules on the negotiation process when an employer is found to have violated the Act. The complaint exemplifies the region’s eagerness to push forward GC Abruzzo’s goals through burdensome new remedies. Employers should accordingly take caution in assessing their bargaining and labor relations strategies as the complaint demonstrates the regions are ready to quickly push forward on the GC’s month-old goals.