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Nov 26 2013

Union Did Not Waive Its Right to Bargain; Second Circuit Affirms NLRB Ruling, Remedy

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Jan. 17 enforced a National Labor Relations Board decision that Rochester Gas & Electric Corp. vio- lated federal labor law when it refused to bargain over the effects of its policy change regarding corporate van use and failed to provide the workers’ union with re- quested documents relevant to the bargaining process (Local 36, Int’l Bhd. of Elec. Workers v. NLRB, 2d Cir., No. 10-3448, 1/17/13).

The court affirmed NLRB’s ruling that International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 36 did not waive its right to bargain over the effects of the power company’s discontinuance of a policy allowing certain union members to take company vehicles home at night. Provisions of the collective bargaining agreement did not clearly and unmistakably allow the company to forgo negotiations nor waive the union’s right to nego- tiate under the National Labor Relations Act, the court held.

NLRB properly ruled that information sought by the union during its initial dispute with Rochester Gas was relevant to the bargaining process, the court decided. The power company violated the NLRA when it failed to act in good faith and refused to provide Local 36 with the documents it requested, the court said.

The board ‘‘did not abuse its considerable discretion in granting the modified Transmarine remedy’’ based on the lost monetary value of not being able to use a company vehicle for commuting, Judge Jose A. Cabranes wrote for the appeals court.

Judge Debra A. Livingston joined the opinion, with Judge Chester J. Straub issuing a separate concurring opinion.

The complete Daily Labor Report published by Bloomberg BNA can be found here: Union Did Not Waive Its Right to Bargain; Second Circuit Affirms NLRB Ruling, Remedy