For a Union, Passivity Equates to a Loss of Collective Bargaining Rights


Yesterday’s NLRB’s decision on the collective-bargaining rights of employees hired through “temp” agencies has meant that very little attention has been paid to a decision handed down yesterday by an NLRB Administrative Law Judge.

Although the change in how contingent employees are defined has potentially broad direct ramifications and signals an important, fundamental shift in attitudes toward the legal marginalization of exploited workers, this second case may have more significant, immediate implications for our existing collective-bargaining units.

The case was brought by the AFT Local 4412 representing the Berklee College of Music faculty in response to changes in the minimum enrollment thresholds for courses announced by the institution’s administration. The union argued that because the administration had not negotiated the changes, as required by contract, and because it had announced the changes just before the semester started, when they could be challenged only after the fact, the administration should be…

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