That Union Thing

The National Labor Relations Board has affirmed that orchestral musicians are employees and not independent contractors. In a decision announced on December 27, 2011, the NLRB ruled that the musicians of the Lancaster (PA) Symphony Orchestra are employees of the orchestra. The ruling clears the way for the musicians to vote on union representation. The NLRB also ruled that musicians of the Cape Cod (MA) Symphony and the Plano (TX) Symphony are also employees and not independent contractors.

The National Labor Relations Board has approved proposals to reduce the time it takes to hold unionization elections from an average of 38 days, to under 21 days. Under the new rules, challenges to elections will be postponed until after the election takes place. In the past, employers could delay elections by months by filing legal challenges. The House of Representatives has tried to overrule the NLRB by passing a bill requiring a 35-day waiting period before elections, but it is unlikely that the Senate will approve the legislation.

The Hialeah Fire Union has approved a new 2-year agreement that includes $4-6 million in concessions. Pay cuts and furloughs were agreed to in order to preserve the jobs of 70 firefighters. The agreement is subject to ratification by firefighters.

The Florida Public Employee Relations Commission is recommending that United Teachers of Dade allow its members to re-vote on its new contract with the school district. UTD used an online system to take the ratification vote, and a protest had been filed because there was no way for voters to observe the tally. UTD is seeking a clarification of the ruling hand has not yet decided whether to appeal.


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