Region 28 Director Cornele Overstreet presents NLRB “hot topics” to Arizona Labor and Employment Relations Association
Phoenix, Arizona – Last week Cornele A. Overstreet, the Director of Region 28 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) gave a videoconference presentation on “Hot Topics at the NLRB” to the Arizona Labor and Employment Relations Association (ALERA), an association of industrial relations and human resources management practitioners and professionals.
Regional Director Overstreet discussed NLRB Acting General Counsel Peter Sung Ohr’s new initiative to effectuate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) through vigorous enforcement of the NLRA’s protection of employees’ right to act together with other employees to further their mutual interests. The initiative requires Regional Offices to pursue cases involving retaliation against employees for exercising that right. The initiative aims to protect employees’ concerted complaints and protests, including political and social justice advocacy, when such activities have a direct nexus to employees’ interests as employees, both in their own workplace and beyond. It also aims to protect employees’ “inherently concerted” discussions of vital terms or conditions of employment with each other, even where there has been no specific discussion of taking group action. The memorandum announcing the initiative acknowledges that workplace health and safety concerns have become more prevalent because of the COVID-19 pandemic and underscores employees’ right to act together to raise health and safety concerns and any other workplace concerns.
Regional Director Overstreet also discussed developments in the law related to the standards the NLRB applies in determining whether an employer has discriminated against an employee for engaging in protected activities, the standards the Board applies in determining when an employee loses the protection of the NLRA as a result of conduct in the course of their protected activities, and the Board’s determinations concerning whether individuals are employees who enjoy the protections of the NLRA.
Region 28 can provide speakers and materials to other groups and organizations interested in increasing public knowledge of the NLRA’s protection of employee rights upon request. Speakers can be requested using the online form available at https://www.nlrb.gov/guidance/fillable-forms/request-speaker.
Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees, employers, and unions from unfair labor practices and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year.