Stephanie Ostrowski Oct. 22, 2012, 3:19pm

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The National Labor Relations Board cut the median age of pending cases in half after making 341 decisions for cases from fiscal year 2012 (Oct. 1, 2011 through Sept. 30, 2012).

On Tuesday, the NLRB announced it made decisions in 277 unfair labor practice cases and 64 representation cases.

The Board also finalized a rule to streamline the representation case process, which currently is to suspend pending court challenges, and invited briefs from the public on several significant issues, including the employment status of certain university faculty members and graduate teaching assistants.

Rulings included mandatory arbitration for nationwide homebuilder D.R. Horton and a violation of federal labor law for requiring employees to sign arbitration agreements that does not allow them to join together in any forum to bring legal claims against the employer.

There were a number of decisions, including two by the full Board, which found lawsuits filed by employers or unions may be unfair labor practices in certain circumstances. According to NLRB companies involved were Federal Security Inc., J.A. Croson Co., Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons, Sheet Metal Workers and Allied Mechanical Services.

In Cape Cod, Ma., Lancaster, Pa., and Plano, Tx., the board found symphony musicians able to join a union because they are employed and not independent contractors.

The Board found Facebook posts by a Chicago-area BMW salesman were not protected under federal labor laws and that lead to the employee discharge. More cases regarding Facebook posts are pending before the Board.

In Flaum Appetizing Corp., the Board found employers cannot raise the question of immigration status as a "fishing expedition" to avoid back-pay awards. Employers must have a reason to raise the immigration status of employees during procedures to determine back-pay amounts.

Massey Energy Company was found by the Board to have unlawfully refused to hire former unionized employees in order to avoid union obligations at a coal mine. The company was also found by the Board to be a single employer with its subsidiary, Mammoth Coal Company.

For several cases including, DTG Operations, Northrop Grunnman Shipyard and Odwalla, Inc., the Board applied healthcare standards for unit determination that were clarified in its Aug. 2011 opinion in Specialty Healthcare.

More News