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As Predicted, Oregon’s Pro-Union Law Is Being Challenged in Court

Six months ago, we told you about a new Oregon statute that undermines employers’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). (Click here for that article.)  In brief, while Section 8(c) of the NLRA permits employers to express their views on unions in mandatory group meetings, the Oregon statute prohibits employers from disciplining employees for failing to attend such meetings   (thus making such meetings optional).

In our previous article, we predicted that the Oregon law would be challenged in court because under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, states may not pass laws which infringe on federally protected rights.  Our prediction proved to be true last month when an Oregon business group and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a federal lawsuit seeking to invalidate the Oregon law.  This is obviously an important case because if the Oregon law is upheld, such a decision would not only undermine the rights of employers under the NLRA, it would also undermine the notion of a unified federal law that is part of the fabric of our United States. Federal laws will have little meaning if states can so readily undermine them.  While it will probably be over a year before we see a final resolution (due to the likelihood of appeals and the possibility of review by the U.S. Supreme Court), we will follow this case and keep you informed.

Brody and Associates regularly advises its clients on union-related matters and provides union-free training.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.965.0560.