The National Labor Relations Board has announced it will begin a pilot program to encourage parties to use its Alternative Dispute Resolution program.

Under the pilot program, the NLRB’s Office of the Executive Secretary will proactively engage parties with cases pending before the Board to determine whether the case is suitable for ADR. The process is voluntary.

The ADR program began in 2005 as an alternative means for parties to resolve cases pending before the Board. According to the NLRB, since its inception, mediators have assisted parties in reaching settlements in approximately 60 percent of the cases in the ADR program.

The program is available to any party with an unfair labor practice or compliance case pending before the Board. Once the parties enter the program, the ADR Program Director arranges for a neutral to assist the parties. The neutral will conduct a conference, normally in person, to assist the parties in reaching a settlement. The neutral has no authority to impose a settlement; whether or not to settle remains voluntary. NLRB rules provide that all settlement discussions during the ADR process are confidential and that evidence as to what transpired during the ADR process may not be used in any administrative or court proceeding.

The ADR program results in only a minimal delay in the case proceedings. Although entry into the ADR program places all case deadlines on hold, a case may only remain in the ADR program for 28 days, unless the parties and the ADR Program Director agree otherwise. The parties are not responsible for any costs or expenses associated with the program.

Employers should weigh carefully whether ADR may be appropriate in their cases. For example, where a charging party has overvalued its case, an NLRB mediator who is seen by the charging party as a neutral may be helpful. Although not every case is suitable for the ADR program, the program may be a viable alternative to continued litigation.

 

Print:
EmailTweetLikeLinkedIn
Photo of Howard M. Bloom Howard M. Bloom

Howard M. Bloom is a Principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has practiced labor and employment law representing exclusively employers for more than 36 years.

Mr. Bloom counsels clients in a variety of industries on labor law issues. He trains and advises executives, managers and supervisors on union awareness and positive employee relations, and assists employers in connection with union card-signing efforts, traditional union representation and corporate campaigns, and union decertification campaigns. He also represents clients at the National Labor Relations Board in connection with bargaining unit issues, objections and challenges, as well as unfair labor practice investigations and trials. Mr. Bloom also has been the spokesperson at countless first and successor contract collective bargaining negotiations, and regularly advises on collective bargaining agreement administration issues, including grievance/arbitration issues.

Mr. Bloom has appeared before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, several U.S. District Courts, the National Labor Relations Board, the Massachusetts Labor Relations Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

Mr. Bloom speaks frequently to employer groups on a wide range of labor and employment law topics. He also has written extensively on labor and employment law for a variety of publications, including New England Business magazine, The Boston Globe and the Boston Business Journal. He also is editor of and a frequent contributor to the Jackson Lewis Labor & Collective Bargaining Blog.

While attending law school, he was the Executive Editor of The Advocate: the Suffolk University Law School Journal and President of the Student Bar Association.

Mr. Bloom is a diehard baseball fan. His first book, The Baseball Uncyclopedia: A Highly Opinionated Myth-Busting Guide to the Great American Game, was published in February 2006.

Photo of Philip B. Rosen Philip B. Rosen

Philip B. Rosen is a Principal in the New York City office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and a member of the Firm’s Management Committee. Mr. Rosen also leads the firm’s Labor Practice Group. He joined the Firm in 1979 and served as Managing Partner of the New York City office from 1989 to 2009.

Mr. Rosen lectures extensively, conducts management training, and advises clients with respect to legislative and regulatory initiatives, corporate strategies, business ethics, social media, reorganizations and reductions-in-force, purchase/sale transactions, sexual harassment and other workplace conduct rules, compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, wrongful discharge and other workplace litigation, corporate campaigns and union organizing matters, collective bargaining, arbitration and National Labor Relations Board proceedings. He has been quoted by the press on many labor matters, including the National Labor Relations Board’s recent initiatives on protected concerted activity and the proposed Notice Posting requirements.