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NLRB ORDERS ELECTION AT DISNEY, GLENDALE SETTLES WITH IBEW LOCAL 18, PERB ISSUES OFFICIAL COMPLAINT AGAINST UC

NLRB ORDERS ELECTION FOR WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS’ PRODUCTION COORDINATORS, PRODUCTION MANAGERS AND PRODUCTION SUPERVISORS, UNIT VOTES IN SUPPORT OF UNION REPRESENTATION

At a 7-day hearing in April 2023 before Region 31 of the National Labor Relations Board on the Petition of The Animation Guild, IATSE Local 839 to represent the Production Coordinators, Production Managers, and Production Supervisors employed by Walt Disney Animation Studios, the Company strongly opposed the inclusion of its Production Managers and Production Supervisors in the bargaining unit, arguing that they are, alternatively, statutory supervisors under Section 2(11) of the National Labor Relations Act, managerial employees, and/or confidential employees, and that the Production Managers and Production Supervisors do not share a community of interest with Production Coordinators. The Guild strongly opposed the Company’s attempt to undermine its organizing campaign. On September 25, 2023, the Regional Director of Region 31 affirmed the Guild’s position, issuing a Decision and Direction of Election ruling against the Company and for the Guild on all points, directing an election to take place.

On November 1, 2023, an overwhelming majority of the unit voted in favor of representation.

Michael Feinberg represents the Guild before the National Labor Relations Board.


CITY OF GLENDALE SETTLES WITH IBEW LOCAL 18, PAYS LAID OFF WORKERS $5.5 MILLION IN DAMAGES

A long-running and bitter legal battle, dating back to when the City of Glendale laid off union activists and imposed a 1.75% across-the-board salary reduction on all its utility workers after declaring a false impasse, finally ended when the City paid affected workers a total of 5.5 million dollars in damages.

The settlement and payment of damages comes two years after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the Public Employment Relations Board, which ordered the City to compensate all workers for the salary cut. The City must take these actions because it laid off utility workers and subcontracted and transferred their work without meeting and conferring with IBEW Local 18 and because it imposed new terms and conditions of employment when no good-faith impasse in negotiations existed. Both actions violated the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act.

SSDS attorneys Bill Heine and Daniel Curry represented IBEW Local 18 during this litigation.


PERB ISSUES OFFICIAL COMPLAINT AGAINST UC SAN DIEGO FOR RETALIATING AGAINST ACADEMIC WORKERS

The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has issued a complaint against the UC system on six counts related to retaliation against academic workers at UCSD. Among other violations, PERB’s complaint argues that UC retaliated against academic workers by issuing dozens of student misconduct complaints against academic workers for attending a protest against UC’s failure to abide by the contracts they signed in 2022. In addition, UCSD police arrested three academic workers and charged them with felonies for allegedly chalking a campus building. PERB’s complaint addresses both issues. The complaint also alleges that UCSD unilaterally changed conditions of employment and that they unlawfully consulted with the UCSD Office of Student Conduct.

PERB also took the rare step of granting the union’s request for an expedited hearing on this complaint, recognizing the gravity of the violation.


CALIFORNIA STATE LEGISLATURE PASSES BILLS TO PROTECT ESSENTIAL WORKERS FROM EFFECTS OF MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

The California State Legislature passed three critical bills: SB 725, the Grocery Worker Safety Net; AB 647, the Protect Grocery Workers Job Act; and AB 853, Californians’ Right to Know on Essential Goods and Services. Together, this package of bills will help mitigate the effects of mergers and acquisitions on the grocery and drug-retail industries.

The Grocery Worker Safety Net requires a grocery establishment that conducts layoffs as a result of a merger or acquisition to provide workers with a one-week displaced grocery worker allowance for every year of service. The Protect Grocery Workers Job Act strengthens California’s existing Statewide Grocery Worker Retention Law and ensures that communities won’t lose good jobs if a merger occurs. Finally, the Californians’ Right to Know on Essential Goods and Services bill requires grocery or drug-retail companies to notify the California Attorney General 180 days in advance of finalizing a proposed merger or acquisition and submit an impact analysis report on the impact of the merger or acquisition on communities.

All three bills have been moved to Governor Newsom’s desk for signing.


THE ANIMATION GUILD, IATSE LOCAL 839 CONTINUES ITS SUCCESSFUL ORGANIZING CAMPAIGNS

On August 23, 2023, following a mail ballot election, The Animation Guild, IATSE Local 839, was certified as the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit of artists and production management employees at Gladius Studios in San Juan, Puerto Rico, marking the Guild’s first unit in the Commonwealth.

On June 28, 2023, The Animation Guild won voluntary recognition of a bargaining unit production management employees at Viltrumite Pants, LLC (a/k/a Skybound Entertainment Animation Studio). On April 19, 2023, following a mail ballot election, The Animation Guild was certified as the exclusive representative of a unit of animation employees at Rough Draft Studios.

Michael Feinberg advises the Guild on its organizing and representation election campaigns and with bargaining for these new collective bargaining agreements.


NINTH CIRCUIT RULES IN FAVOR OF UNITE HERE, LOCAL 11, ENFORCES BOARD ORDER AGAINST HOTEL BEL-AIR

On October 18, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in the Hotel Bel-Air case and ruled in favor of the union on all counts. The court denied the Company’s petition in full, and granted the Board’s cross-petition for enforcement of its earlier order. The court held that substantial evidence supported the Board’s findings that the Company committed unfair labor practices “by refusing to rehire union-affiliated former employees so that [it] could avoid its statutory duty to bargain with the Union,” “by refusing to recognize and bargain with the Union as it reopened the Hotel, and by unilaterally changing the bargaining unit’s established, pre-closure terms and conditions of employment.”

The Court’s decision is the culmination of over a decade of litigation which began in 2011 with the original filing of the unfair practice charges in this case. The decision is noteworthy and historically significant because the Board’s remedial Order requires the Hotel to provide compensation to over 130 employees and the Union’s benefit funds going back more than a decade.

Kirill Penteshin has represented the Union from the filing of the original ULP charges to the most recent argument before the Court of Appeals.


SSDS MANAGING PARTNER MARGO FEINBERG SPEAKS AT UC DAVIS LABOR LAW SYMPOSIUM

On October 6, 2023, Margo Feinberg participated in UC Davis’s labor law symposium, “Exploring Contemporary Labor Struggles: Responses to Labor Law from Old School to New School and the Frontier to the Border.” Margo spoke about the history and success of academic student organizing at the University of California, and elsewhere, focusing on the UAW’s role in California. Colleagues, Caitlin Vega, General Counsel, California State Federation of Labor, and Veena Dubal, Professor of Law at UC Irvine, (both pictured above) spoke on related panels that day. The symposium coincided with the inauguration of the UC Davis Labor Center with rousing opening remarks by Lorena Gonzales.

On November 14, 2023, SSDS’s Margo Feinberg will moderate a discussion with Karen Nussbaum, Founding Director of 9to5, the National Organization of Working Women, as part of the ALBA’s Sussman Lecture 2023. The conversation will take place over Zoom, and attendance is free with registration.



SSDS attorneys, staff, friends, and family welcomed Kathy Finn and her son for its second game night of the year.

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