Richard Griffin, the new general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, wants to give unions veto power over a company’s decision to relocate. Griffin recently ordered NLRB Regional Directors to seek guidance from his office before acting on relocation cases.
Currently, unionized employers may relocate some or all of their facilities and eliminate bargaining unit work if the moves is motivated by economic gain and the employer determines that bargaining would be futile, i.e. that the union could not offer labor cost savings that could change its decision. Unions can contest the employer’s decision, but they have no right to participate in it or otherwise delay it absent a court order enjoining it.
Griffin intends to change this law by making bargaining mandatory. Requiring bargaining with the union over a work relocation decision that will eliminate the union, in my opinion, invites delay and conflict. I believe unions may be tempted to abuse the bargaining process with endless requests for information and may even create workplace discord to convince the employer to remain in place or pay large sums of money to move.