Michigan Bell Mustn’t Name Union Snitch

Michigan Bell Telephone Company lawfully denied a union’s request to tell the union the name the worker who tipped off the company about a possible workplace protest and provide the union with a list of people who the informant contacted.

But, the telephone company should have provided the union with a summary of what the informant told the company. The union had sought the information in connection with a grievance that it filed after supervisors at the company allegedly acted on the informant’s tip.

This ruling provides insight on how the NLRB will treat union information requests related to pending grievances. The key factor that allowed the company to withhold some information as opposed to other information was its relevance to the grievance. A summary of what the informant said would answer what Michigan Bell knew when supervisors acted, which could help the union prosecute its grievance.

This case stems from the union’s plan to refuse to work overtime in 2015 to protest a new mandatory overtime policy. The informant, a union worker, apparently told management about the plan.  Supervisors then questioned workers and ordered them to return to duty, which prompted the union to file a grievance.

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.