The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently ruled that Harley-Davidson Motor Co. should have allowed the International Association of Machinists (IAM) to engage in bargaining negotiations before the company offered incentives for employees to resign from their positions.
According to reports, a collective bargaining agreement the company had with IAM Lodge 175 gave Harley-Davidson the right to lay off employees based on seniority without going through union negotiations. In a ruling on July 29, however, the NLRB determined the union did not actually forfeit its right to a notice and opportunity to bargain in such a scenario.
In this particular case, Harley-Davidson offered employees $15,000 payments to resign from their positions. Members of the union rejected a claim made by the company that it did offer to bargain about its so-called voluntary separation incentive plan (VCIP) with employees after the union’s objections.
Impact of case
The results of the case demonstrate how important it is for companies to carefully analyze what agreements they have made with unions and what sort of bargaining duties they have, whether those duties fall under collective bargaining agreements or the National Labor Relations Act. Companies must carefully review these agreements before announcing or carrying out any layoffs or buyouts of employees.
While the NLRB said Harley-Davidson did have the right to make its own layoff decisions, the company did not succeed in convincing the board that its incentive plan was also part of that right.
For more information on how to proceed if you believe your rights as an employee have been violated by your employer, contact an experienced Dallas lawyer at Kardell Law Group.