Category Archives: Labor and Employment

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Ford UAW Workers Defy Logic Of Ricky Bobby With New Tentative Agreement

Suppliers Get Ready For Your Recalls
If you ain’t first, you’re last. Not so say the Ford UAW workers whose bargaining committee recently reached a new tentative agreement with Ford. While Ford was the last to reach a tentative agreement with the UAW, if the membership ratifies the tentative agreement, the UAW workers at Ford stand to receive a better overall … Continue reading this entry

UAW Continues to Use Strike Threat as a Powerful Negotiating Tool

In an effort to keep the momentum in its favor, the UAW gave GM a strike deadline of Sunday, October 25, 2015, at 11:59 p.m., to reach a tentative agreement. The UAW’s strategy appears to have worked as the parties reached a tentative agreement shortly before midnight on Sunday. The announcement came just days after … Continue reading this entry

One Down, Two to Go - UAW Ratifies New Contract With Fiat Chrysler

The UAW appears to have learned from its mistakes from the first ratification vote. On October 22, 2015, the UAW announced that a majority of its membership voted in favor of the revised tentative agreement with Fiat Chrysler. So what did the UAW do right this time? First, the terms of the agreement were simply … Continue reading this entry

The Supreme Court Preview, Part I: The Court To Overhaul Class Actions?

A fresh Supreme Court term has kicked off, with a new slate of cases awaiting the Court’s decision. Among these cases are several that the automotive industry should keep an eye on, as they impact the law in ways that will affect how industry members do business. Over the next few posts, Dashboard Insights will … Continue reading this entry

It’s Like Déjà Vu All Over Again

OSHA Turns Its Sights on Auto Suppliers
For the second time in just over three weeks, the UAW and Fiat Chrysler reached a tentative agreement on October 7, 2015, narrowly avoiding a strike deadline of 11:59 p.m. unilaterally imposed by the UAW. This time, however, there was no joint press conference with UAW President Dennis Williams and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne … Continue reading this entry

Not So Fast My Friend – UAW Membership Rejects Tentative Agreement

During their press conference on September 15, 2015, UAW President Dennis Williams and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne appeared satisfied with the tentative agreement reached after months of bargaining. The two friends smiled while congratulating each other on a job well done. According to Williams, the tentative agreement achieved the three goals he identified at … Continue reading this entry

Dennis, Tell Them What They’ve Won

After months of negotiations and several hourly extensions beyond the contract expiration date, the UAW and Fiat Chrysler reached a tentative agreement on September 15, 2015. While the full terms of the tentative agreement were not immediately disclosed, during a joint press conference with UAW President Dennis Williams and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, Williams … Continue reading this entry

Is This Another Mayweather v. Pacquiao?

OSHA Turns Its Sights on Auto Suppliers
At least you did not shell out $100 to watch these negotiations. Back in the middle of July, contract negotiations began between the UAW and the Big 3 with several ceremonial handshakes. Ending the two-tier wage structure and decreasing the use of temporary workers were two hot topics to address. Potential revisions to the health … Continue reading this entry

Preventing Whistleblower Claims in the Automotive Industry

Making Your Termination Decision Count (Don’t Sleep On This One…)
Whistleblower and retaliation claims are some of the most costly claims brought by employees and they are on the rise. OSHA, who governs complaints for over 20 whistleblower statutes, reports a 58% increase in whistleblower claims between 2005 and 2014. Retaliation claims under the statutes governed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have increased 70% in … Continue reading this entry

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble

The summer of 2015 should be very interesting for the Big 3 and suppliers alike. The collective bargaining agreements for the Big 3 will expire on September 14, 2015.  Initial negotiations with the UAW are scheduled to commence this month. Ford has already indicated that it would like to take the lead in the negotiations with the … Continue reading this entry

Avoiding Human Capital Problems When Closing an Automotive Facility

In recent years, manufacturers across an array of industries, including the auto industry, have closed facilities, corporate offices, warehouses, and production plants, for a variety of reasons. Closures affect companies throughout the supply chain. All too often, these companies overlook important legal requirements or planning steps, especially where human capital is concerned. Thus, we compiled the … Continue reading this entry

Is It Time to Switch Gears? Enforceability of Automotive Company Employee Confidentiality Restrictions

New Federal Trade Secret Protections on the Horizon?
Given the large workforces and importance of intellectual property and trade secrets in the automotive industry, automotive companies rely heavily on confidentiality provisions in employment agreements and employee handbooks. Thanks to a recent enforcement action brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it may be time to review and revise these confidentiality provisions.… Continue reading this entry

Stop. Wait a Minute. I Have a Few Questions Before You Drive Away

With the continued success of the auto industry, comes the increase in employee mobility. Regardless of how great you are as an employer, not all of your employees will stick around forever, especially your most valuable employees who may now be provided with more opportunities to move down the street to a competitor. If the … Continue reading this entry

Automotive Companies Should Seek to Minimize Risk When Hiring Employees From a Competitor

When discussing trade secrets and strategies to protect valuable proprietary information, most automotive companies focus on their outbound risk. In other words, OEMs and suppliers pay close attention to protecting their own valuable trade secrets and proprietary information by implementing strong protections and policies such as to limit access to this information and to require … Continue reading this entry

Peeking Behind the Curtain: Macroeconomic Insight into Manufacturing

Last week, Dr. Chad Moutray, Chief Economist for the National Association of Manufacturers (“NAM”), visited Foley & Lardner’s Chicago office and shared a macroeconomic update on the manufacturing industry. His comments and charts (he’s an economist, of course he had charts) provided great insight. While Dr. Moutray’s comments were focused on manufacturing as a whole, … Continue reading this entry

Automotive Industry Beware: Increased Attention to Workplace Harassment and Wellness Programs by the EEOC Coming in the New Year

OSHA Turns Its Sights on Auto Suppliers
Newly appointed U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Jenny Yang recently offered some insight into the EEOC’s areas of focus for 2015, providing all employers with a preview of some of the key regulatory and enforcement actions on the horizon. Two primary issues have emerged: workplace harassment and wellness programs.… Continue reading this entry

Employee Handbook Mistakes Can Come Back to Bite Employers in the Automobile Industry

Courts often conclude that absent appropriate disclaimer language, statements in employee handbooks are “promises” to employees, binding employers to abide by these promises in their dealings with employees. However, a recent case provides an important reminder to automobile industry employers that what they say, as well as what they do not say, in their employee … Continue reading this entry

China Market Update

U.S. and Japan Continue Talks on Auto Tariffs
The Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) recently presented on February 4th its annual China Market update webinar, and as usual a lot of great information was imparted to OESA members. The presentations included a review of the “China Auto Market Dynamics” by Yale Zhang, Managing Director of Automotive Foresight in Shanghai, and a review of … Continue reading this entry

Three Key Labor and Employment Issues Facing Automotive Suppliers in 2015

While employees are an integral part of the manufacturing process, employment related issues will continue to face automotive suppliers in 2015 including: The NLRB coming to non-union facilities; Dealing with accommodations under the ADA; and Protected confidential and proprietary information.   With many of its recent decisions and actions, the NLRB has made protecting employees’ Section … Continue reading this entry

Force Majeure Clauses: An "Out" for Suppliers Facing Shortages and Supply Chain Disruptions From West Coast Labor Dispute

With the ongoing West Coast labor dispute and increasing port congestion causing gridlock, suppliers should look to their contracts to determine whether they have the right to declare force majeure with their customers in the event of a supply chain disruption caused by the labor dispute. If there is a force majeure provision in the … Continue reading this entry

Key In-House Counsel Interview Questions Every Automotive Supplier Needs to Ask

OSHA Turns Its Sights on Auto Suppliers
As automotive suppliers continue to add employees to keep up with industry growth, legal departments or top management may desire to hire experienced in-house counsel to support the business. To ensure the right fit, suppliers should not rely solely on legal recruiters or human resources. For example, candidates likely will be able to explain common … Continue reading this entry

Top Legal Issues Facing Suppliers in 2015

Foley’s Automotive Industry Team has prepared this overview of the major trends we see affecting automotive suppliers this year. While not all legal risk can be anticipated, companies that are aware of litigation, enforcement, and regulatory trends will be one step ahead of their competition. Top issues include:… Continue reading this entry

Open the Floodgates: "Reply All" Now Also Means "Easy Union Organizing"

OSHA Turns Its Sights on Auto Suppliers
Well we pretty much knew this day was coming. Your email system has just become a union’s most effective tool to organize your employees. In May of this year, we predicted the National Labor Relations Board would overturn its 2007 Register Guard decision in which the Board determined, along political lines, that employees have no … Continue reading this entry

Discharge for Medical Pot Use Does Not Prevent Receipt of Unemployment Benefits

The prevalence of medical marijuana cards in the worker population in the auto industry has increased significantly since Michigan first passed the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) in 2008. While a medical marijuana card is not a “get-out-of-jail-free-card” when it comes to keeping your job with a private employer in Michigan after a positive drug … Continue reading this entry