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NLRB – Union Cannot Waive Certain Employee Rights.

March 31, 2014

The National Labor Relations Board has held that the Union cannot waive, through a collective bargaining agreement, the right of employees under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act to engage in certain protected concerted activity regarding the terms and condition of employment.   In the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico case, the CBA contained a provision which provided that the employees could not participate in the employer’s “internal politics” which included “lobbying [about] . . . personnel matters.”  Although CBAs frequently curtail Section 7 rights (such as “no-strike” clauses), the Board found this particular policy overly broad, on the basis that “personnel matters” could include discussions about the terms and conditions of employment, which is a right that, according to the Board, the Union cannot waive on behalf of employees.