Appeals Court: Teachers College Violated Federal Labor Law

September 5, 2018

A federal appeals court on Tuesday affirmed a decision by the National Labor Relations Board backing an administrative law judge’s conclusion that Teachers College of Columbia University violated federal labor law in refusing to provide a secretarial and clerical union with information about employment terms for nonunit employees. While the college argued that the union failed to demonstrate the relevance of the information it was requesting -- namely information about nonunion members’ rate of pay and work schedule -- both the NLRB and the two-judge appeals panel found the information was in fact relevant. The union had long suspected that the college was transferring work reserved for its United Auto Workers-affiliated members to nonmembers and sought the information about nonunit employees to investigate.

“Substantial evidence supports the NLRB’s determination that the union had adequate and objective evidence to support a reasonable belief that the requested information was relevant to its pending grievance,” reads the appeals court opinion written by Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. “What really appears to underlie the college’s argument is an implied claim that evidence satisfying more than a ‘discovery-type’ standard is required. But that is a claim our precedent rejects.”

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