From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
by Rick Romell
Menard Inc. is violating federal labor law in the way it treats its employees, the staff of the National Labor Relations Board has found.
The Eau Claire-based home-improvement retailer has been improperly requiring employees to sign mandatory-arbitration agreements, and has withheld merit pay raises for workers engaged in protected activities, according to the regional office of the NLRB.
"This is very important," said Seth Goldstein, a union official who filed a complaint with the NLRB about Menard's practices. "It will affect over 46,000 employees."
Goldstein is senior business representative with a New York-based local of the Office & Professional Employees International Union.
He filed his complaint after The Progressive magazine reported in December that Menard's agreements with managers called for their income to automatically be cut by 60% if a union won an election at their operation. The magazine reported that a Menard's management employee had provided it with a copy of one such agreement from 2015.
A week later, a Menard spokesman told Bloomberg News that 2016 contracts with managers do not contain such language. The spokesman didn't respond when asked if the company had previously maintained the anti-union practice.
In a summary of the initial decision, sent to Goldstein this week by the NLRB office in Milwaukee, an agency field examiner said Menard has rescinded the policy.
Other, existing practices at Menard, however, must be changed, the summary said.
Among them is the company's policy of requiring nonmanagerial workers, as a condition of employment, to sign agreements that require them to use arbitration and bar them from engaging in joint activities such as class actions.
Menard also must rescind language that prohibits merit raises for employees based on behavior that could involve protected union activity, the summary from the NLRB regional office said.
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