[author: Marta Moakley, XpertHR Legal Editor]
When bargaining in good faith, employers have an ongoing obligation to provide information to a union in its role as representative for bargaining unit employees. Usually, employers must respond to a request by a union if the information is available, relevant, feasibly accessed and not confidential.
However, in a recent decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) appears to have enlarged the duty of an employer to respond in some manner to a union's request of information even when the information sought may be irrelevant.
Specifically, in IronTiger Logistics, Inc., the NLRB determined that an employer's delayed response (in this case, over four months) to a request for information from a union - despite the fact that the request ultimately sought irrelevant information - constituted a violation of the National Labor Relations Act. +359 NLRB No. 13 (October 23, 2012). Instead, according to the NLRB, an employer must timely provide information to a union's request for information or, alternatively, timely explain its reasons for not doing so.
This latest NLRB decision confirms the expansiveness of an employer's duty to furnish information to a union throughout the life of the bargaining relationship.
Labor Relations > Collective Bargaining Process > Duty to Exchange Information