Northwestern football vote held, ballots sealed by NLRB

NLRB will hear university appeal, vote outcome delayed indefinitely

Football players at Northwestern University cast their votes earlier this week in an election that will determine if the players want to be represented by a union or not.  It may be years before they learn the outcome.

Multiple sources have reported that the National Labor Relations Board have sealed the ballot box and will not count them until they can conclude their review of an appeal filed by Northwestern University.

The full National Labor Relations Board agreed Thursday to hear the school’s appeal of a regional director’s March ruling that the players are employees and as such can unionize. Ballots will be impounded until that process is finished, and a court fight could come after that decision.

Most players on the current team will be working in other professions before this is all ironed out.

Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to my new blog anyway

Let’s start with a rock anthem because I can.  Then you can read about my new blog after the jump.

Wow, it’s been tough getting this blog launched when and how I wanted.  First some coding delays. Then some content delays. Then yesterday, when I planned to post my first “official” post here announcing the grand opening – a state of Georgia wide internet outage by my local Clayton GA internet provider – Windstream.

It’s okay. We’re here and things are open for biz – mostly. I’m still figuring out the new WP theme, which is Lucid.  Anyone know how to make the video slider work? I keep breaking it!

I’ll be writing about the usual stuff HR and social media, but perhaps with a slightly different focus.

I’ve broken the blog down topically.  It looks like this:

Brand will cover everything relatedto social media and employment branding, brand protection, and building your brand.

Engagement will deal with how you can better connect with your workforce via workplace practices,  and relating to your employees as people.  This section will also be where I talk a lot more about involvement in the community, as an employer and as an individual.

Labor Relations will be all things labor and employee related.

Ownership is something of a new focus. I’ll be sharing info on how giving employees some skin in the game in the game can be a literal game changer for employers.

I hope you’ll drop by every now and then.



Ultimate Software Celebrates Landmark Event

Join me at Ultimate Software’s 100th HR Workshop in Miami, FL

Ultimate Software (Nasdaq: ULTI), a leading cloud provider of people management solutions, announced today that its 100th HR Workshop will be held on Thursday, April 24 at The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. Ultimate Software started its HR Workshop program in 2008 as a strategic, collaborative way to bring together leaders in human resources, talent management, recruitment, compliance, training, and retention for a range of interactive sessions.

Since its inception, Ultimate’s HR Workshop program has assembled approximately 8,000 professionals from more than 11,500 companies in HR, payroll, finance, and IT throughout the U.S. and Canada. These peers interact in an intimate setting, identify both short- and long-term business drivers, share proven ideas, discuss and evaluate industry trends, and exchange innovative methodologies with one another.

In addition to its HR Workshops, Ultimate also supports HR, payroll, and IT professionals through its HCM Online Academy–a free, online resource that provides options for distance learning. To date, more than 3,600 HR/payroll professionals have registered for Ultimate’s Online Academy where they have quick access to videos, white papers, third-party studies, and more.

At its 100th HR Workshop in Miami, Ultimate will host high-level HR executives from well-known companies, industry analysts, and two employment attorneys from a prestigious law firm. The discussions will cover how to:

   -- help organizations reach new heights through HR transformation 
   -- recognize the changes in human capital management and understand where 
      it's headed 
   -- understand the drivers of the global competition for critical talent 
   -- avoid key labor and employment law risks during acquisitions 
   -- steer clear of social media missteps, and more

Agenda for Miami/Coral Gables HR Workshop

   -- 8:15 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.: Registration and Continental Breakfast 
   -- 9:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.: Welcome and Introductions 
   -- 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.: Helping Your Organization Reach New Heights 
      through HR Transformation 
   -- 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.: Panel Discussion: How Has Human Capital 
      Management Changed and Where Is It Headed? 
   -- 11:15 a.m. to Noon: Ultimate Showcase and Refreshment Break 
   -- Noon to 1:00 p.m.: Lunch and Networking Opportunities 
   -- 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.: Best Practices in Talent Management Strategy from 
      an HR Expert 
   -- 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Key Labor and Employment Law Land Mines to Avoid 
      During Acquisitions 
   -- 3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Ultimate Showcase and Refreshment Break 
   -- 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Social Media Leaders Tell All about Avoiding 
      Social Media Missteps

Speakers at the Miami HR Workshop are:

   -- Mark Simpson, Texas Roadhouse, Vice President of Legendary People 
   -- Patrick Sterling, Texas Roadhouse, Senior Director, Risk and People 
   -- Nikki Jackson, Nikki Jackson Consulting, Principal Owner 
   -- Dorothy Knapp, Society for Human Resource Management, Field Services 
      Director in the Southeast Region 
   -- Sharlyn Lauby, ITM Group, President 
   -- John Nykolaiszyn, Florida International University, Associate Director 
   -- Michael VanDervort, The Human Race Horses, Author and Blogger 
   -- Dan C. Dargene, Ogletree Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., 
   -- David M. DeMaio, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., 

To see the full agenda, register for the event, or view dates for upcoming workshops, visit

The Miami HR Workshop has been approved for 5.0 recertification credits (1.0 of which is a business/strategic credit) from the HR Certification Institute, 5.0 credits from the National Registry of CPE Sponsors in the Personnel/HR or Business Law fields of study, and 5.0 rchs from the APA.

About Ultimate Software

Ultimate Software is a leading cloud provider of people management solutions, with more than 15 million people records in the cloud. Built on the belief that people are the most important ingredient of any business, Ultimate’s award-winning UltiPro delivers HR, payroll, talent, compensation, and time and labor management solutions that seamlessly connect people with the information and resources they need to work more effectively. Founded in 1990, the company is headquartered in Weston, Florida, and has more than 1,900 professionals focused on developing the highest quality solutions and services. In 2014, Ultimate was ranked #20 on FORTUNE’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For; recognized as a ‘Leader’ in Nucleus Research’s HCM Technology Value Matrix; and awarded the highest rating by Constellation Research in its Cloud Buyer’s Bill of Rights Certification. Ultimate has 2,700 customers with employees in 150 countries, including Adobe Systems Incorporated, Bloomin’ Brands, Culligan International, Major League Baseball, Pep Boys, Texas Rangers Baseball, and Texas Roadhouse. More information on Ultimate’s products and services for people management can be found at

UltiPro is a registered trademark of The Ultimate Software Group, Inc. vRide is a registered trademark of vRide, Inc. All other trademarks referenced are the property of their respective owners.

Follow Ultimate Software on Twitter:

Follow Ultimate Software on LinkedIn:

    CONTACT: Ultimate Software, Weston

Public Relations Contact: Darlene Marcroft, 954-331-7444


For Sales Information:

Ultimate Software, 800-432-1729


    SOURCE: Ultimate Software 
Copyright Business Wire 2014 

Access Investor Kit for The Ultimate Software Group, Inc.


What if your employer turned off your work email after 6 PM?

No Work E-Mail for You!

It may be fun to make fun of the French (for reasons that largely escape me), but they get a lot of things right. Food, meals, romance, quality of work life.

Americans would be breaking the law left and right if we had a policy that said we couldn’t check our work email after 6 PM. Despite the recent auto commercials touting our “we work harder” approach, it isn’t necessarily the best one.

I don’t know about you, but if I couldn’t check work email after 6 PM, I might actually make some progress on writing that great American novel.

What if your boss told you not to work in the evening?

Work email is a great distraction, but maybe controlled access would send a message of work culture priorities.  Think about it.

We value you having a personal life with time for your family.

We believe employees should get their work done during work hours.

Spend time with your family and friends.  Work will still be here in the morning.

Potentially powerful stuff.


NLRB: Employer agrees to rescind social media policy

NLRB continues to push employers on social media policy

This press release was issued by the National Labor Relations Board via email on April 8th. I post these notices verbatim as a resources for HR professionals to draw on when needed.

On April 7, 2014, Valero Services, Inc. agreed to rescind its nationwide social media policy and to post and mail a NLRB remedial notice to its employees throughout the country in response to a complaint filed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Valero Services provides employee leasing services to refineries and plants located throughout the United States, including a refinery located in Port Arthur, Texas.

The United Steelworkers of America filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB Region 16, alleging that Valero Services social media policy interfered with employees’ rights to discuss their terms and conditions of employment on social media. Region 16 found merit to the allegations and issued complaint. During the hearing, Associate Chief Administrative Law Judge William N. Cates approved a settlement agreement resolving the dispute. Under the terms of the settlement, Valero Services agreed to notify employees that it will rescind its unlawful social media policy and to post NLRB notices at its 52 facilities nationwide, as well as to mail notices to employees, advising them that they will not be prohibited from using social media to discuss their terms and conditions of employment.

Sharing profits with employees in the airline industry

Having skin in the game is a game changer


Many employees in the airline industry participate in some form of profit-sharing and gain-sharing program.  A recent article in the Dallas Morning News shared some details on the value of the profit-sharing payouts provided by some major airlines, including Southwest, Delta, and JetBlue.

Profit Sharing in the Airline Industry

This information was obtained from the Aviation Blog article by Terry Maxon of the Dallas Morning News:

  • Southwest Airlines employees will split up $228 million in profit sharing in 2014.
  • Delta Air Lines distributed about $506 million on Feb. 14, representing an amount equal to 8.26 percent of their eligible 2013 earnings. In addition, employees during 2013 divided up $91.7 million in monthly performance incentives.
  • Alaska Airlines and its regional affiliate, Horizon Air, handed out about $84 million in annual bonuses in late February. Those bonuses were equal to more than 9 percent of their annual pay. Including monthly performance incentives, the carriers’ employees received nearly $105 million.
  • United Continental Holdings, parent of United Airlines, handed out $190 million in profit sharing to employees on Feb. 14.
  • JetBlue Airways handed out $12 million in profit sharing.

Many of these companies are covered by union contracts. Many of the best union free employers implement gain-sharing voluntarily as an important piece of their company culture, rather than as a union avoidance strategy.

Who’s the next perfect leader for Mozilla?

Leadership is many things, not just one

Given our tendency to search for that one perfect person to place at the top of an organization, I started thinking about who would be the next perfect leader for Mozilla, since the last guy lasted all of two weeks.  Take a look at the gallery of potential candidates, and tell me who you would pick and why.   All the candidates are proven leaders, and for purposes of the exercise, we’ll assume they are all equally qualified on the technical aspects of the job.

Who’s the best candidate?

This is a completely hypothetical exercise, but strangely fascinating somehow (to me, anyway).



Managers Manage the Company

Unions Administer the Contract

union cloud

I had a discussion the other day that I haven’t had for quite a few years.

It usually goes something like this:  “He’s a manager, but he says he can’t make his employees work because they tell him they have a union.”

This makes me crazy.  It’s not true, and it’s not that complicated. Manager’s direct the work as required by job descriptions,and classification assignment within the union contract. Employees perform the work as directed.

Rule #1 is managers keep their right to manage, even when a Collective Bargaining Agreement is in force.   You may have to follow certain rules, and you will likely face some limitations on what you can tell people to do, but you still keep the right to manage your business.

That’s why every collective bargaining agreement has a Management’s Rights clause that will include information like this, referenced below.

Management Rights clauses are contractual clauses found in union contracts that give management the ability to manage its business without interference from the union (except as agreed to).While not all inclusive, below is a listing of typical Management Rights found in union contracts giving management the right to:
  • Hire employees
  • Direct, control and assign employees work
  • To establish schedule and hours of work
  • Determine qualifications of employees
  • Discipline employees and terminate employees for cause
  • Expand and reduce the number of employees
  • Layoff
  • Recall from layoff
  • Establish and enforce rules of conduct
  • Consolidate, tranfer, or close its operations

Below is a sample clause management rights clause.  These kinds of clauses are by way of example only, of rights vested exclusively in the Employer and all rights which the Employer would have but for the existence of a collective bargaining agreement, including the rights to continue or discontinue any past practice or benefit, except as specifically modified by this Agreement, are vested in the Employer’s discretion.


The management of the Employer’s operations and the direction of its employees, including but not limited to the rights: to hire, classify, promote, transfer, lay-off, recall, discipline, discharge for just cause, suspend, direct, control, and determine the qualifications of employees; to maintain order and efficiency and to establish and enforce rules and regulations as well as absentee tardiness policies, safety standards, work loads, and schedules of production; to determine the location and extent of the Employer’s operations and their commencement, expansion, curtailment or discontinuance; to select, introduce, discontinue, eliminate or change equipment, machinery, processes or services; and to schedule and assign work to the employees, shall remain vested exclusively with the Employer.