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Fear And Loathing Among The Union Busters

Jan 31, 2023•Julia Rock

At a gathering of the National Restaurant Association’s legal arm, lawyers and executives grappled with a worker uprising.

“Comrades,” said Chappell Phillips, as he grabbed the microphone, “please do not leave the conference. It’s all better from here.”

Phillips, an executive at the buffet restaurant chain Golden Corral, stood at a podium in the front of a hotel ballroom in Atlanta, before some one hundred restaurant executives and managers and union avoidance lawyers mingling and sipping weak coffee.

Minutes earlier, the government’s top labor watchdog had been standing at the same podium delivering the keynote speech here at the October 2022 summit of the Restaurant Law Center, the legal arm of the National Restaurant Association.

Lobbying groups often invite government officials to their conferences to curry favor or gain insight into regulatory developments. But America’s chief enforcer of federal labor law at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) had not stuck to the proverbial script.

Instead, the agency’s general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo warned audience members that if they fired workers for union organizing, the NLRB would not only reinstate the workers, but also seek full back pay and even public apology letters.

“I’m not nickel and diming workers,” Abruzzo told the audience, which included lawyers from Fisher Phillips, Jackson Lewis, and Littler Mendelson, three of the biggest union-avoidance law firms in the country.

Source: The Lever