The NLRB's Successorship Doctrine and "Perfectly Clear" Successors: What the Trump Administration Has Inherited
One of the less publicized, but significant, shifts in labor law under President Barack Obama and his administration involved the National Labor Relations Board's "successorship" and "perfectly clear" successor doctrines. Through a number of recent Obama-Board decisions, President Obama's Executive Order 13495 (Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts), and the application of state and local "worker retention" statutes, it is virtually impossible for a successor employer to avoid inheriting a predecessor's collective bargaining obligation. In addition, the Board has continued to narrow the circumstances in which a successor employer lawfully can set the initial terms and conditions of employment upon which employment will be offered and that will remain in effect until new terms are reached through the collective bargaining process. These developments may come into play when there is a corporate merger with, or an asset purchase of, an entity with a unionized work force. They also are of particular importance to contractors bidding on federal service contracts previously performed by a unionized contractor.