On Monday, December 11, 2017, the Board issued a decision holding that Administrative Law Judges can approve an employer’s offer to settle unfair labor practice charges so long as the settlement offer is “reasonable,” even if the general counsel and charging party object to the settlement. The case reverses Obama-era precedent that held that an ALJ can approve a settlement only if the settlement provides “complete relief” for every alleged unfair labor practice. That standard made it impractical for employers to settle unfair labor practice charges because employers received no compromise in exchange for foregoing full-blown litigation.
Two Board cases decided September 7 shed light on how the Board handles alleged breaches of informal settlement agreements and the “default language”[i] that Regions often put in those settlement agreements — ConAgra Foods and Outokumpu Stainless. In particular, Miscimarra’s separate opinions in these cases signal that the Trump Board may hold the Regions more closely to the precise terms of the settlement agreements, and hopefully push back on Regions who have made it difficult for employers to reach informal settlements in recent years.