March 17, 2005
Joke and Cartoon of the Week
This week comic relief from BigLabor.com.
LERA's New Initiative
Industry Councils represent a bold new initiative for the LERA, building on a long tradition of industry-focused analysis and publications by the Association. A network of tri-partite industry councils is envisioned, with organizing efforts already underway in aerospace, airline, automotive, construction, health care, public sector, steel, and other industries. Enabled with a major grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this initiative represents a key structural addition to the Association - complementing the work of the National Organization, the Local Chapters, and the various Sections that have been established.
For complete details see here.
March 16, 2005
NBER Report on Final-Offer Arbitration
Strategic Bargaining Behavior, Self-Serving Biases, and the Role of Expert Agents: An Empirical Study of Final-Offer Arbitration by Orley Ashenfelter, Gordon B. Dahl - #11189 (LS)
In this paper we study the complete evolution of a final-offer arbitration system used in New Jersey with data we have systematically collected over the 18-year life of the program. Covering the wages of police officers and firefighters, this system provides virtually a laboratory setting for the study of strategic interaction. Our empirical analysis provides convincing evidence that, left alone, the parties do not construct and present their offers as successfully as when they retain expert agents to assist them. In principle, expert agents may be helpful to the parties for two different reasons: (a) they may move the arbitrator to favor their position independently of the facts, or (b) they may help eliminate inefficiencies in the conduct of strategic behavior. In this paper we construct a model where the agent may influence outcomes independent of the facts, but where the agent may also improve the outcomes of the process by moderating any self-serving biases or over-confidence that may have led to impasse in the first instance. Our data indicate that expert agents may well have had an important role in moderating self-serving biases early in the history of the system, but that the parties have slowly evolved to a non-cooperative equilibrium where the use of third-party agents has become nearly universal and where agents are used primarily to move the fact finder's decisions.
Thanks to Joe Hodnicki, editor of Law Librarian Blog, for the tip.
8th Cir. Decision Involving Wal-Mart
The 8th Circuit issued a decision in Wal-Mart v. NLRB.
The issues in the case are whether the following incidents constitutes solicitation: 1) when employee wore a t-shirt which read, "Sign a card.... Ask me how"; 2) when he had conversations with co-workers about attending a union meeting; 3) when he asked a co-worker to sign a union authorization card. The Board held that none of these actions constituted solicitation. The 8th Cir. agreed with the Board as to the first two incidents. Regarding the last incident the Court held that the employee's action constituted solicitation even though he did not actually offer a card at the time he asked the co-worker to sign.
Judge Bright dissented in part, disagreeing with the majority regarding the last incident.
March 14, 2005
More on blogs at work
Anick Jesdanun of The Arizona Republic, describes some of the most famous cases of employees who have been fired for blogging about their jobs, Ellen Simonetti ("Queen of the Sky"), Mark Jen (Google) and Heather Armstrong (Dooce.com). Jesdanun notes that :
"Though many companies have Internet guidelines that prohibit visiting porn sites or forwarding racist jokes, few of the policies directly cover blogs, or Web journals, particularly those written outside of work hours."
The article also quotes several experts regarding the state of the law in this developing area.
Web blogs get workers in trouble (by Anick Jesdanun)