May 27, 2005
Labor Quote Quiz - Answer
The answer to this week's (May 23) Labor Quote Quiz of the Week is:
Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.
And the answer is:
-- Alice Walker; author
May 26, 2005
DOL Considers Changes To FMLA's Regs
Stephanie Armour (USA TODAY) reports that the Department of Labor is expeted to shortly come out with revised FMLA regulations. According to Armour:
"No one knows what changes will be proposed. The Labor Department, which oversees the federal leave law, has the authority to make revisions, with a public comment process. The Bush administration has not been commenting on potential changes
Among the possible alterations:
•What's a serious illness? Leave can generally be taken for a serious illness, but groups wanting the law changed say people with minor health problems, such as a broken toe or a cold, are claiming they should get time off. The groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, want a more precise description of what would qualify as a serious illness....
•Occasional time off. The law currently allows employees to take time off in small chunks of time — say, a half hour one day to undergo radiation therapy, for example, or a few hours to see a doctor.
The problem? Business leaders say some unscrupulous employees are using the intermittent time off for bogus reasons. For example, they might come to work late every day and say it's because they have migraines, which are covered by the FMLA....
•Proving an illness. A doctor can now sign off on a form and say that an employee has a serious illness, but employer groups say companies don't have enough information to adequately judge whether such certification is really warranted. Some would like the ability to have a conversation with the doctor to reassure employers that the health complaint is legitimate."...
For the entire article go to Family, medical leave act at center of hot debate
NBA's Labor Negotiations
"That's a positive sign we're getting back together," Hunter said. "Both sides understand the urgency and importance. We might have gotten distracted. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail."...
For the complete article go to Union Leader Upbeat About Labor Deal (by Roscoe Nance, USA TODAY)
Labor Quote Quiz
"Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet."
May 25, 2005
NLRA turns 70
National Labor Relations Board Chairman Robert J. Battista declared that the nation’s primary labor law has been a success for 70 years by “being true to its principles, and yet flexible to change.” He said:
Our mission has been to resolve labor disputes peacefully by providing an orderly regulatory process within which labor, management, and employees can resolve their differences. Fulfilling this important mandate has been an immense task but we have succeeded for 70 years and will be successful in the future.
In a speech on May 20 commemorating the 70th anniversary of the National Labor Relations Board, Chairman Battista attributed the Agency’s success and longevity to the democratic fundamental principles inherent in the law it administers, including:
1) freedom of choice to be represented by a union or not;
2) democracy in the workplace through rule of the majority; and
3) participation in the workplace through free collective-bargaining and voluntary agreements.
"Together, these principles constitute a ‘rule of law’ in the workplace that fosters and yields industrial stability,” Chairman Battista stated, adding:
The statute’s success can be attributed to its enduring principles, while at the same time allowing for flexibility and change in the dynamic labor relations field. The law was meant to ebb and flow, to change from time to time within the boundaries set by the statute and subject to review by the courts.
The setting for the speech was a conference sponsored by New yor University in New York City. The NLRB is a Federal agency that administers the National Labor Relations Act by conducting elections to determine whether or not employees want union representation and investigating and remedying unfair labor practices by employers and unions.
During the 70 years of its existence, the NLRB has processed over 2 million cases, issued over 65,000 published decisions in adjudicated cases, and collected $1.67 billion in backpay. It also has conducted 415,000 elections involving over 40 million workers. The median time from petition to election presently is 42 days, and about 98% of all unfair labor practice cases filed in the field offices are resolved in a median of 91 days.
Addressing critics of the Board, the Chairman said:
"Often the Board’s critics fail to recognize that our job is to enforce the law as written. They also don’t seem to understand or neglect to mention that Congress established the Board’s structure anticipating that changing administrations would appoint persons who are free, within statutory limits, to reflect the labor policy of the administration making the appointments. At the same time, reasonable stability in Board decisions is necessary so that companies, unions, and employees can understand and follow the law.
Survey on Rudeness
Survey: Rudeness on rise in workplace (Whittier Daily News)
"Common courtesy is anything but common anymore, and is becoming an endangered species in more environments, not the least of which is the workplace. In a University of North Carolina study, "Workplace Incivility: The Target's Eye View," 1,400 employees surveyed said their co-workers are getting ruder by the year. In fact, 78 percent said that incivility has gotten worse in the last 10 years. More disturbing, they said, is that rude people are more likely to be in higher positions than those on the receiving end of the nasty behavior. The data showed that 12 percent had actually quit a job to avoid a rude co-worker. More than half of all surveyed said they lost work time worrying about the treatment they received. And in a stunning revelation that can ripple all the way to the customer, 22 percent said they deliberately slowed down or delayed their work effort in response to rude treatment. Where have our manners gone? Can your business survive without them?"...
"Common courtesy is anything but common anymore, and is becoming an endangered species in more environments, not the least of which is the workplace.
In a University of North Carolina study, "Workplace Incivility: The Target's Eye View," 1,400 employees surveyed said their co-workers are getting ruder by the year. In fact, 78 percent said that incivility has gotten worse in the last 10 years. More disturbing, they said, is that rude people are more likely to be in higher positions than those on the receiving end of the nasty behavior.
The data showed that 12 percent had actually quit a job to avoid a rude co-worker. More than half of all surveyed said they lost work time worrying about the treatment they received. And in a stunning revelation that can ripple all the way to the customer, 22 percent said they deliberately slowed down or delayed their work effort in response to rude treatment.
Where have our manners gone? Can your business survive without them?"...
Labor and Employment Law Conference at MSU
On Wednesday, June 8, 2005, Michigan State University (MSU) will present a conference, "Emerging Issues in Labor and Employment Law: A Practical Seminar for Corporate Counsel, Human Resource Executives and Managers," at the James B. Henry Center for Executive Development at MSU in East Lansing. The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program at MSU College of Law and the School of Labor and Industrial Relations at MSU are sponsoring this event.
This seminar is designed to keep corporate attorneys, human resource executives and managers at the forefront of new legislation in labor and employment law as well as provide them with the knowledge and resources they need to meet the challenges in these rapidly changing legal areas. The conference features MSU faculty and practicing professionals who will provide invaluable information on affirmative action, reverse discrimination, reducing staff without increasing litigation, meeting diversity goals, FMLA law, and the advantages of arbitration.
For complete information and registration forms click here.
May 24, 2005
Graduate Student Wins Discrimination Lawsuit
"A former SUNY graduate student was awarded $601,000 this month after a federal jury decided faculty members attacked him academically as retribution for discrimination complaints he made.
The award for Carlos Bayon, a 49-year-old former State University of New York at Buffalo student, followed eight years of legal battles. Bayon, who graduated from SUNY-Buffalo with honors as an undergraduate, enrolled again as an anthropology graduate student in fall 1996. Experts say that the size of the award — which will be appealed — is extremely high for student litigation.
Bayon walks with a limp from chronic knee problems and a violent robbery years ago, and was recognized by SUNY-Buffalo as a disabled student. Bayon says he has trouble walking, sleeping, and sometimes concentrating for long periods. Because of his disabilities, Bayon argued in court filings, he needed extra time to finish certain assignments. Bayon did not get the time he felt he needed, and disputed low grades he received in spring 1997, alleging that he was discriminated against both because of his disabilities and because of his Puerto Rican ethnicity."...
Report on Gender Discrimination at the Univ. of California
Recent study shows UC discriminates in hiring female faculty: UCD sociology Professor says more factors are at play (by Mellissa B. Taddei, The California Aggie)
"Following the 1996 passage of Proposition 209, the controversial state constitutional amendment prohibiting preferential treatment on the basis of race and gender, the number of new tenure-track female faculty hired at the University of California has dipped tremendously. In recent years the percentages have made significant gains, but according to a recent study, the UC continues to discriminate against women.
Despite a hiring surge due to a large number of faculty retirements and a ballooning student population, the percentage of women hired has remained flat, according to the study.
The report, “Unprecedented Urgency: Gender Discrimination in Faculty Hiring at the University of California,” points to recent hiring data as evidence of discrimination — nearly all of the UC campuses failed to surpass the 37 percent hiring rate reached in the 1993-1994 academic year.
The report was officially released Sunday night to coincide with the UC President’s Summit on Faculty Diversity taking place today. It was authored by UC Davis professors Martha West, Gyöngy Laky, Kari Lokke, and Kyaw Tha Paw U."...
NFL's Labor Issues
NFL labor: Upshaw already fears '08 woes (by Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY)
"Gene Upshaw, frustrated by the slow pace of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players, has a message for team owners in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for their spring meetings: Let's get busy." ...
"The labor deal, which expires after the 2007 season, and revenue sharing are on the agenda at the two-day meetings. Also on tap: the possible approval of the sale of the Minnesota Vikings to a group now headed by New Jersey mall baron Zygmunt Wilf and the awarding of the 2009 Super Bowl." ...
May 23, 2005
Labor Joke and Cartoon of the Week
America West/USAir Merger
Workers fear airline deal will cost them (by Dan Reed and Barbara De Lollis, USA TODAY)
"Doug Parker began selling his proposed merger of America West and US Airways to the market last Thursday by proclaiming that the combined carrier's costs will be so low that it'll be profitable even if oil remains above $50 a barrel.
Now the America West CEO, who would run the merged carrier, has to make the sales pitch of his life.
Based on Parker's bold prediction about the merged carriers' cost structure and his expectation that 15% of their existing fleets will be eliminated, workers and labor leaders at both carriers fear the merger could means lots of layoffs, big cuts in pay and benefits, and junior workers being bumped down the career ladder.
But winning labor's critical support could cost Parker and the merged company dollars they don't have to spare if they are to achieve the vision of building the first nationwide, full-service, low-cost airline.
"The history of mergers is that they're not easy and they don't necessarily produce" the cost savings and increased revenue predicted, says veteran industry consultant Jon Ash of InterVISTAS-ga2 in Washington. To win the support of various involved parties, managements pushing mergers typically have to make some trades, he says. But that tends either to inflate costs or undermine the economic justification of the merger."
Coca-Cola Workers on Strike
Teamsters at Coca-Cola bottling and distribution facilities in Hartford, Connecticut and the Los Angeles area went on strike as of 6:00 a.m. EDT today. The workers are striking over the breakdown of current contract negotiations and Coke's continuing push to have workers pay more for their healthcare benefits.
"Instead of investing in the people who work hard every day to produce, package and distribute Coke products, both Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) have dug deep into corporate funds to reward poor-performing executives on their way out the door," said Jack Cipriani, Director of the Teamsters Brewery and Soft Drink Workers Conference.
Strike at the BBC
"Thousands of British Broadcasting Corp. journalists and technicians began a 24-hour strike over proposed job cuts Monday, severely disrupting radio and TV programs.
The work stoppage, one of the biggest in the BBC's recent history, prevented flagship morning news program "Today" from broadcasting on Radio 4. The show was replaced by prerecorded programs with only brief news bulletins."