June 17, 2005
ILO Report on Forced Labor
Study Analyzes Forced Labor Worldwide (Forbes.com)
"A report released last month by the International Labor Office provides a wide-ranging analysis of the problem of forced labor globally. For the purposes of the estimation, three categories of forced labor are identified: institutional, sexual and economic."...
June 16, 2005
First step towards breakup?
LA Times reports that the leader of UNITE Here, the Service Employees International Union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers and the Laborers' International Union of North America, have officially formed the Change to Win Coalition. According to the LA Times:
"The move was widely viewed as the first step toward a split in the 50-year-old AFL-CIO, a federation of 57 national unions that has been losing membership and power for decades. Four of the five union leaders have openly discussed leaving the larger body, complaining that its leadership is stodgy and defeatist.
But they said Wednesday that they had no immediate plans to bolt and wanted to keep the focus on their new group, called the Change to Win Coalition."
5 Major Activist Unions Unite (by Nancy Cleeland)
Unemployment Insurance Data
From the DOL:
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WEEKLY CLAIMS REPORT
SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA
In the week ending June 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 333,000, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 332,000. The 4-week moving average was 335,000, an increase of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average of 332,250.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1 percent for the week ending June 4, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's unrevised rate of 2.0 percent.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 4 was 2,641,000, an increase of 58,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,583,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,596,500, an increase of 11,250 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,585,250.
For the complete release see here.
June 15, 2005
Thompson Ford's Article on Workplace Religious Discrimination
Professor Thompson Ford (Stanford) writes a very interesting article on workplace religious discrimination for Slate.com.
In Take God to Work Day, Professor Thompson Ford notes that:
the battle over religious accommodation is moving to the sphere of private employment. The Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2005, introduced in the Senate this spring, has an odd constellation of supporters and opponents. Its sponsors include Pennsylvania Sen. Richard Santorum, a religious conservative, and Massachusetts liberal John Kerry. In what must be a sign of the end of days, Hillary Clinton has found common cause with Orrin Hatch in support of WRFA. On the other side, civil rights activists, including the ACLU and the National Women's Law Center, have joined with businesses in opposition.
WRFA would replace the current legal standard for religious accommodation with one similar to that applied to the disabled. Employers are required to accommodate disabled employees (by modifying facilities, reassigning jobs, or changing work schedules) unless doing so would cause the employer undue hardship. There are good reasons, however, to distinguish religious observance from disabilities. Religious employees forced to decide whether to honor a religious belief or stay at a job face a difficult choice, to be sure. But people with disabilities have no choice at all. In the absence of a wheelchair or seeing-eye dog, many of them can't work.
Pious employees will insist that their religious observance is, well, sacred. But religious mandates aren't always etched in stone, and some religious beliefs are hard to distinguish from more earthly ideological commitments—which, of course, employees must set aside when they conflict with work. And sometimes, religious commitment should have to bend to workplace goals. Employees have rightly been rebuffed in court when they've complained that co-ed dormitories conflict with their religious beliefs. However sincere, such claims—often inspired by religious admonishments to avoid temptation—could discourage employers from hiring women. Pharmacists with religious objections to contraception say they should have a right to refuse to fill birth-control prescriptions, and police officers have argued that religious liberty entitles them to refuse to protect abortion clinics. If sufficiently widespread, such refusals could effectively nullify the constitutional right to reproductive freedom. Social workers have argued that counseling gay and lesbian couples offends their religious convictions. Here WRFA could amount to a federal right to discriminate and come into direct conflict with the civil rights laws of some states. In each of these cases, the expansion of religious rights in the workplace that WRFA envisions would require courts to intervene in ideological disputes between employers and employees.
The Economic Policy Institute issues a Snapshot report on CAFTA - CAFTA outlook clouded by NAFTA's failure for farmers.
According to the report:
"Promoters of the proposed Dominican Republic/Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) have asserted that it will provide significant benefits to the agricultural sector. Similar promises were made in the debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1992 and 1993. Unfortunately, the results never lived up to the promises."
For the complete report see here.
June 14, 2005
Univ. of California Clerical Workers Strike
UC CLERICAL WORKERS STRIKE TODAY (CBS News)
"Clerical workers at the University of California began a three-day strike today to demand pay increases.
The walkout by the Coalition of University Employees (CUE) affects UC's 10 campuses and five medical centers across the state as well as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The union represents 16,000 clerical workers...."
AFL-CIO Moves On
Labor Federation Votes for Sweeney's Plan (by Pete Yost)
"Although some of the biggest unions oppose them, the AFL-CIO's executive committee voted 17-7 Monday to support an organizing effort and political strategy backed by the labor federation's president, John Sweeney. The vote came amid an internal struggle over setting the course of organized labor."...
June 13, 2005
Census of Law Professor Bloggers
This morning's PrawfsBlawg has an interesting census of the current law professor blogging population. They report that 103 law professors currently blog; we have 24 law professors who blog as part of our Law Professor Blogs Network.
PrawfsBlawg notes that of the 103 law professor bloggers, 80.6% (83) are male and 19.4% (20) are female. The comparable numbers for the 24 members of the Law Professor Blogs Network: 62.5% (15) male and 37.5% (9) female.
Here are the law schools with the most law professor bloggers:
Law Schools with Most Law Prof Bloggers
Number of Bloggers
Sexual Harassment Claim by Gay Attorney
Gay Associate Claims Sexual Harassment by White & Case Partners (Anthony Lin, NY Law Journal)
"A gay senior associate in the Los Angeles office of New York's White & Case has sued the firm for sexual harassment and sex discrimination, claiming two male partners created a "intimidating, hostile and offensive work environment" through inappropriate comments and behavior.
In a suit filed June 2 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Christopher M. Meekins, a corporate associate at the firm since 2002, accuses partners Jerry Bloom and James Cairns of making unwelcome sexual advances in addition to frequently commenting on Meekins' physical appearance and inquiring about his personal life." ...
Dissenting Unions Form New Coalition
Steven Greenhouse (NYT) reports that five unions are announcing that they are forming:
"a coalition aimed at unionizing large numbers of workers, several union officials said yesterday.
Labor leaders said they were planning this move because they want to form an aggressively pro-growth coalition and because they believe the A.F.L.-C.I.O. is doing too little to organize nonunion workers.
This new coalition will be formed by the Service Employees International Union, the Teamsters, the laborers, the food and commercial workers and Unite Here, which represents hotel, restaurant and apparel workers, two union officials said. These officials insisted on anonymity because they feared some union leaders would be angry at them for disclosing the plan before it is announced Wednesday, after union leaders meet in Washington."