Friday, February 4, 2005

Article on domestic violence and the workplace

From the LERA's Perspective on Work,  Domestic Violence Comes to the Workplace by Richard V. Denenberg.  Here is the introduction

January, 2001: Robin Kilmer's estranged husband, wielding a five-inch hunting knife, bursts into a medical center in suburban Dutchess County, New York, where she works as a cleaner. He stabs his wife in the neck and chest, leaving her to be airlifted to a hospital in critical condition. Speeding from the scene, the assailant dies in a collision with a utility pole. Police describe the crash as deliberate.

July, 2001: 20-year-old Lisa Atkins flees in her red Mustang from a boyfriend who is armed with an automatic handgun. She seeks refuge in a former place of employment: a building materials emporium in metropolitan Atlanta. The boyfriend follows Lisa inside "with guns blazing," according to a witness, killing her and the head of the hardware department before taking his own life.

April, 2003: Tacoma Police Chief David Brame, who is embroiled in a tumultuous divorce proceeding, encounters his wife, Crystal, and their two young children in a shopping mall. Drawing his .45-caliber service weapon, he mortally wounds the spouse and turns the gun on himself. The incident prompts the resignation of city officials who had kept Brame at his post, despite danger signs.

Episodes like these demonstrate that domestic violence, once confined to the home, now often invades the workplace, blurring the boundary between personal life and the job. Although gruesome accounts of murder and suicide in a work setting bring to mind unstable employees and vindictive customers, all too often the offender is a battering boyfriend, an enraged former spouse, or a partner-turned-stalker.

The possibility that an intimate partner may injure an employee challenges employers and unions to devise strategies for protecting the workplace while preserving a zone of privacy for workers. Equally important is keeping the targets of violence from being doubly victimized-by sacrificing their livelihoods as well as their safety.

February 4, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Labor Market Institutions

Freeman, Richard B., Joni Hersch, and Lawrence Mishel, editors Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century.

Private sector unionism is in decline in the United States. As a result, labor advocates, community groups, nongovernmental organizations, and individuals concerned with the well-being of workers have sought to develop alternative ways to represent workers' interests. Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century provides the first in-depth assessment of how effectively labor market institutions are responding to this drastically altered landscape.

This important volume provides case studies of new labor market institutions and new directions for existing institutions. The contributors examine the behavior and impact of new organizations that have formed to solve workplace problems and to bolster the position of workers. They also document how unions employ new strategies to maintain their role in the economic system. While non-union institutions are unlikely to fill the gap left by the decline of unions, the findings suggest that emerging groups and unions might together improve some dimensions of worker well-being. Emerging Labor Market Institutions is the story of workers and institutions in flux, searching for ways to represent labor in the new century.

Here is the table of contents:


    Introduction, p. 1-12
    Richard B. Freeman and Joni Hersch

    1. Individual Rights and Collective Agents: The Role of Old and New Workplace Institutions in the Regulation of Labor Markets, p. 13-44
    David Weil

    I. Studies of Nonworker Organizations

    2. White Hats or Don Quixotes? Human Rights Vigilantes in the Global Economy, p. 47-97
    Kimberly Ann Elliott and Richard B. Freeman

    3. The Living Wage Movement: What Is It, Why Is It, and What's Known about Its Impact? p, 99-140
    Jared Bernstein

    4. The Role and Functioning of Public-Interest Legal Organizations in the Enforcement of the Employment Laws, p. 141-176
    Christine Jolls

    II. Studies of Membership-Based Initiatives

    5. Unionization of Professional and Technical Workers: The Labor Market and Institutional Transformation, p. 179-206
    Richard W. Hurd and John Bunge

    6. A Workers' Lobby to Provide Portable Benefits, p. 207-228
    Joni Hersch

    III. New Union Opportunities and Initiatives

    7. A Submerging Labor Market Institution? Unions and the Nonwage Aspects of Work, p. 231-263
    Thomas C. Buchmueller, John E. DiNardo and Robert G. Valletta

    8. Union Participation in Strategic Decisions of Corporations, p. 265-291
    Eileen Appelbaum and Larry W. Hunter

    9. Development Intermediaries and the Training of Low-Wage Workers, p. 293-314
    Lisa M. Lynch

    February 3, 2005 in Book Club | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Wednesday, February 2, 2005

    Charging Employees for Net Use

    Perhaps this will put an end to employees' blogging (at least from work) -

    "Exinda Networks says it's developed a system that allows a company to monitor exactly which Web sites are visited by each employee and how much bandwidth has been used--in terms of a cash loss to the employer."

    Employees to be billed for personal Net Use? By Munir Kotadia ZDNet Australia February 1, 2005, 9:13 AM PT

    February 2, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

    Tuesday, February 1, 2005

    ADEA Disparate Impact Claims Conference at Georgetown

    Age Discrimination in Employment: Disparate Treatment, Disparate Impact, and the Civil Rights of the Elderly

    Sponsored by The American Constitution Society Chapter at Georgetown Law Center

    Join us for a discussion on America's civil rights protections for the elderly, the discrimination they face in the work place, and the recent case of Smith v. City of Jackson, argued before the Supreme Court in November, to decide whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

    When: Wednesday, February 2, 2005 4:00 - 6:00 pm, reception to follow.

    Where: Room 206, McDonough Hall, Georgetown University Law Center
    600 New Jersey Ave. NW
    Washington, DC 20001

    RSVP: E-mail Loren L. AliKhan at by Tuesday, February 1, 2005.

    Tom Goldstein – Counsel for Petitioner Azel Smith; founding partner of Goldstein & Howe, P.C.; adjunct professor of Supreme Court Litigation at Stanford Law School and Harvard Law School.

    Stuart Ishimaru – Commissioner, EEOC; former Deputy Asst. Attorney-General in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice; expert on employment discrimination, fair housing and fair lending cases, and enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Laurie McCann (L ’92) – Senior Attorney, AARP Foundation Litigation; advocate for the views of the AARP in amicus briefs and litigating on behalf of the AARP on age discrimination in employment issues.

    Moderator: Prof. Wendy W. Williams – Professor at Georgetown Law; known for her work in family law and employment discrimination; co-author of casebook on gender and the law; helped draft and testified before Congressional committees on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

    Thanks to Joe Hodnicki for the tip.

    February 1, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Monday, January 31, 2005

    Andy Stern and the Labor Movement

    Great article on Sunday's New York Times on the challenges facing U.S. unions.  The article discusses Andy Stern's recent challenge to the AFL-CIO and the reactions to it. (The New Boss, by Matt Bai)

    Here are the first couple of paragraphs:

    Purple is the color of Andrew Stern's life. He wears, almost exclusively, purple shirts, purple jackets and purple caps. He carries a purple duffel bag and drinks bottled water with a purple label, emblazoned with the purple logo of the Service Employees International Union, of which Stern is president. There are union halls in America where a man could get himself hurt wearing a lilac shirt, but the S.E.I.U. is a different kind of union, rooted in the new service economy. Its members aren't truck drivers or assembly-line workers but janitors and nurses and home health care aides, roughly a third of whom are black, Asian or Latino. While the old-line industrial unions have been shrinking every year, Stern's union has been organizing low-wage workers, many of whom have never belonged to a union, at a torrid pace, to the point where the S.E.I.U. is now the largest and fastest-growing trade union in North America. Once a movement of rust brown and steel gray, Big Labor is increasingly represented, at rallies and political conventions, by a rising sea of purple.

    All of this makes Andy Stern -- a charismatic 54-year-old former social-service worker -- a very powerful man in labor, and also in Democratic politics. The job of running a union in America, even the biggest union around, isn't what it once was. The age of automation and globalization, with its ''race to the bottom'' among companies searching for lower wages overseas, has savaged organized labor. Fifty years ago, a third of workers in the United States carried union cards in their wallets; now it's barely one in 10. An estimated 21 million service-industry workers have never belonged to a union, and between most employers' antipathy to unions and federal laws that discourage workers from demanding one, chances are that the vast majority of them never will.

    January 31, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)