Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bisom-Rapp on Globalization, Equality and Nondiscrimination: An Interdisciplinary Perspective from the U.S. On Diversity Programming

Bisomrapp Susan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson) has posted on SSRN her essay in the Bulletin of Comparative Labour Relations: Globalization, Equality and Nondiscrimination: An Interdisciplinary Perspective from the U.S. On Diversity Programming.

Here's the abstract:

While globalization is often associated with a host of workplace trends detrimental to worker welfare, one hopeful development is the quest for workplace equality and nondiscrimination, an undertaking that is the impetus for efforts spanning from the legislative to the decidedly soft and educational. In the European Union, for example, the year 2007 has been designated the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, an ambitious supranational initiative that aims to inform members of the public about their legal rights, place the benefits of diversity in the spotlight, and put the E.U. on a firm path to tackle and ultimately vanquish discriminatory attitudes and conduct.

From an American perspective, the activities in Europe, especially its nascent workplace diversity movement, are notable, and provide an opportunity to assess the U.S. experience. This essay thus describes efforts in Europe to combat discrimination at the organizational level, and considers the situation in the U.S., where organizations themselves have to an extent determined the terms of legal compliance with antidiscrimination law through the adoption of programs and policies just starting to appear in Europe. In light of recent U.S. studies on diversity program efficacy, the essay concludes with some cautionary words about the lessons Europeans might draw from the U.S.

Sounds like a wonderful contribution about what we can learn from other countries in the world of equal opportunity in the workplace and vice versa.  Check it out!

PS

September 4, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Workers in United States Most Productive

Woman_sleeping_at_work A little something to brag about (via FoxNews.com):

American workers stay longer in the office, at the factory or on the farm than their counterparts in Europe and most other rich nations, and they produce more per person over the year.

They also get more done per hour than everyone but the Norwegians, according to a U.N. report released Monday, which said the United States "leads the world in labor productivity."

The average U.S. worker produces $63,885 of wealth per year, more than their counterparts in all other countries, the International Labor Organization said in its report. Ireland comes in second at $55,986, followed by Luxembourg at $55,641, Belgium at $55,235 and France at $54,609.

If we can just start giving workers a bigger share of the wealth they produce, now that would be a wonderful world.

PS

September 4, 2007 in Labor and Employment News | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Child Labor Law Issues Surrounding "Kid Nation"

Cbslogo Despite the child labor law concerns voiced by the State of New Mexico and by others (including this blog), it is full speed ahead for the TV reality show Kid Nation, according to the New York Times:

Despite a drumbeat of accusations directed toward its new reality series “Kid Nation,” CBS has shown no sign of backing away from plans to broadcast the show starting Sept. 19.

And network executives as well as the program’s producer continued to express confidence that the reality show would go on as planned.

“Everybody’s questions about the show will be answered when it airs,” the show’s executive producer,  Tom Forman, said.

But in case things don't go so well, CBS is considering its options, including fleeing to other countries where there are less restrictive child labor laws:

Most states have even tougher laws than New Mexico’s regarding children and labor. And the attention that has swirled around “Kid Nation” could render it too hot for any state to handle, one CBS executive said.

That executive, who asked not to be identified because he was not speaking for the network or the show, said it was conceivable CBS could look to some location outside the United States.

If they do that, I think it may lead to a substantial boycott of CBS.

PS

September 4, 2007 in Labor and Employment News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

UAW Attempting to Organize KY Toyota Plant

Toyota Today's New York Times reports that the United Auto Workers union is in the beginning stages of trying to organize a Toyota plant in central Kentucky.  The UAW has thus far failed to organize even a single plant wholly owned by a Japanese automaker -- not a good sign for the union, given that Toyota is about to displace General Motors as the world's largest auto maker.  According to the NYT article, the organizing drive has been spurred by the release of internal Toyota documents showing the company wants to cut $300 million in North American labor costs over the next four years, by meetings Toyota has required employees to attend in which the company implicitly threatens to shutter plants if wages don't come down, and by Toyota's recent imposition of a health insurance premium for family members.

For more, see Hardly a Union Hotbed, Toyota's Kentucky Plant Is a Test for Organizers.  Hat tip: Davida Isaacs.

rb

September 4, 2007 in Union News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

AFL-CIO To Fight No-Match Letters

Aflcio6 PlanSponsor.com has the scoop on how the AFL-CIO has filed suit to stop the federal government from instituting the new no-match letters regulations to control employers hiring illegal immigrants:

The "no match" letters from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or the Social Security Administration (SSA) verify the employee is an illegal alien not authorized to work in the U.S. In the suit filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the labor union federation claims that the rules violate workers' rights and impose burdensome obligations on the employers who receive the letters.

"We've seen employers use these no-match letters as a union busting tool," Ana Avendano, an AFL-CIO attorney and director of its immigrant worker program, told the Associated Press. "Employers will look at these letters, see all the new burdens, and just decide to fire people."

The union argues that the many of the discrepancies found in the SSA database are a result of errors and typos that occur when workers are filling out tax forms for job applications, and sending out a letter to employers every time this occurs will unfairly target legal workers.

And now the federal judge has halted the implementation of the no-match rule (via CNN.com):

The Social Security Administration cannot start sending out letters to employers [this] week that carry with them more serious penalties for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Ruling on a lawsuit by the nation's largest federation of labor unions against the U.S. government, U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting the so-called "no-match" letters from going out as planned starting Tuesday.

Stay tuned.

PS

September 4, 2007 in Labor and Employment News | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 3, 2007

Congratulations, Dean Bagenstos!

Bagenstos Congratulations to Samuel Bagenstos (Washington University in St. Louis), who has been appointed Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development.  For the details, and a complimentary quote from Wash. U. Dean Kent Syverud, see this press release.

rb

September 3, 2007 in Faculty News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Grrrrrr ..... Garcetti

Scale_of_justice_2 Another Garcetti train wreck, this one from the Third Circuit (via BNA Daily Labor Report (subscription required)):

Delaware state troopers who complained up the chain of command and to a state auditor about problems at a shooting range are not protected from retaliation under the U.S. Constitution's petition clause or under the First Amendment, a fractured Third Circuit panel rules (Foraker v. Chaffinch, 3d Cir., No. 06-4086, 8/30/07).

DelawareIn a decision where all three judges wrote separate opinions, the Third Circuit finds that two troopers were barred under Garcetti v. Ceballos from suing for retaliation because their job as shooting range operators included reporting safety concerns.

"Although under Garcetti an employee's right to protest matters of public concern is not automatically forfeited by his or her choice of a workplace forum, that right is limited," Judge Smith writes in the majority opinion.

Here's the case.

Again, exactly the type of public safety situation where you want the state troopers to report unsafe conditions since they are in the best position to do so.  In the future, state troopers should forego reporting safety concerns to their supervisors or to outside auditors and just go directly to their favorite newspaper with the story.

I know I haven't said this before (tongue firmly in cheek), but the Garcetti interpretation of First Amendment retaliation law makes absolutely no sense!

Hat Tip:  Jeff Hirsch

PS

September 3, 2007 in Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

VEBAs As the Lesser of Two Evils

000084 First, let me echo Rick's sentiments: Happy Labor Day, everyone!

And now on to more about the recent move of financially-strapped companies to have unions take over their benefits plans. This story from Labor Notes suggests that not all are happy about this development:

A rising chorus of business gurus is singing the praises of a new solution to the U.S. auto industry’s ongoing crisis: one big health care trust for all the Big 3’s workers. According to the proposal’s cheerleaders, by making giant one-time pay-ins the Big 3 auto makers can slice off an estimated $116 billion worth of retiree health obligations from their balance sheets in one swoop and restore profitability.

What’s more, union members will gain too because the money and future administration of retiree health care will be placed in the hands of a massive UAW-administered trust, called a Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association (VEBA).

A simple win-win for all, right?

“Wrong,” say a growing number of United Auto Workers members. UAW rank and filers, including members of the UAW rank-and-file group Soldiers of Solidarity, have launched a campaign to demand that all plans for such a solution be dropped in current contract negotiations.

In one campaign leaflet these workers say that VEBA really stands for “Vandalize Employee Benefits Again” and that the plan will allow “the company to walk away from retiree health care commitments, and shift all the risk.”

The issue with the VEBA solution appears to be that, "[u]nder a VEBA, the remaining costs of maintaining health care benefits will have to be shifted back to the workers themselves."  But if it is bankruptcy for the company or a VEBA arrangement, maybe it is the lesser of two evils.

Hat Tip: Dennis Nolan

PS

September 3, 2007 in Pension and Benefits | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Happy Labor Day!!!

Labor.

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rb

September 3, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Recently Published Scholarship

Douglas







Articles

  • Brianne J. Gorod, Rejecting "Reasonableness": A Look at Title VII's Anti-Retaliation Provision, 56 American U. L. Rev. 1469 (2007).
  • Andrew Douglas (photo above), Public Sector Employee Bargaining: Contract Negotiations and Case Law, 55 Cleveland St. L. Rev. 1 (2007).

Comments & Notes

  • Kate L. Rakoczy, On Mock Funerals, Banners, and Giant Rat Balloons: Why Current Interpretation of Section 8(b)(4)(ii)(B) of the National Labor Relations Act Unconstitutionally Burdens Union Speech, 56 American U. L. Rev. 1621 (2007).

rb

September 3, 2007 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Top-5 Employment SSRN Downloads

Top-5 Labor SSRN Downloads