September 17, 2011
Reports are out that the UAW and GM have reached a tentative new deal. Reflecting the improving conditions of US automakers, the terms look pretty good for the union--important because the UAW will presumably use the four-year GM agreement as a starting point for its upcoming negotiations with Ford and Chrysler. Among the reported terms are $5,000 bonus for workers (in lieu of raises, except for entry-level workers who will get $2-3 more an hour), more profit-sharing, no cuts in health and retirement benefits, and the promise to reopen the Spring Hill, TN plant (formerly of Saturn fame) and possibly other expansions of the job force.
The union is expected to seek ratification from workers over the next couple of weeks. I don't have a good sense of the UAW's membership, but I have a hard time imagining that this deal will face a serious threat of not being ratified.
September 14, 2011
Class on Labor and Employment Issues in the Health Care Industry
I am considering putting together a course or seminar on labor & employment law issues in the health care industry, and I was wondering if a course like that is offered anywhere?
My list of potential topics includes, among others,
1. special treatment of unions in the industry regarding how unions organize, appropriate bargaining units, the right to strike, etc.
2. unionization of doctors in HMOs, and of interns and residents generally (i.e., are they students or employees?)
3. "conscience rules" re: employees who don't want to provide abortion services, fill birth control or morning after pill prescriptions, etc.
4. hospitals as federal contractors for affirmative action purposes
5. whistle blower protection for blowing the whistle on poor patient care, or on medicare fraud, etc.
6. FLSA protection (or not) for interns, residents, nurses, home health workers, etc.
7. doctors' hospital privileges
8. non-compete clauses and other employment law issues in doctors' practices
9. OSHA issues in hospitals, e.g., infectious disease regs, lifting injuries, exposure to toxics, etc.
10. medical staff governance and bylaws.
I'm interested in finding out what if any topics I should have on my list but don't, and what if any syllabi or teaching materials may be out there.
If you have ideas or materials to share, you can contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org
2011 LEL Colloquium
I'm very much looking forward to seeing everyone at the 2011 labor & Employment Law Colloquium, hosted by Michael Waterstone (Loyola-L.A.), Gowri Ramachandran (Southwestern), and Noah Zatz (UCLA). Here's the star-studded line-up of speakers.
Fired for Shooting Back
LaborRelated has a terrific post on a Detroit-area Walgreen's clerk who got fired after firing back at two robbers who fired at him. Video included. Discharge in violation of public policy? John Holmquist over at Michigan Employment Law Connection says absolutely not.
September 13, 2011
The NLRB has just released the final, formatted notice that is now required as of Nov. 14. It's in full color and suitable for framing.
Also, coming as no surprise, is the first legal challenge to the notice requirement. It's from the National Association of Manufacturers, who are being represented by former NLRB Member Peter Kirsanow (see here for the complaint). Honestly, I don't see much of chance of this suit winning, even before a conservative panel. The notice rule--which mirrors a bunch of near-identical requirements from other agencies--seems to be an incredibly modest exercise of administrative authority. But, we'll see . . . .
Hat Tip: Laura Cooper & Patrick Kavanagh
Seattle Passes Paid Sick Leave Ordinance
The Seattle City Council voted yesterday to require employers in the city to provide paid sick leaves to employees, according to an Associated Press story. Currently, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and the state of Connecticut mandate paid sick days. You may recall that Millwaukee passed an ordinance a few years ago, but it was struck down on state election law grounds.
The Seattle ordinance requires that employers of five or more employees give each employee five paid sick days for their own sickness or that of a person they care for, or if they are a victim of domestic violence, to cooperate with law enforcement and court proceedings. Employers with 250 or more employees have to provide nine days.
Some are opposing the law as bad policy during a recession, while others (including many employers) praise it as easy to comply with, not adding much in expenses, and better protecting workers (both the sick and the not sick) and customers.
According to the group Family Values at Work, 44 million workers nationwide still lack access to paid sick time. This is a step in the right direction, especially for those lower wage workers who likely can't afford to take unpaid time off even when they need to, and for all of us those workers would come in contact with.
Ramachandran on Fixing Pay Discrimination
Pay discrimination, like many forms of discrimination, is a particularly sticky problem. In many instances, just as with other forms of discrimination, it is unrealistic to allocate all the blame and burden for its continued existence on a single actor, whether it be an employer or employee. Thus, the traditional civil rights regime in which an individual actor is held liable for the discrimination does a poor job of dealing with this problem. I propose an intervention - pay transparency - that would help prevent, root out, and correct the discrimination in the first place, instead of relying solely on after the fact blame and liability.
Pay transparency - the ability for employees to find out what other employees in their workplace make - is rare outside of public employment, and cultural norms against talking about one’s income may make it frightening to some readers. Yet, unlike many other approaches to reducing seemingly “blameless” discrimination, such as targeting unconscious discrimination, or potentially counterproductive “debiasing” efforts, incentivizing pay transparency can fit very comfortably within our legal framework. By turning pay transparency into an affirmative defense to pay discrimination claims, this preventive measure can be woven neatly into our current approach to civil rights enforcement and notions of individual responsibility.