June 1, 2012
May Unemployment Data
The Department of Labor's May unemployment numbers are out, and they're disappointing. Employment increased by a net 69,000 jobs, with the rate ticking up a tenth of a point to 8.1%. Last months job gaines were revised from 115,000 to 77,000. This seems to be a replay of the Spring-Summer unemployment blues we've seen the last few years. Health care and transportation/warehousing saw the biggest job gains, with construction showing the biggest losses. But overall, there wasn't much significant change in any of the numbers. Therefore, it's the disappointment that the labor market isn't picking up steam that's the real problem.
May 31, 2012
Labor Law Roundup
- Being a Supershuttle driver isn't all it's cracked up to be, apparently.
- The NLRB's General Counsel has a new memo on social media policies.
- The Second Circuit reverses the NLRB's findings regarding several Starbucks practices in opposition to the IWW organizing campaign. Although one of the employees involved founded Brandworkers, so something good came out of this.
- Some Trump news unrelated to birtherism: the D.C. Circuit reverses the Board's rejection of Trump Plaza's election objection based on the Board's reliance on a lack of evidence of a mock card-check election's dissemination.
Hat Tip: Michael Duff
Ave Maria Right To Work School of Law?
Ave Maria School of Law has recently announced that former NLRB Member John Raudabaugh will be the new Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law. I've got no problem with a law school having a qualified, conservative labor law teacher. But the specifics of this arrangement raises red flags for me. The school's announcement:
Ave Maria School of Law, in conjunction with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, has established the Reed Larson Professorship of Labor Law. The position will be held by John Raudabaugh, a former member of the National Labor Relations Board (1990-1993) and an experienced labor and employee relations attorney.
The Foundation will provide Professor Raudabaugh's services to Ave Maria School of Law. He will teach courses related to labor law and employee rights. As part of his teaching duties, Professor Raudabaugh will supervise a labor law litigation course (practicum or clinic) involving students in significant Foundation-supported cases each academic term, thereby giving high level litigation experience and education to Ave Maria School of Law students. In addition to his teaching duties, Professor Raudabaugh, as a Foundation Staff Attorney, will also work in the Foundation's legal aid program (described at www.nrtw.org) and litigate Foundation-supported cases brought for individual workers.
So, basically, Ave Maria is allowing the NRTWLDF to put in one of the group's attorneys in the classroom, which is troubling. Outside groups funding professorships and other things is certainly not unusual. There has long been controversy over gifts that have strings attached related to donating group's goals. But this case seems to make the law school an unfiltered mouthpiece for the NRTWLDF--in particular, having students working on (only?) Foundation cases. I can undersand why NRTWLDF would want to do this, but to my mind, Ave Maria is undermining its credibility here. Yes, I know it's a conservative school, but this goes beyond that. For instance, if the SEIU funded a professorship at my school with no strings attached, I'd be fine with that. If Craig Becker wanted to teach at my school, I'd be thrilled. But if the SEIU offered to fund a professorship only if it was held by Becker and only if it required the litigation of SEIU cases, I'd be the first to object. That takes away any semblance of academic independence or integrity.
Hat Tip: Patrick Kavanagh
Employee Handbook Version 2.Awesome
I've been meaning to post about this for awhile, and teaching the unit on U.S. Employment Law to my summer students gives me the perfect opportunity. Earlier this spring, the employee handbook from Valve, a gaming company, was floating around the blogs and twitter. It's unusual in that it doesn't talk about the kinds of things we're all used to seeing in handbooks--no policies (exactly), description of benefits (in the usual sense), or disciplinary structure. Instead, it's an introduction into a workplace culture that at least portrays itself as flat (no hierarchy), with work driven by each worker and projects developing organically. The handbook is useful for a couple of things--first as a breath of fresh air, it shows alternative work arrangements might look like. Also, I think I have some serious job envy, although in a lot of ways, it describes what our jobs as law profs are like. Second, it would be a great platform to talk about all of those contract issues that employee handbooks usually raise (sort of the anti-Hoffmann-LaRoche handbook that Rachel Arnow-Richman, Denver, uses to teach transactional skills in employment law), or other issues, like the fact that the figures and cartoons of employees show almost no women, and no people of color, male or female. Anyway, here's the pdf version: Download Valve_Handbook_LowRes
May 29, 2012
Spring 2012 Newlsetter for University of Denver Workplace Law Program
One of the top workplace programs in the United States these days is run by the good folks at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Not only do they have top-notch faculty in many of the specific areas of labor and employment law, but they continue to take the lead in teaching, scholarship, and experiental learning opportunities.
Rachael Arnow-Richman, the director of the Workplace Law Program at DU Law and pictured left, sends along their Spring 2012 Newletter to fill us in on all of the labor and employment law going-ons. Of note, two nationally-recognized labor and employment law scholars, Nicole Porter (Toledo) and Michael Duff (Wyoming), will be visiting law professors during parts of the 2012-2013 academic year at DU Law.
May 28, 2012
Recently Published Scholarship
- Benjamin J. Sachs, Unions, Corporations, and Political Opt-Out Rights After Citizens United, 112 Columbia L. Rev. 800 (2012).
May 27, 2012
The NLRB has just announced that embattled Member Terence Flynn has resigned. According to the announcement:
Yesterday evening, May 26, Board Member Terence F. Flynn submitted his resignation to the President and to NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce.
His resignation is effective July 24, 2012. He has immediately recused himself from all agency business and has asked that the President withdraw his nomination for Board Member of the NLRB.
Mr. Flynn was sworn in as a Board Member on January 9, 2012. He joined the Board in 2003 as Chief Counsel to Member Peter Schaumber, and had previously been in private practice. The letter of resignation, dated May 25, was delivered via FAX and email on May 26.
Earlier today, Chairman Pearce informed NLRB employees of the resignation and, on behalf of the entire Board, thanked them for their "hard work and commitment to excellence through even the most difficult circumstances." He intends to issue a statement after communicating with the staff on Tuesday.
The next question is whether this will eliminate the calls for hearings and pressure on the role of former Member Schaumber and the Romney campaign, including his magic December resignation from the campaign.