Friday, December 28, 2012
The East Coast Longshoreman's Union had been threatening to go on strike this Sunday to object to, among other things, shipping companies push to reduce or freeze container royalties that go to workers. Today, however, the FMCS's George Cohen announced that the parties have seemed to reach a breakthrough on that issue and have agreed to extend their contract for 30 days to work out a deal. As Steven Greenhouse's article points out, President Obama is probably as happy as anyone because he can now avoid the decision to either enjoin the strike and tick off labor supporters, or let the strike continue and possibly harm the economy.
Update: Here is a link to the actual decision.
From the Los Angeles Times today, this interesting decision on peaceful labor picketing on private sidewalks by the California Supreme Court:
Signature gatherers and protesters may be ejected from privately owned walkways outside a store, but labor unions may picket there peacefully, the California Supreme Court decided Thursday. The state high court unanimously agreed that private walkways in front of stores, unlike public areas in shopping malls, are not open forums accessible to anyone who wants to assemble to express a view. But the justices split, 6 to 1, in upholding two state laws that prevent courts from issuing injunctions against peaceful labor pickets on private property. The laws protecting labor pickets are justified "by the state's interest in promoting collective bargaining to resolve labor disputes," Justice Joyce L. Kennard wrote for the court California "may single out labor-related speech for particular protection or regulation" as an exercise in the economic regulation of labor relations, Kennard wrote.
Of course, this is an area not subject to federal labor law preemption (since it deals with state property rights) and an area where California has been particularly solicitious of the rights of labor picketers in such situations (see also the Fashion Valley Mall decision). On the other hand, this decision only applies in California.
Hat Tip: Daniel Mitchell and Joe Slater
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Friend of the blog, Katie Corrigan (Georgetown) writes to tell us about the Kalmanovitz Initiative 2013 Practitioner Fellowship. They’ve just posted the application for 2013 (attached) and here’s additional information, including video interviews with recent fellows.
Katie look at the fellowship as a fantastic opportunity for folks in the labor movement or other worker rights cause to work up a new idea or creative project in a supportive, university environment. Please share the information about the fellowship with anyone you think has an interesting idea — particularly around organizing and bargaining. The deadline is February 15 but the committee will start looking at applications in mid-January.