Saturday, May 14, 2016

Silicon Valley Arbitration Clauses

The NY Times today described the increasing use of arbitration clauses for Silicon Valley and other similar start-up firms.  This issue is nothing new to readers of this post, but it perhaps shows that even Silicon Valley isn't immune from broader workplace trends (although they certainly put a nicer spin on it).  As always, the devil is likely in the details.  Workers represented by experienced unions tend to fare well under arbitration systems, while individual employees--or those trying to form class actions--are far less likely to see the benefits of one-sided arbitration agreements.  As the article notes, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking new rules for commercial arbitration, but aside from the NLRB, there seems little that agencies are doing for employees.

-Jeff Hirsch

May 14, 2016 in Arbitration, Labor and Employment News, Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Uber Guild

UberYesterday, Uber announced that it had come to an agreement with the Independent Drivers Guild, which is not a formal union, but is affiliated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.  This agreement is not a concession by Uber that its drivers are employees; to the contrary, it is a way to give drivers a voice explicitly without making such a concession.  Broadly, the deal has Uber promising to hold monthly meeting with the Guild and sets up an appeals process for barred drivers.  Drivers will also get certain benefits, such as discounted insurance, roadside help, and legal assistance.  There will not be bargaining over fares and other benefits.  Moreover, the machinists promised not to try to organize during the 5-year agreement or seek status as employees under the NLRA.

This is a good example of non-traditional means to provide employees with voice in a non-union workplace. I've actually been working on a paper (for far too long) that explores these and other types of non-traditional collective voice measures, particularly ones that take a more collaborative stance towards employers. 

-Jeff Hirsch 

 

May 11, 2016 in Labor and Employment News, Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

SEIU-AFSCME Merger?

The New York Times is reporting on the increasingly cozy relationship between the Service Employees International Union and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.  Although there is nothing official at this point, a future merger between the two unions could be in the cards.

-JH

 

May 5, 2016 in Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Supreme Court Tied Up in Friedrichs

Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court issued its opinion in Friedrich's today and, as is no surprise following Justice Scalia's death, the Court was 4-4.  This means that Abood and its approval of public-sector union fees under the federal constitution lives on.  On the other hand, I'd expect challenges to pop up under state constitutions, which will obviously be dependent on a given state's prior decisions and court politics.

The full text of the decision is:  "The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court."

-JH

March 29, 2016 in Labor and Employment News, Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 11, 2016

McDonald's Joint-Employer Hearing

NLRBThe ALJ hearing over McDonald's alleged status as a joint-employer under the NLRA is currently underway.  The Washington Post's Lydia DePillis is covering the hearing and has a good description of opening statements.  Although I understand why parties, especially McDonald's, is initially casting this as a broad attack at the franchise model, to me the more interesting aspect of the case is to see how the NLRB will apply it's new Browning-Ferris joint-employer standard.  As is often the case, it's all in the details, and that's where I expect the this case to be illuminating.

-JH

March 11, 2016 in Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Rogers: "Libertarian Corporatism" Better than Wagner

RogersBrishen Rogers (Temple) has just posted on SSRN his article (forthcoming Texas L. Rev.) Libertarian Corporatism is Not an Oxymoron. Here's the abstract:

This paper, for a symposium on constitutional law and inequality, proposes a new model of labor law termed "libertarian corporatism." Under this model, the state would strongly encourage or even mandate collective bargaining at the occupational or sectoral level (as corporatism requires), while leaving workers near-unfettered choice as to bargaining representatives, and removing certain core legal constraints on workers’ concerted action (as a principled libertarianism requires). This model may ensure both equality and employee choice better than our existing "Wagner Model." Libertarian corporatism may also be a promising power-dispersion strategy in other fields--for example, it could help resolve conflicts over the use of user data by tech firms.

rb

February 27, 2016 in Labor Law, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

O'Brien on Swearing & Section 7

O'brienCongratulations to Christine O'Brien (Boston College-Management) for her extensive citation in a New York Times article about workplace profanity, bikini contests, social media, and Section 7 of the NLRA. Christine's article on point is I Swear! From Shoptalk to Social Media: The Top Ten National Labor Relations Board Profanity Cases, 90 St. John's LL. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2016). The NYT article is Fired for Cursing on the Job, Testing the Limits of Labor Law.

rb

February 24, 2016 in Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Class Actions, Arbitration, and D.R. Horton

HortonStacie Strong (Missouri) posted this to the ADR profs listserv. I am cross-posting it here with her permission:

As some of you may know, another case involving class waivers in the employment/labor context was heard Friday by the Seventh Circuit.  The case, Lewis v. Epic Systems, Inc. (No. 15-2997) (here's the district court opinion), saw the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filing an amicus brief.  While it is unclear how the Seventh Circuit will rule in this instance, it would seem that the Supreme Court will soon need to address this issue, either to resolve the split between agency (NLRB) determinations on the proper reading of the National Labor Relations Act and various federal court rulings (if the Seventh Circuit follows the approach used by other federal courts since the D.R. Horton case), or between different federal courts (if the Seventh Circuit adopts the NLRB approach).

rb

February 15, 2016 in Arbitration, Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Abarams: New Book on the Practice of Labor Arbitration

BookRoger Abrams (Northeastern) has just published The Labor Arbitration Workshop: An Experiential Approach (Carolina Academic Press, 2016). The book is a fascinating collection of (mostly) arbitration awards. An accompanying website contains simulations that can be used to develop lawyering skills. Here's the publisher's description:

Using these unique experiential materials, students explore the important role of alternative dispute resolution in the workplace. Using court and arbitration decisions as well as supplementary materials and problems, students discuss the role of the advocate, the relationship between arbitration and the judicial system, issues of arbitrability, evidence and procedure, as well as a variety of substantive contractual issues normally addressed in arbitration, such as seniority, fringe benefits, wages and hours, subcontracting and union security. In particular, the workshop focuses on "just cause" discharge and discipline cases. Using transcripts and simulations provided in a supplementary website, students draft an arbitration brief based on a transcript of a hearing and participate in an arbitration simulation using witnesses and documentary evidence.

rb

February 1, 2016 in Book Club, Labor Law, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Captive Audience Petition

NLRBA few days ago, over 100 law professors (present company included) filed a petition with the NLRB to change its approach to captive audience meetings.  Under the proposed rule, the NLRB would return to its prior policy of providing a union the opportunity to hold a meeting with employees if the employer does the same.  This differs from the current approach, under which employers can hold as many captive audience meetings that it wants (up to 24 hours prior to the vote), without giving the union similar access to employees.

An excerpt of the news release follows.  You can see the full release here and the petition (which was primarily authored by Charlie Morris and Paul Secunda) here

One-hundred and six (106) professors of labor law and employment relations have just filed an “interested person’s” petition with the National Labor Relations Board, the intent of which is to correct an unfair and undemocratic practice that American employers have long used to keep unions from winning NLRB elections. That practice is conducting what has come to be known as “captive-audience” meetings. These are anti-union talk sessions that management stages with employees on company premises during paid working time, with attendance compulsory and the union denied an equal opportunity to address those employees. It is a practice that employers tend to use almost reflexively whenever their employees are engaged in union organizing or seem likely to become so engaged. Such conduct was originally held to be a violation of the National Labor Relations Act, but that was changed in1953 by a Republican dominated Labor Board. Although the Board in 1966 commenced a reconsideration of that ruling, it never completed the process, deliberately leaving the matter open for change sometime in the future— which may now be about to happen. . . .

The petition points out that a similar rule has long prevailed for union elections on the airlines and railroads, which are covered by the Railway Labor Act, a similar yet different statute The National Mediation Board, which administers those elections, invalidates any election where captive-audience meetings have been held and the union loses, whereupon a new election is ordered. That practice has had a noticeable impact, for such meetings almost never occur during union-organizing campaigns on the airlines and railroads, and there have been very few instances of such violations. Petitioners assert that the absence of captive audiences in those industries might even be a significant factor—though certainly not the only factor—that accounts for the high rate of union membership—sixty-two percent—among airline and railroad employees; whereas it is less than seven percent among private-sector employees as a whole, a difference about which the public seems unaware. 

-JH

January 23, 2016 in Labor and Employment News, Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Oral Arguments in Friedrichs

Supreme CourtToday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the public-sector agency fee case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.  The oral argument transcript hasn't been released yet, but based on news accounts, it didn't sound good for the unions.  In particular,  Justice Scalia's comments seemed to shote down hope that might continue to express skepticism at overruling Abood.  It's, of course, never certain that the oral argument predicts a final decision, but public-sector unions should start making backup plans.

If the Court does overrule Abood it will be interesting if it holds, as some justices suggested at arguments, that all public-sector bargaining over terms and conditions of employment is political.  Does that mean that public-sector employees are entitled to First Amendment protection when they speak out about working conditions?  That hasn't usually been the case, but if that changes, it will be a silver-lining for some employees, especially those working in states without public-sector labor law.  Also, will outlawing agency fees create more of a move toward members-only bargaining?  For instance, will we see public-sector unions argue that free riding is unconstitutional (e.g., a takings?).

Stay tuned.

-JH

January 11, 2016 in Labor and Employment News, Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Transnational labourCongratulations to Adelle Blackett (McGill) and Anne Trebilcock (University of Paris and Georg-August University, German), editors, on the publication by Edward Elgar Publishing of Research Handbook on Transnational Labour Law. Here's the publisher's description:

The editors’ substantive introduction and the specially commissioned chapters in the Handbook explore the emergence of transnational labour law as a field, along with its contested contours. The expansion of traditional legal methods, such as treaties, is juxtaposed with the proliferation of contemporary alternatives such as indicators, framework agreements and consumer-led initiatives. Key international and regional institutions are studied for their coverage of such classic topics as freedom of association, equality, and sectoral labour standard-setting, as well as for the space they provide for dialogue. The volume underscores transnational labour law’s capacity to build bridges, including on migration, climate change and development.

And here's a more-detailed description of the Handbook, with a special price discount.

rb

December 18, 2015 in Book Club, International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

SEALS 2016 Call for Papers: New and Existing Voices in Labor and Employment Law

Seals logoFriend of the blog and Southeastern Association of Law Schools Labor and Employment Law Workshop organizer extraordinaire Michael Green (Texas A & M) sends along this call for papers for the 2016 SEALS annual conference:

The Southeastern Association of Law Schools(SEALS) is pleased to host the fourth annual “New Voices in Labor and Employment Law” program during the 2016 SEALS Annual Meeting in Amelia Island, Florida. This year we have extended the program to also include “Existing Voices in Labor and Employment Law.” The purpose of this works-in-progress program is to give junior and existing scholars feedback on papers from senior scholars before the upcoming submission cycle.  We are seeking submissions from labor and employment law scholars with five or fewer years of full-time teaching experience (not counting the 2015-16 academic year) and will also consider drafts from existing labor and employment scholars regardless of experience.

Submissions should be drafts of papers relating to labor and employment law that will be near completion by the time of the SEALS meeting held August 3-9, 2016.  To be considered for participation in the program, please send an email to Professor Michael Z. Green, Texas A&M University School of Law, at mzgreen@law.tamu.edu and arguthrie@law.tamu.edu by 5:00 p.m. E.S.T., Monday, January 11, 2016. In your email, please include the title of your paper, a short description of the context (e.g., “Disparate Impact after Dukes”), and a full abstract. Full-time faculty members of SEALS member or affiliate member schools, who have been teaching labor and employment law courses for five or fewer years as of July 1, 2015, will be given a preference in the selection of those contacted to submit final papers but we hope that labor and employment scholars with even more experience will submit papers as well. 

To ensure enough time for adequate feedback, space will be limited to 6 participants; additional registrants will be placed on a waiting list and invited to participate on a space available basis. Those individuals accepted into the program must submit a complete draft by 5:00 p.m. E.S.T., Friday, June 10, 2016. Please submit your drafts electronically to the email addresses above. The draft should be accompanied by a cover letter with the author’s name, contact information, and confirmation that the submission meets the criteria in this call for papers.

Submissions are limited to a maximum 40,000 word limit (including footnotes). Papers can be committed for publication prior to their submission as long as they are not actually scheduled to be printed prior to August 9, 2016. Each professor may submit only one paper for consideration. No papers will be accepted after the deadline and the submission of an incomplete draft may limit participation in this workshop.  Paper commentators may include Professors Brad Areheart (Tennessee), Anthony Baldwin (Mercer), Richard Bales (Ohio Northern), Scott Bauries (Kentucky), Theresa Beiner (Arkansas-Little Rock), Miriam Cherry (St. Louis), Brian Clarke (Charlotte), Michael Green (Texas A&M), Wendy Greene (Samford), Stacy Hawkins (Rutgers Camden), Jeff Hirsch (North Carolina), Nancy Levit (Missouri-Kansas City), Natasha Martin (Seattle), Marcia McCormick (St. Louis), Angela Onwuachi-Willig (Iowa), Elizabeth Pendo (St. Louis), Nicole Porter (Toledo), Jessica Roberts (Houston), Veronica Root (Notre Dame), Ani Satz (Emory), Paul Secunda (Marquette), Kerri Stone (Florida International), Michael Waterstone (Loyola), and others to be determined. 

Please be aware that selected participants and commentators are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses related to attending the SEALS Annual Meeting, including the SEALS registration fee. Any inquiries about the SEALS New and Existing Voices in Labor and Employment Law Program should be submitted to Professor Michael Green at the email above.

 SEALS is a great conference because it is not overly formal, and people are quite approachable. Also, like many workshops in the labor and employment community, the commentators are usually supportive and really engaged. I always leave with more energy than I had when I arrived. We'll keep you posted on other programming as it's set.

MM

December 17, 2015 in Conferences & Colloquia, Disability, Employment Common Law, Employment Discrimination, Faculty Presentations, International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor Law, Labor/Employment History, Pension and Benefits, Public Employment Law, Religion, Scholarship, Wage & Hour | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

ACS Blog Symposium on Labor and Economic Inequality

The American Constitution Society is currently hosting a Symposium on Labor and Economic Inequality—a series of posts by labor and employment law professors, including:

Michael Selmi, “The New Front in the Fight for Workers’ Rights

Ruben Garcia, “Friedrichs, Teacher Salaries, and Inequality in Public Education

Brishen Rogers, “Inequality and Economic Democracy

Noah Zatz, “Get to Work or Go to Jail: Free Labor in the Shadow of Mass Incarceration

 

H/t: Noah Zatz, who, as a precursor to thinking about Title VII disparate-impact liability, also recently posted this essay on Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, 135 S. Ct. 2507 (2015), which recognized disparate-impact liability under the Fair Housing Act.

 

--Sachin Pandya

November 19, 2015 in Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Info for AALS Newsletter

The AALS L&E Sections are seeking info for the joint newsletter--please send it in soon!  The same goes for those interested in case briefs.

 

Dear Colleagues:

We are reaching out once again to request information for our joint annual newsletter for the AALS Section on Employment Discrimination and the Section on Labor Relations and Employment Law. Please forward this message to any and all people you know who teach or write in the Employment Discrimination, Labor Law, and Employment Law fields. 

First, if you have news of any faculty visits, lateral moves, entry-level hires, or promotions and tenure, please e-mail that news to Danielle Weatherby at dweath@uark.edu.

Second, please also e-mail Danielle Weatherby with any information about conference announcements and calls for papers, employment or fellowship opportunities, honors and awards, and reports on recent conferences or other events of interest to the two Sections’ members.

Third, we want to include a list of relevant employment or labor law-related publications published in 2015.  Please hold your forthcoming 2016 publications for next year’s newsletter. These publications can be books, articles, and chapters. Please also send a list of your 2015 publications to Danielle Weatherby.

Fourth and finally, we want to solicit anyone who would be interested in writing a brief description (no more than a page or two) of a recent important labor and employment case or any significant new labor or employment legislation. Your subject could be a recent Supreme Court decision (including Young v. UPS, Inc.,  EEOC v. Abercrombie and Fitch, or the granting of cert. in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association), a significant circuit court decision or emerging circuit split, a state supreme court decision, or an innovative and potentially influential new federal, state, or local law. The description should be fairly short. If you're looking for an   easy way to get your name out there or want a quick outlet for your ruminations about a case or new law, this could be a good opportunity, as the newsletter is widely circulated. Just let us know what you are interested in writing about. Please send your submissions to Naomi Schoenbaum at nschoenbaum@law.gwu.edu.

Please send all submissions by November 1, 2015.

Thank you very much for your help!

Best regards,

Danielle Weatherby & Naomi Schoenbaum

October 20, 2015 in Conferences & Colloquia, Labor and Employment News, Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

NLRB Issues New Joint-Employer Test

NLRBToday, the NLRB issued a 3-2 decision in the long-awaited Browning-Ferris case.  I'm heading off to class, so I haven't read the decision yet and will copy the Board's announcement:

In a 3-2 decision involving Browning-Ferris Industries of California, the National Labor Relations Board refined its standard for determining joint-employer status. The revised standard is designed “to better effectuate the purposes of the Act in the current economic landscape.”  With more than 2.87 million of the nation’s workers employed through temporary agencies in August 2014, the Board held that its previous joint employer standard has failed to keep pace with changes in the workplace and economic circumstances.  

In the decision, the Board applies long-established principles to find that two or more entities are joint employers of a single workforce if (1) they are both employers within the meaning of the common law;  and (2) they share or codetermine those matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment. In evaluating whether an employer possesses sufficient control over employees to qualify as a joint employer, the Board will – among other factors -- consider whether an employer has exercised control over terms and conditions of employment indirectly through an intermediary, or whether it has reserved the authority to do so.  

In its decision, the Board found that BFI was a joint employer with Leadpoint, the company that supplied employees to BFI to perform various work functions for BFI, including cleaning and sorting of recycled products. In finding that BFI was a joint employer with Leadpoint, the Board relied on indirect and direct control that BFI possessed over essential terms and conditions of employment of the employees supplied by Leadpoint as well as BFI’s reserved authority to control such terms and conditions. 

The Board ordered that within 14 days the ballots that were impounded on April 25, 2014 shall be counted and the appropriate certification issued.

This decision could have a big impact on many industries, most notably, fast food.  The General Counsel has already gone after McDonald's (see here and here) and expect more of the same now that the Board has spoken.

-JH 

August 27, 2015 in Labor and Employment News, Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, August 17, 2015

NLRB Declines Jurisdiction in Northwestern Football Case

NLRBThis just in from the NLRB:

Washington, D.C. - - In a unanimous decision, the National Labor Board declined to assert jurisdiction in the case involving Northwestern University football players who receive grant-in-aid scholarships. The Board did not determine if the players were statutory employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).  Instead, the Board exercised its discretion not to assert jurisdiction and dismissed the representation petition filed by the union. 

In the decision, the Board held that asserting jurisdiction would not promote labor stability due to the nature and structure of NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). By statute the Board does not have jurisdiction over state-run colleges and universities, which constitute 108 of the roughly 125 FBS teams. In addition, every school in the Big Ten, except Northwestern, is a state-run institution.  As the NCAA and conference maintain substantial control over individual teams, the Board held that asserting jurisdiction over a single team would not promote stability in labor relations across the league.

This decision is narrowly focused to apply only to the players in this case and does not preclude reconsideration of this issue in the future.

I haven't read the decision yet, but I'll admit that I didn't see this one coming.  On its own merits, one can understand the NLRB's conclusion that if it allowed Northwestern scholarship players to unionize, labor stability in all of college football wouldn't be well served.  On the other hand, it could prompt much needed changes in college football.  Moreover, it's not obvious why all of college football is the issue--one could envision productive collective-bargaining at just Northwestern, even if it was limited in scope.  And, of course, on a selfish note, it would've been nice to have the Board speak to the issue of players' status as employees.  But the Board has spoken--unanimously, no less, which I think is also important--and that should settle the issue for a while.

-JH

August 17, 2015 in Labor and Employment News, Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Silicon Valley, Meet Labor Law

WhitneyThis is cross-posted from PrawfsBlawg with permission of the author, Heather Whitney (Bigelow Fellow, Chicago).

I worked on Google’s Global Ethics & Compliance team from 2007-2010 and at that time the thought of labor law having anything to say about the happenings of the Bay Area tech scene seemed unimaginable to most people – including those practicing law. Employment, sure, but not labor. (I’ve found this to be a bit true in academia as well – labor conjures up visions of coalminers or public school teachers but definitely not anybody working at tech companies.) Well, the other day a friend sent me a Wired article titled, “what happens when you talk about salaries at Google” and it reminded me of why that view can get companies into some real trouble.

The article itself is just a string of tweets from a former Google talking about what happened when she decided to conduct a salary transparency experiment at Google. Long story short, she and some coworkers got talking about salaries on the internal social network (I take it she’s talking about one of Google’s many internal email list, like misc), decided to make a spreadsheet where employees could add their own salary information, and then posted a link to the form on her internal profile.

The thing took off. Other people built the spreadsheet out to include fields on gender and a bunch of other stuff that made it possible to get even more out of the data, as it wont to happen when a bunch of smart people get going on something they find interesting (this quality is also a big part of what makes working at Google great). The next week the Googler who started the project was “invited” (I love that) to talk with her manager. Apparently her manager and the higher ups weren’t happy about the project. And, according to this Googler, her manager said “don’t you know what could happen?” And then something else interesting happened, though it takes a second to explain.

At Google, Googlers can give each other what are called “peer bonuses.” Basically, if someone else did something cool and you want to recognize them for it, you can easily click a few things, say a few words about why they’re great, and bam – the person gets $150 in their next paycheck. It’s pretty cool and, though my memory is hazy, people give them for all sorts of reasons. Someone helped you with a work project? Send away. Someone organized a fun bike ride or group outing? That can be peer bonus worthy, too. While the manager of the person receiving the award has to approve it, it was basically a sure thing. (NB: like the Googler writing, I also didn’t realize until reading this article that there was any manager approval of peer bonuses at all. No doubt because I, too, had never heard of one being rejected.) Anyway, while this Googler was receiving peer bonuses for creating this salary sheet, her manager was rejecting them all. Interestingly, while the Googler in question, a (I believe) black woman, was having her peer bonuses denied by her manager, a white man who was also involved in setting up the sheet was getting peer bonuses and those were all approved. Meanwhile, the spreadsheet continues, people use it to talk to their managers about getting raises, and some actually succeed in getting them.  

This entire story is full of labor law (and internal compliance training) issues, some easier than others. Here are a couple:

  • Could the company prohibit employees from using the internal system to talk about salaries? From creating a spreadsheet, using internal tools, that discusses that? What about prohibiting employees from putting up status messages that direct other employees to the spreadsheet?
  • Can a manager call an employee in for a meeting about her promotion of salary transparency? And if so, can the manager say “don’t you know what could happen” about it?
  • If the company has a peer bonus system where bonuses are virtually automatic though have nominally required manager approval, can a manager start rejecting bonuses if they are tied to the employee promoting salary transparency? What if bonuses are supposed to be given only for work-related activities (even though that hasn’t been enforced much, if at all, in the past)


Whether tech companies realize it or not, Section 7 rights are alive and well. And with the unionization of tech shuttle drivers and 140 Google Express workers seeking the same, I wouldn’t be surprised if labor issues start coming up more and more in the Bay Area – including, perhaps most interestingly, for those who we often forget might have them at all.

rb

July 31, 2015 in Labor Law, Workplace Trends | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Do Right-to-Work Laws Increase Inequality?

Kogan.18Vladimir Kogan (Ohio State - Political Science) has just posted on SSRN his article Do Anti-Union Policies Increase Inequality? Evidence from State Adoption of Right-to-Work Laws. Here's the abstract:

The distribution of income lies at the intersection of states and markets, both influencing and being shaped by government policy. Reflecting this reality, a growing body of research has examined the political causes of rising economic inequality in the U.S. Direct evidence documenting the mechanisms through which government actors have affected the income gap remains in short supply, however. This study leverages variation in labor laws between U.S. states and differences in the timing of adoption of right-to-work legislation, along with new historical data on the distribution of income at the state level, to examine one such mechanism. Using a difference-in-differences design, the results produce no support for the contention that the adoption of RTW laws increased inequality in any meaningful way, pointing to the importance of grounding theoretical arguments about rising inequality in a sound empirical reality.

This seems counter-intuitive. Any thoughts on what might be going on here?

rb

 

July 29, 2015 in Labor Law, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Supreme Court Grants Cert in Friedrichs

Supreme CourtToday, the Supreme Court granted cert. in Friedrich's v. Cal. Teacher's Association.  The issues presented are

(1) Whether Abood v. Detroit Board of Education should be overruled and public-sector “agency shop” arrangements invalidated under the First Amendment; and (2) whether it violates the First Amendment to require that public employees affirmatively object to subsidizing nonchargeable speech by public-sector unions, rather than requiring that employees affirmatively consent to subsidizing such speech.

I'm sure I'll get disagreement on this point, but I think issue 1 isn't going anywhere.  The Court took a shot at Abood in Harris v. Quinn, but clearly didn't have five votes.  Far more likely is issue 2, with the Court probably holding that public-sector unions must use an opt-in system for dues, rather than the current opt-out rule.  I've never been sympathetic to the view that the Constitution mandates opt-in over opt-out, but the Court has been dropping some big hints about going in the direction over the last few years.

Stay tuned.

Hat Tip: John Coyle

-JH

June 30, 2015 in Labor and Employment News, Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0)