Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Marty Malin (Chicago-Kent) writes:
I am pleased to advise you that the law firm Jackson Lewis is again sponsoring and IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law is again administering the annual Louis Jackson Memorial National Law Student Writing Competition in Employment and Labor Law. Eligible are all students at ABA accredited law schools who have had at least one course in labor or employment law (defined broadly). Students may submit papers up to 35 pages in length. Entries are due January 21, 2014.
Entries are blind judged by a panel of five law professors. Netiher Jackson Lewis nor Chicago-Kent plays any role in judging the entries.
Attached is a flyer announcing this year's competition. Please
encourage your students to enter.
We use five judges and rotate one judge off the panel each year,. If any full time labor/employment law professor is interested in judging, please email me off list and I will add you to the list of interested judges.
Friday, November 1, 2013
Laura Cooper (Minnesota) sends word of the Annual Law Student Writing Competition sponsored by the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law and College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Here's the pertinent information:
The American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law and the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers have announced the rules and deadlines for their Annual Law Student Writing Competition. J.D. students at accredited U.S. law schools are eligible to enter. Entries may address any aspect of public or private sector labor and/or employment law relevant to the American labor and employment bar. Three prizes may be awarded by the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers: First Place: $1500, Second Place: $1000, Third Place: $500. The first-place winning article will be published in the ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law and its author will be a guest at the annual CLE program of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and honored at the Annual Induction Dinner of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. The deadline for submission of articles is Midnight (EDT) on May 15, 2014. Full competition rules are available here.
The first-place winner of the 2013 competition, Matthew S. Smith, a third-year law student at American University, will be honored November 9th at the College’s dinner in New Orleans for his article, A Matter of McKnight and ADAAA: Why Title I Protects Former Employees with Disability Who Receive Fringe Benefits.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Freeman Guest-Blog Post: Death of an Adjunct Sparks Discussion on the Challenge of Precarious Employment in Higher Ed
I am happy to introduce below a very interesting guest post today by Harris Freeman (Western New England) on the tragic death of an adjunct faculty member at Duquesne and its labor and employment law implications. PS
This past weekend, NPR’s Weekend Edition ran a story on the death of Margaret Mary Vojtko, an 83-year old adjunct French professor at Duquesne University, and that school’s refusal to recognize the vote of its adjuncts to unionize. After 25 years of teaching French as an adjunct, Duquesne dismissed Vojtko this past spring; she was earning about $10,000 a year without benefits or health insurance. At the time of her termination, Vojtko, who was undergoing cancer treatment. supported the adjunct union backed by the United Steelworkers. In June, the Duquesne adjuncts, who comprise nearly half the faculty in the school’s liberal arts college, won a an NLRB-sponsored election. Duquesne immediately challenged the vote claiming that its status as a religious institution exempts it from any obligation to bargain with the adjunct union. The NLRB rejected the university’s position, and Duquesne has appealed. Editorials and news articles on Vojtko’s passing and the unionizing effort peppered the Pittsburgh media.
The NPR story went viral on social media, rekindling the longstanding criticisms of labor and many others in higher ed who raise a host of concerns regarding the ballooning number of adjunct faculty that are now essential to the running of most large colleges and universities. The numbers are stark. The American Association of University Professors reported in 2011 that 70% of college faculty worked outside the tenure track; in 1975 it was 43%. Part-time teachers in higher ed number more than 760,000 or about half of the non-tenured teaching faculty. NPR reports average yearly pay for adjuncts, professionals with Ph.Ds, Masters and J.D.s - often itinerant “roads scholars” teaching at multiple institutions – is between $20,000 and $25,000.
In this environment, adjunct organizing keeps gaining steam. This past spring adjunct organizing conferences sponsored by SEIU and the Steelworkers Union occurred respectively, in Boston, a veritable hub of the higher ed industrial complex, and Pittsburgh. In Boston, the home of 13,000 adjuncts, SEIU Local 500 is pursuing a city-wide, cross campus organizing strategy. Already, some larger state university systems, (e.g., University of Massachusetts) have accreted adjuncts into existing faculty unions and some small private colleges (e.g., New School for Social Research, New York; Emerson University, Boston and Georgetown, Washington D.C.) have recognized adjunct unions. In fact, SEIU Local 500 now claims that it represents the majority of adjuncts in the Washington D.C. area.
What may be new is that the current discussion of the work conditions facing adjuncts comes on the heels of a national dialog on the ills of precarious employment that keeps widening as a result of temps, part-timers, and other low-wage employees organizing and speaking out. In recent months, the major news outlets covered job actions and strikes by warehouse temps doing the grunt work for retailers in the global logistics sector and the coordinated protest strikes of low-wage workers employed at America’s ubiquitous fast-food outlets.
This information and these events provide much grist for the teaching mill in any workplace law course and a cautionary tale for all academics. In this context, recall that the ABA is considering removing the requirement of tenure for law school accreditation. The downward pull of precarious work in mainstream labor markets has a long reach that should cause all tenured faculty and others in the academy with some form of job security to take a closer look at what is happening at their law school, college, or university.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
A rare cultural phenomena – labor issues driving the plot of a prime-time TV show. This week’s episode of The Good Wife (#21), a legal drama on CBS starring Julianna Marguiles, featured a plot devoted to labor law: Attorney Alicia Florick (Marguiles) was ‘tricked/coaxed’ into representing a group of computer coders at a software company who sought to form a union.
Much to my surprise, a series of hearings before an administrative law judge at the NLRB provided the adjudicatory framework. Legal issues included whether: workers were employees; engaged in concerted activity; suffered from discrimination because they chose to form a union, and; whether employer electronic surveillance was lawful. What’s more, the firm’s representation of these employees proved a catalyst for the law firm’s administrative staff to complain about their own workplace conditions and a justifiably cynical take on how employers “lawfully” handle employee dissatisfaction.
If you can get a hold of the episode, excerpts would make for some effective use of popular TV culture for classroom teaching and conversation. A summary of the episode is available at Entertainment Weekly here.
Does all this also mean that labor law is again bubbling up in Americans' consciousness? Have the events of Wisconsin, Michigan, and the NLRB finally got some in Hollywood to take notice of the importance of these issues to the future of our country?
OK, probably not. But one can dream.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Laura Cooper sends us word:
This is a reminder that the deadline of May 15, 2013 is approaching for submissions to the Annual Law Student Writing Competition sponsored by the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. The winning essay receives $1500 and is published in the ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law, a journal with a circulation of over 25,000 attorneys. The author of the winning essay is also an honored guest of the College at its annual dinner conducted as part of the ABA's annual conference. Both events will be in New Orleans in Fall 2013. The second prize is $1000 and the third prize is $500. See here for further information and competition rules.
Paul's post yesterday listing labor/employment faculty moves and lamenting the apparent decline in law school LEL teaching has received some traction. Thompson Reuters News & Insight posted Law schools give labor and employment short shrift, professor says. Brian Leiter responded in the same article.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
From Michele Tiraboschi, ADAPT Scientific Coordinator:
ADAPT is pleased to announce that it will start the selection procedures for 3-to-6 month internships in Italy in the areas of labour law, industrial relations and HRM, which will be hosted by ADAPT or its partners.
If selected, interns will be provided full accommodation in a cosy apartment in the Upper Town of Bergamo (Italy) plus an allowance amounting to 400 Euros.
ADAPT is a non-profit organization set up by Marco Biagi in 2000 with the aim of promoting research in the field of Industrial and Labour Relations from a comparative and an international perspective. Our purpose is to encourage and implement a new approach to academic research, by establishing long-term relationships with other universities and advanced studies institutes, and promoting academic and scientific exchange programs with enterprises, institutions, foundations and associations.
Those interested in joining the ADAPT community through an internship might send their CV and a cover letter to email@example.com. A Brochure for ADAPT can be found here and the Brochure for International Doctoral School in Human Capital and Labour Relations can be found here.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
This Article discusses the financial viability of law schools in the face of massive structural changes now occurring within the legal industry. It then offers a blueprint for change – a realistic way for law schools to retool themselves in an attempt to provide our students with high quality professional employment in a rapidly changing world. Because no institution can instantaneously reinvent itself, a key element of my proposal is the “12% solution.” Approximately 12% of faculty members take the lead on building a competency-based curriculum that is designed to accelerate the development of valuable skills and behaviors prized by both legal and nonlegal employers. For a variety of practical reasons, successful implementation of the blueprint requires law schools to band together in consortia. The goal of these initiatives needs to be the creation and implementation of a world-class professional education in which our graduates consistently and measurably outperform graduates from traditional J.D. programs.
One of Bill's critical arguments is that the law school crisis is largely a labor market issue: too few law school graduates chasing too few jobs and a mismatch between the skill sets legal employers need and the skill sets that law schools provide.
[T]he financial viability of law schools depends upon three interrelated factors: (a) students wishing to enroll, (b) an ability to pay, and (c) professional employment upon graduation. Of these factors, the professional employment is the most important because, if present, the first two factors will take care of themselves.... If an educational program can produce a measurable value-add that another school cannot reliably produce, employers will seek out the gradutes of such a program; students will seek out admission; and alumni will want to contribute time and money toward its construction and improvement.
If you plan to be involved in legal education for more than the next 3-5 years, I would highly recommend reading this article.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Zachary Kramer (Arizona State) wrote a law review article describing an employment discrimination case in which a bank executive allegedly equated vegetarianism with homosexuality and taunted/harassed an employee on the basis of both. Now the bank executive is suing Kramer for defamation and invasion of privacy. The executive also is suing Washington University Law because its law review published the article, and Western New England College of Law because Kramer presented his article there.
Kramer's article is Of Meat and Manhood. The discussion of the underlying discrimination case begins at page 305. The article describes in detail the facts as alleged in the plaintiff's complaint that had been filed in a New York State court; the footnotes clearly indicate that Kramer's source is the complaint itself and that Kramer was not claiming an independent source of knowledge of the facts giving rise to the discrimination claim.
A plaintiff's recitation of facts in a complaint are of course subject to an absolute judicial privilege from defamation suits. Kramer's republication of those facts, in a context in which he makes it clear that he is claiming no independent source of knowledge of the facts, should be similarly privileged. A ruling to the contrary would stifle not only academic debate, but would preclude newspapers from reporting on just about any type of case filed in just about any type of court. 12(b)(6)?
On the upside: at least we know someone is reading our articles!
Thank you for the warm welcome Charlie! I am delighted to be joining the Workplace Prof Blog as a Guest Blogger – I have long been a reader and admirer (since my non-Proffy days as a litigator), so it is a particular pleasure to join the (temporary) ranks. During my stint here as a guest blogger I am hoping to do a series of posts about recent developments in LGBT employment law as well as some of my recent mental meanderings about psychological research on perceptions of discrimination.
Starting off with the latter, much of my recent work (see here and here) has been informed by the body of psychological research on how and why people perceive particular events as discrimination. What that research tends to show is that most people are reluctant to characterize all but the most extreme and explicit fact patterns as discrimination, that these tendencies are causally related to certain common American background beliefs (discrimination is rare, hard work gets you ahead in life, discrimination is an explicit and narrow phenomenon), and that these background beliefs are remarkably resistant to change.
As I have moved this fall into the world of tenure-track teaching, this research has weighed in the back of my mind in trying to think through my role as a teacher. As a teacher of discrimination law, should I teach about “discrimination”? Does it make a difference whether it is in a standard doctrinal class vs. a seminar? (I.e., a “Discrimination Law” class, rather than a “Discrimination and the Law” class?). If it is appropriate to teach this subject in a law class, how is it best done?
Thursday, November 8, 2012
It is at Canada's newest law school at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C. David tells me that it is in a beautiful part of Canada, with wine vineyards and ski mountains, a couple of hours east of Vancouver.
Here is a link to the job posting on David's blog.
Monday, November 5, 2012
Friends of the blog Angela Onwuachi-Willig (Iowa) and Rebecca Lee (Thomas Jefferson) write about the joint newsletter for the AALS sections on Employment Discrimination and Labor and Employment Law. Here is their call for submissions:
We are putting together a joint annual newsletter for the AALS Section on Employment Discrimination and the Section on Labor Relations and Employment Law, and we need your help as readers and section members. 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 not included here (http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/laborprof_blog/2012/04/workplace-prof-moves-for-2012-2013.html), please e-mail that news to Angela Onwuachi-Willig at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second, please e-mail Angela Onwuachi-Willig at email@example.com 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 2012; please hold your forthcoming 2013 publications for next year's newsletter. These publications can be books, articles, and chapters. Please also send a list of your published 2012 articles to Angela Onwuachi-Willig at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fourth and finally, we want to solicit anyone who would be interested in writing a brief description of a recent "big" labor and employment case or significant new labor or employment legislation. Your subject could be a Supreme Court decision (but it does not have to be), 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 (under 2 pages). 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. Just let us know what you are interested in writing on. Please send submissions to Rebecca Lee at email@example.com.
Please send all submissions by November 18, 2012.
November 5, 2012 in Commentary, Conferences & Colloquia, Employment Common Law, Employment Discrimination, Faculty Moves, Faculty News, International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor and Employment News, Labor Law, Pension and Benefits, Public Employment Law, Religion, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Marcia posted here back in August about the turbulence at Saint Louis University, the resignation of SLU Law Dean Annette Clark, and the general value of scholarship. Yesterday, following a student protest, the SLU Faculty Senate overwhelimingly voted no confidence in SLU President Biondi. Best of luck to all faculty and students at SLU and SLU Law as this unpleasantess plays itself out.
Thanks for the post, Rick,. Here is additional information about all of the steps in the middle. Before Dean Clark joined the law school, the University had been through some rather serious restructuring. Schools and departments were closed, and the graduate school was reorganized without any real faculty input. After Dean Clark resigned, the University proposed a new policy for all university faculty that seemed to require scholarship (or more scholarship) from all kinds of faculty, indcluding those on only yearly contracts and which effectively would have turned tenure into a system of six-year contracts at best. The new policy was slated to go into effect in January. After the University Faculty Senate and individual groups of influential faculty made the case that the proposal would hurt the University, that proposal was withdrawn. The faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences voted no confidence in the Vice President. The Trustees, possibly anticipating further faculty action, issued a letter in support of the President and Vice President and a committee established to move forward on how to improve SLU. Then, the full faculty senate voted no confidence in the Vice President. The President reaffirmed his support of the Vice President and said that he would not fire the VP. There were also various responses and further news stories about the no confidence vote and about the Vice President, some in response to a threatened student vote of no confidence: here, here, here, here. The Arts and Sciences faculty voted no confidence in the President a couple of weeks ago. Late last week and early this week, the faculty held teach-ins, and students held protests. This culminated in the no confidence vote by the full faculty senate yesterday.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
You may have read about Theresa Wagner's lawsuit against the University of Iowa Law School for discrimination against her for her political affiliations. Wagner applied for a position as a tenure-track legal writing professor and was denied. She is currently the assistant director of the writing center, a part time position, not on the tenure track. She also applied for several adjunct positions and was denied. Wagner alleged that the reason was because of her activism in pro-life causes. While the trial court had originally dismissed her claim, the Eight Circuit reinstated it, and it went to trial this month.
Some faculty testified on Wagner's behalf, one of whom has now alleged that he has been retaliated against for doing so. Others testified that the decision was made because of a comment Wagner made at her job talk, suggesting that as a legal writing professor she would not be teaching analysis. The jury came back with a finding for the University on Wagner's First Amendment claim, but deadlocked on her equal protection claim. Wagner has asked for a retrial on both issues.
This is an interesting case and very much a cause celebre for some conservatives who believe that the vast majority of universities are biased against conservatives. For more on the jury's verdict and the details, see here and here. As an Iowa alum, I'm comforted that a jury found at least partially that the faculty was not motivated by Wagner's politics.Having taught legal research, analysis, and writing, I'm glad that the faculty realized that teaching analysis is part of what legal writing professors do. But finally, having graduated with Wagner, I hope that the University thinks about offering some sort of settlement that would allow everyone to move forward in a constructive way, if that's possible.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Laura Cooper sends word that:
The American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law and the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers have announced the rules and deadline for their 2012-2013 Annual Law Student Writing Competition. The competition offers prizes of $1500, $1000 and $500 for the winning essays and the first prize essay will be published in the ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law. The deadline is May 15, 2013. Here are the full contest rules.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Holly Fechner (Covington & Burling D.C. office; photo left, bio below) will be teaching this spring for the first time a labor and employment policy course. She's looking for sample syllabi and recommendations on course materials. Although she's teaching her course to public policy graduate students at the Harvard Kennedy School, I'm sure she'd welcome course materials prepared for law courses.
Here's Holly's impressive bio:
Holly Fechner is co-chair of the firm’s Government Affairs Practice
Group.... She has two decades of legal,
legislative and public policy experience in the public and private
sectors. Ms. Fechner has a broad-based practice handling legislative
and regulatory matters for clients in areas including healthcare, tax,
intellectual property, education, and employee benefits. Drawing on her
extensive congressional and private sector experience, Ms. Fechner
offers clients comprehensive advocacy services, including strategic
advice, substantive legal and regulatory expertise, and policy and
message development. She has a proven track record in assisting clients
fulfill their government affairs goals.
Ms. Fechner was Policy Director for Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts). In that position, she developed policy initiatives, legislation and campaigns on a broad range of issues, including the economy, health care, employment, education, retirement policy, and civil rights. She was also Chief Labor & Pensions Counsel for the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee. Ms. Fechner served as chief negotiator on legislation to reform the private pension system; increase the federal minimum wage; extend and reform unemployment insurance benefits; prevent genetic discrimination in health care and employment, and numerous other bills. In her eight years on Capitol Hill, she drove passage of over a dozen laws worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
I am so envious -- it's been way too long since I've had the opportunity to teach a course like this.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Thanks to Bill Herbert for alerting us to this New York Times review of Sasha Reuther’s new film on the U.A.W.:
Th[is] 1937 photograph is just one of the searing scenes in “Brothers on the Line,” a new documentary about the Reuther brothers: Walter, the future United Auto Workers president standing next to the bloodied organizer, and Victor and Roy. Together they played a pivotal role in transforming the United Auto Workers into what was for decades the nation’s most powerful labor union.
Monday, September 24, 2012
David Doorey (York Univ. (Canada)) has just posted on SSRN an updated version of his paper entitled: The Charter and the Law of Work: A Beginner's Guide.
Here's the abstract:
This essay explains how the Supreme Court of Canada has interpreted and applied the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to the law of work. It is intended as an introduction to this complex legal field for an audience unfamiliar with the Charter. Beginning with an overview of the Charter review process, the paper then examines the Court’s application to work law of Section 2(d) freedom of association, Section 2(b) freedom of expression, and Section 15 equality rights. The paper is an updated version describing the law as of summer 2012.
The paper provides a great introductory overview of the development and current state of Canadian Charter law relating to work and employment, including freedom of association, freedom of expression, and right to equality. David wrote it for an audience of new law students or non-law students being introduced to the Charter in the law of work, but it might also be a useful tool for scholars from the U.S. and abroad who are interested in a quick snapshot look at recent developments under the Canadian Charter.
As an honorary Canuck (based on my many visits and trips to Canada), I wholly endorse the idea of American labor and employment lawyers becoming more familiar with the ideas that animate Canadian workplace law!
Thursday, August 30, 2012
The Chronicle has a story on yet another development at my university: Faculty Review Proposal at Saint Louis University Would Eviscerate Tenure. The proposed policy would institute a program of post-tenure review for all university faculty which would allow the university to terminate anyone (except administrators, adjuncts, faculty on leave, and faculty in the Medical Group or on our Madrid campus) who does not show "continuing and increasing effectiveness" in teaching, scholarship, and service -- a constant "positive trajectory."
This isn't the first time our president has suggested that faculty tenure or other job security is a bad idea, but it's the most comprehensive push to put that into effect across the university. And given recent and not so recent events, the standard seems all too easily abused to get rid of people with unpopular opinions. We'll have to see what happens.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Jeff Lipshaw (Suffollk) has a very thoughtful post at The Legal Whiteboard, cross-posted at the Legal Professon Blog on the debates surrounding the future of legal education. Here is a bit (you should read the whole thing):
One of the false dichotomies I've observed over the course of a long career in and out of academia (more out than in - twenty-six years of law firm and in-house, managing, hiring, firing, etc.) is the view that the world divides up neatly into gods and demons. [the current debate shows the] perfect storm of deification and demonization when in the face of increasingly scarce resources (see Jerry's post), (a) there's a good old-fashioned turf war, (b) in law school, (c) at a time when all of the contending protagonists and antagonists feel the warm glow of victimization and justification.
. . .
The ability to learn is what mediates the perfect storm of self-interest, advocacy, and justification. But that's a higher order process because it means thinking about why you are thinking what you are thinking. Or, in other words, it means having a disposition in which you are at least sometimes amenable to the possibility that the way you are putting order to chaos may be affecting your conclusions.
Underlying these observations is the recognition that we have to critically reflect on both what we have and how we think things ought to be. Just because we believe it doesn't mean we are right.