Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Myanmar Labor Update

YangonThe situation in Myanmar continues to deteriorate, and labor leaders are major targets. Below is a summary by Jamie Davis, who served for the Solidarity Center in Myanmar for several years and currently is posted to Indonesia. The photo at left is of the plaza in front of a shopping mall in Yangon, about two blocks away from University of Yangon. When I visit there, I usually stay nearby.

Myanmar deserves to be kept in the spotlight to keep people caring about what is happening there. As far as I know, the current situation is that there are no labor relations at this point. The military has targeted labor unions given they have been on the front lines of protests against the coup. Last month, the military announced that 16 unions and labor organizations were listed as being illegal. CTUM and MICS refused to attend tripartite meetings called for by the military. Indeed, Maung Maung and many others are in hiding but several union leaders have been arrested, others have warrants for their arrest, and yet more leaders are rumored to be on a secret list of those targeted for arrest. All unions have called for a national, sustained strike starting a couple of weeks ago in an attempt to bring the entire economy to a halt. As you may know, the military poured troops into the industrial zones on 14 March to crush the unions there and roughly 50 people were killed that day and martial law was imposed in the industrial zones and continues today. Internet blockages designed to hide atrocities were put in place and killings in the industrial zones continue. Tens of thousands of workers have been trying to leave Yangon to return to their villages as food supplies in the zones dwindle and meager savings have dried up. Troops and police continue to search for union leaders and many have fled. I don't think any factories are in operation at this point. Workers attempting to collect their salaries a few days ago at a shoe production factory were denied a portion of their pay and the management called police, which resulted in the immediate execution of one of the labor leaders who continued to demand for their rightful pay and a subsequent massacre of 5 more people with more than 70 workers arrested and taken away.


March 23, 2021 in International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Liljeblad to Speak on Myanmar at UM

LiljJonathan Liljeblad (Australia National University) will be speaking at the University of Minnesota on "Teaching Human Rights in an Illiberal Context: Reflections of a Researcher in Myanmar". It's this Thursday, March 25, 3:45-5:30 Central. Jonathan has strong ties in Myanmar and will have lots of insight about the current status of the country.


March 21, 2021 in International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 19, 2021

The Best Teaching Feedback

NoSince many readers of this blog teach, I thought folks might enjoy this discussion of "the most useful teaching feedback I ever received". Mine was in my second year of teaching, when I put a video camera in front of the classroom facing me, and was appalled at what I saw.  Sometimes we can be our own best teachers if we look at ourselves honestly.


March 19, 2021 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 15, 2021

NYC LERA: Just Cause Discipline for Fast Food Workers in NYC

Bill Herbert writes about the upcoming virtual NYC LERA event "Just Cause Discipline for Fast Food Workers in NYC." It will be from 6:00-7:30 on March 23 and you can find the registration and other info here. The description and panel of speakers look great (and CLE credits are available depsite there being no charge--although please consider becomeing a member):

The New York City Council recently passed a bill (Int. 1415-A) that limits when a fast food employer can discharge a fast food worker, only permitting terminations for “just cause” or a  “bona fide economic reason.” The new law takes effect on July 4, 2021. It adds new sections to the previously passed Fair Workweek Law (the FWW), utilizing and building upon the enforcement mechanisms provided to New York City’s Department of Workplace and Consumer Protection (DCWP). The new law allows discharged fast food workers to take their case to arbitration or to bring a lawsuit. What do workers, unions, and employers need to know?


Brad Lander, New York City Councilmember, who represents the 39th District in Brooklyn and serves as City Council Deputy Leader for Policy
Paul Sonn, State Policy Program Director, National Employment Law Project
Lisa M. Griffith, Partner, Littler Mendelson, P.C.


William A. Herbert, Distinguished Lecturer, Hunter College and LERA NYC Chapter Secretary


Jeff Hirsch

March 15, 2021 in Conferences & Colloquia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 11, 2021

New LEL/DR Writing Competition

Write Thanks to Rafael Gely for sending us word of this new competition:

The Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution at the University of Missouri School of Law and the National Academy of Arbitrators (NAA) are pleased to announce an annual writing competition for best articles relating to labor and employment dispute resolution that will be published in the Law School’s Journal of Dispute Resolution (JDR). With a generous grant from the NAA Research and Education Foundation, this initiative encourages research and scholarship in the labor and employment field. Beginning in the Fall 2021, the annual competition will award a $3,000 prize for the best published article by an author in academia or professional practice and a $1,000 award for the best published comment by a current law student. A selection committee comprised of NAA and Missouri Law faculty members will select the winning articles and announce its decision by the end of the calendar year.

Articles for this competition should be submitted by email to: [email protected], with “Labor/Employment DR” in the subject line. The deadline for submissions for the 2021 awards is August 15, 2021.

For more information, please contact: Professor Ilhyung Lee, Director, Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution, [email protected]; or Katelyn Peters, Editor-in-Chief, JDR, [email protected].


March 11, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

DC LERA: Bargaining Rights in the Public Sector

Dcl Many thanks to Tequila Brooks for sending us word of the DC LERA program on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. noon EST, It’s 2021 – Way Past Time for Collective Bargaining Rights in the Public Sector. The speaker is Elissa McBride, Secretary-Treasurer of AFSCME, who will discuss The Public Sector Freedom to Negotiate Act, Legislative priorities for public service workers, and AFSCME campaigns in the DC metro area. It's free; register here. rb

March 11, 2021 in Conferences & Colloquia, Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Liz Glazer

Glazer Yesterday's Wall Street Journal Business Section has a terrific profile of Liz Glazer. I remember Liz as a faculty member at Hofstra who wrote cutting-edge scholarship on LGBTQ and sex discrimination issues and who had a quick wit and synapses that fired much faster than mine. After getting tenure at Hofstra, she quit the academy in favor of stand-up comedy. Wow! Our loss; comedy's gain.


March 9, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Keeping Up With COVID, Legally Speaking

This semester, the law students in Professor Lea VanderVelde’s Employment Law course have been doing cutting-edge research into how the pandemic is impacting work laws, as it re-arranges workplaces, requires business closures, transforms the ways we get goods, decimates the service sector, and sickens millions of workers.

As students studied the traditional topics in the employment law curriculum, they also researched how the COVID-19 pandemic was impacting these laws. They were introduced to the sources that experts in the field use to keep up on fast-moving changes, such as reading on-line sources like the Daily Labor Report, white papers of leading law firms, and current state and federal agency guidelines from the Department of Labor and EEOC.

“The sudden emergence of COVID-19 forced considerable changes in many aspects of life—and Professor Vandervelde’s paper addresses its impact on some key areas of employment law. Professor Vandervelde’s course provided us with the proper foundation to effectively address the pandemic’s effect in this area of law. It was an honor and a privilege being a part of this research,” said Iowa Law student Kevin Kim.

This research allowed VanderVelde’s students to witness change as it happened, to reflect on the likely direction the law would take, and to assess the pandemic’s lasting influence on employment law.

Each student produced a different report analyzing how the issue was changing under the new circumstances.

“The opportunity to write a paper involving employment law and the COVID-19 pandemic was my favorite part of this class with Professor VanderVelde. It gave me a chance to apply employment law doctrines I have learned in class to current events. This was not only a fantastic way to test my understanding, but it also provided a practical application of the same processes attorneys and legal scholars undergo,” said 2L Nicholas Day.

By studying their chosen issue over several weeks, students were able to watch changes as they evolved, a method that excellently prepares them for the field of employment law as it exists and prepares them to anticipate the changes to come.

Topics, complete with bibliographies, included the latest thinking on the following questions:

  1. How previous pandemics changed the baseline of employment laws.
  2. Implications of the pandemic on the gig economy.
  3. How COVID-19 has impacted OSHA.
  4. How will unemployment compensation funds be sustained under higher unemployment claims in various states, and what requirements are likely to be waived.
  5. Occupational-specific issues, such effects on public school teachers, medical licensure due to tele-practicing of medicine, and even whether the cancellation of college and national football are likely to affect current efforts to re-classify student players as employees.
  6. The pandemic’s effect on wage theft, and sick leave.
  7. How work-from-home affects monitoring employees and recording hours and whether work from home re-classifies employees as independent contractors.
  8. Employee privacy including what questions employers can ask? How much employers can mandate changes in their employees’ social lives and whether employers can legally mandate vaccinations?
  9. Do whistleblowers alerting others to dangerous practices get protection against retaliation?
  10. What is the legal significance of classifying workers as essential workers?

Altogether, the students’ reporting produced a 90-page white paper on where employment law stands at the current moment, and how one would expect it to change. You can read their research here.

CAS (thanks to Lea & Peyten Little)

March 7, 2021 in Workplace Safety, Workplace Trends | Permalink | Comments (1)