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Features In the News

Outten & Golden LLP

Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart LLP

Articles on workplace-related issues from newspapers and Internet news sources around the country.

May 20, 2015

How The Minimum-Wage Debate Moved From Capitol Hill To City Halls

Source: Danielle Kurtzleben , NPR

Once upon a time, minimum-wage debates were mostly the province of Congress and statehouses. These days, you're more likely than ever to hear these debates in your city hall. The trend continued this week, when the Los Angeles City Council voted to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 per hour.

The second-largest city in America could soon join Seattle and San Francisco in the club of cities that have agreed to gradually raise their wages above $15 per hour. And these cities are part of a larger, recent wave of cities and counties setting their own minimum wages.

Postal workers union protests cutbacks, poor service

Source: Danielle Ferguson, The Des Moines Register

About 30 American Postal Workers Union members stood outside the Des Moines U.S. Postal Service office Wednesday afternoon huddled in hoodies, holding signs and waving to passing drivers.

The workers were picketing for their rights, the rights of their customers and to raise awareness of changes the United States Postal Service is undergoing – including staff cuts and newly relaxed service standards – and to inform the public that USPS does not receive taxpayer dollars, said Lonnie Matticks, former USPS employee and member of the union.

Matticks said some of the main problems customers are facing are the increased wait times for receiving mail and the increased line times at the offices.

May 19, 2015

The Second Job You Don't Know You Have

Source: Craig Lambert, Politico

Technology has knocked the bottom rung out of the employment ladder, which has sent youth unemployment around the globe skyrocketing and presented us with a serious economic dilemma. While many have focused on the poor state of our educational system or the "jobless" recovery, another, overlooked factor behind this trend is the phenomenon of "shadow work." I define shadow work as all the unpaid jobs we do on behalf of businesses and organizations: We are pumping our own gas, scanning our own groceries, booking our travel and busing our tables at Starbucks. Shadow work is a new concept, so as yet, no one has compiled economic data on how many jobs we, the consumers, have taken over from (erstwhile) employees. Yet it is surely a force shrinking the job market, and the unemployment it creates is structural. Thanks in part to this new phenomenon, widespread joblessness could become entrenched in the social landscape.

The Economy Is Still Terrible for Young People

Source: Derek Thompson , The Atlantic

To start with the camera lens zoomed all the way out: The majority of young people aren't graduating from a four-year university. Rather they are dropping out of high school, graduating from high school and not going to college, or dropping out of college. Millennial is often used, in the media, as a synonym for "bachelor-degree-holding young person," but about 60 percent of this generation doesn't have a bachelor's degree.

And how are they doing, as a group? Young people don't seem to have a jobs problem-their jobless rate is a bit elevated, but not alarmingly so. Rather they have a money problem. The jobs they're getting don't pay much and their wages aren't growing. A recent analysis of the Current Population Survey last year found that the median income for people between 25 and 34 has fallen in every major industry but healthcare since the Great Recession began.

The best indication of what a federal $12 minimum wage could mean for poor places comes from Puerto Rico

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

Over the past few years, demands for a minimum wage increase have jumped from around $9 an hour -- which seemed ambitious at the time -- to $15 an hour. Change has been rapid: The $15 minimum will eventually be law in a couple of cities, and it's headed for the ballot box in a few more. And on the federal level, legislators have bumped their proposal from the White House's initial bid of $10.10 an hour to $12 an hour nationwide.

That might work fine in places like New York City, where labor costs tend to be higher and consumers have a greater willingness to pay. But what about the lower-wage places, where the Senate Democrats' plan would mean a hike of 65 percent? Couldn't that hurt minimum-wage workers, if the higher cost of labor prompts firms to hire fewer people, or drives firms out of business?

Fast-Food Workers Photograph What Life Is Like When You Make Less Than $15 an Hour.

Source: Jordan G. Teicher, Slate

The workers involved in the exhibition began photographing last March with the guidance of photojournalist Steve Hebert, who's photographed the local Fight for $15 movement since its inception. Using cellphone cameras, the workers, who volunteered to participate in the project, collectively shot nearly 4,000 images at work, at home, and at various strikes and demonstrations. They illustrate the long hours and financial hardships that come with the job, as well as some lighter scenes with family and powerful moments of group solidarity.

"I've spent 20 years trying to work my way into places to make pictures of what I think is interesting in peoples' lives. The technology today allows people to do that themselves," he said. "These workers were just shooting as they went. What you get is a variety of different peoples' lives and experiences and the things they see, whether it's walking to work, on strike, or with their kids."

May 18, 2015

People have no idea what inequality actually looks like

Source: Emily Badger, Washington Post

Inequality, we keep hearing, will be a major theme of the upcoming election. Hillary Clinton has been preaching about it. Republicans are suddenly doing it, too. Both sides have been talking to the same eminent academics worried about what economic inequality could mean for the future of American children.

But here is an important point worth remembering about the electorate these candidates have been talking to: Most people - regardless of whether you ask about the poor or the rich, income or wealth, the shape of the income distribution or an individual's position in it - have a terrible sense of what inequality actually looks like.

OSHA cites Dollar General in Bear for safety violations

Source: Robin Brown and Scott Goss, Delawareonline

Federal inspectors cited a Dollar General store in Bear for safety violations officials said "could be a matter of life or death for workers."

They also allege the national chain has a longtime pattern of ignoring such violations at its stores.

Merchandise and boxes were found blocking emergency exits at the Bear store in violation of federal law, the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Monday.

In addition to blocked exits, other cited violations included electrical panel and fire extinguisher hazards.

OSHA has proposed $122,100 in penalties for violations found at the store at 1679 Pulaski Highway (U.S. 40) during a November inspection.

SEIU wants FTC to probe franchisors' practices

Source: Reuters, CNBC

The Service Employees International Union, backer of a three-year campaign to improve the plight of low-wage retail and fast-food workers, on Monday said it would petition the Federal Trade Commission to investigate alleged abusive practices by major franchisors, including McDonald's and 7-Eleven.

In its petition, reviewed by Reuters and expected to be filed with the FTC on Monday morning, SEIU outlined six U.S. franchisor practices it said appeared endemic and "particularly harmful.''

Minimum-wage increase helps workers, employers (Check Facebook for link)

Source: Amy Edelman, Philly

As a business owner in Philadelphia, I know we need to raise the minimum wage, and we need to act now. It's good for my business, customers, and our economy.

My perspective is grounded in 15 successful years as a small-business owner. I own and operate a bakery with my husband. We've more than doubled our staff and grown our business every year. The wages and benefits we offer our employees are central to our success.

All our employees start well above the current Pennsylvania minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. We employ 20 people, with counter staff starting at $10 per hour and kitchen staff earning $12 to $18 per hour. We also offer health-insurance reimbursement and paid time off.

May 15, 2015

Cops: Minimum-wage protest may bring 5,000 to McDonald's HQ

Source: Chuck Fieldman, Chicago Tribune

A group that brought about 2,000 protesters to Oak Brook in May 2014 is returning next week.

The Service Employees International Union is holding another demonstration in support of its campaign to increase the minimum wage of "quick service" restaurant employees to $15 per hour. The demonstration is planned to coincide with a meeting of McDonald's share holders at the fast-food chain's Oak Brook headquarters.

About 5,000 fast-food workers from around the country are expected this time, said Garrett Church, support officer for the Oak Brook Police Department.

Fair trade: Obama must be supportive of American workers

Source: Editorial Board, Pittsburg Post Gazette

The president does not deserve support for his trade agenda unless he pursues it with less secrecy and with more concern for its impact on American workers. He says the Trans-Pacific Partnership will create U.S. jobs and expand the economy. Two decades ago, proponents of the North American Free Trade Agreement made many of the same claims.

As Pittsburghers can attest, many of NAFTA's promises have not been kept. To the contrary, the agreement has often proved disastrous for communities that rely on manufacturing. The lesson is that liberalized trade must be concerned at least as much, in this country and abroad, with worker protections, environmental standards and intellectual property rights as it is with maximizing global investment opportunities for corporations.

May 14, 2015

WILL INTERNSHIPS START 'PAYING OFF' IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE?

Source: William Welkowitz , Bloomberg BNA

The traditional image evoked by the word "intern" is of the person in the office building who buys the coffee, picks up the dry cleaning and does all of the daily menial tasks for the company higher-ups who don't have time to do it themselves. However, as most millennials can attest, those days are long gone.

Today, most internships have participants engaging in the everyday workings of their company or organization. From entering data to doing basic research, interns make small, but important, contributions. The question then becomes whether those contributions warrant treatment comparable to any other employee, including a paycheck.

Labor bill that would fine big corporations paying low wages regains hope

Source: Christine Stuart, New Haven Register

Three weeks ago, a bill that would fine large employers who don't pay their employees $15 an hour may have been dead on arrival, but a new study and a fiscal note say it would net the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

Those hundreds of millions of dollars have many lawmakers giving the bill a second look because the revenue it raises is more attractive than some of spending cuts proposed by Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. That's why a group of 30 Democratic lawmakers have signed a petition calling for the concept to be included in the revenue package being negotiated as part of the final budget.

Stressed out by student debt

Source: Rohit Chopra, Winsconsin Jounal Sentinel

As millions of students and their families across the country celebrate graduation season, many will be joining the ranks of the more than 40 million other Americans on the hook for over $1.2 trillion in student debt.

The average student loan borrower owes nearly $30,000 - a large chunk of debt for someone just starting out. This debt can cause real stress for borrowers. According to a recent study that examined the effects of student loans on health, researchers found that those who had higher amounts of student loan debt reported higher levels of depression, even with adjustments for parental wealth, childhood socioeconomic status and other factors. And there is growing consensus among industry leaders and policymakers that student debt may be holding back the economic recovery.

Unionizing Benefits Adjunct Faculty, Students and Society

Source: Gary Rhoades, New York Times

The decline in unionization means that the growing ranks of working poor are finding the American Dream unattainable. And adjunct faculty are the new working poor. Twenty-five percent of adjuncts receive public assistance. But now they are unionizing in unprecedented numbers.

Adjunct faculty's working conditions compromise students' ability to learn and succeed. These adjuncts are negotiating provisions to ensure their access to instructional resources and professional development, fees to discourage last-minute course assignment and cancellations, and longer contracts. These provisions will better serve students.

May 13, 2015

These are the things people who are forced to work long hours miss the most

Source: Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post

"I want you to think about your work life, and your family life, and decide which is important to you."

I'll never forget those words, coming at the end of a lengthy exegesis on the virtues of long hours from an old boss. It wasn't that my work wasn't good, or that I wasn't getting enough done. In fact -- not to brag or anything -- my performance was rated by that boss as stellar.

But he found it irksome that I only clocked eight to nine hours a day. He said that if I wanted to prove my dedication to the company and make more money, I'd need to work more -- never mind that there wasn't actually any more work to do. I just needed to be a body in a chair.

Facebook has a new answer to income inequality

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

It's an unmistakable feature of the new Silicon Valley economy: Venture capital-backed tech companies fill the cities with well-paid employees, making life less and less affordable for the service workers whose wages seem immune to the forces that have sent engineer salaries soaring.

For several years now, labor unions and community groups have recognized that bifurcation is at the root of the inequities that have embittered the Bay Area. Earlier this year, they launched a campaign called Silicon Valley Rising, which aims to fix that problem by pushing tech giants to turn those minimum wage jobs they've contracted out into family-sustaining careers, using the sometimes massive cash piles that their business models have generated.

May 12, 2015

Nail salon workers aren't the only ones who need more protections

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced emergency protections for the state's nail salon workers, just days after two New York Times reports detailed widespread wage theft and health risks. The stories, by reporter Sarah Maslin Nir, illuminated just how vulnerable these workers are: Often recent immigrants, with low English fluency and few marketable skills, they're essentially indentured to nail salons that take few measures to shield them from exposure to toxic chemicals used in manicures and pedicures.

But nail salons aren't the only workplaces with few rules and little oversight. Mary Vogel, executive director of the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health, and Charlene Obernauer, executive director of the organization's New York chapter, pointed out a few other examples of occupations where workers experience similar vulnerabilities.

Postal workers rallying for longer service hours

Source: Tim Devaney, The Hill

Postal workers are rallying for expanded service hours that they say would lead to more stable jobs.

The American Postal Workers Union, which represents many of the behind-the-scenes postal workers like counter clerks and those who sort mail, is organizing a nationwide protest Thursday. The union does not represent letter carriers.

Hundreds of postal workers in more than 85 cities will protest in front of local post office buildings. They'll urge customers to sign postcards declaring "I stand with postal workers" that they'll later deliver to the postmaster general.

Bayer is Chastised by Judge for Offering to Reinstate Sales Rep 500 Miles Away

Source: Ed Silverman, The Wall Street Journal

Six years ago, a former Bayer sales rep named Michael Townsend tipped off federal authorities about alleged Medicaid fraud involving a physician, who was later found guilty of billing the healthcare program for an unapproved version of a Bayer product.

Several months later, the drug maker fired Townsend, who subsequently filed a lawsuit claiming he lost his job for reporting the Medicaid fraud. Bayer, which was not involved in the fraud, contended he was dismissed due to a dispute over his corporate credit card, according to court documents.

May 11, 2015

When it comes to maternity leave, Latinas may have it the worst

Source: Jorge Rivas, Fusion

But one important point was missing from Oliver's impassioned plea: The people earning the least in our economy-the young, the less educated, and women of color-are also the most likely to not have access to maternity leave, paid or unpaid, according to research from the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank.

In fact, domestic workers-a group that is disproportionately made up of women of color-are excluded from even the most basic protections that The Family and Medical Leave Act provides.

Low, Middle Income Workers Most Vulnerable To Loss Of Obamacare Subsidies

Source: Audie Cornish, NPR

As we heard from Jeff, millions of Americans could be left scrambling if the Supreme Court decides their health insurance subsidies are illegal. These policyholders live in some three dozen states in which the federal government runs the healthcare exchange, not the state. So what might the future hold for these people if their subsidies are deemed illegal? To answer that, we spoke to Linda Blumberg. She's a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, an economic and social policy think tank. We started by asking her to tell us who would be the most affected.

May 8, 2015

Retailers are facing some harsh truths about employee wages

Source: Sinead Carews, Business Insider

Labor expenses will be a key focus during retailers' earnings conference calls in the coming weeks, with many companies under pressure to boost workers' wages at a time when low U.S. unemployment levels have given workers more leverage.

Wal-Mart, Target, T.J. Maxx, Gap, and McDonald's have already announced wage increases, and the trend appears to be trickling further into the retail and restaurant sectors.

"The competition for that job is tougher for the employer. The employee has choices now," said Thomas Sudyka, managing director at investment management firm Lawson Kroeker based in Omaha, Nebraska.

Mandate paid sick leave, Chicago

Source: Melissa Harris, Chicago Tribune

Let's think of all the people who get paid when they don't work. Congressmen who don't show up to vote. Athletes who sit on the bench. Many departing top executives, thanks to noncompete agreements.Yet an estimated 461,000 workers in Chicago aren't entitled to one paid sick day.

Expect a proposal on how to fix that to arrive on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's desk this fall when his Working Families Working Group, which is still being formed, is expected to report back, policy adviser David Spielfogel said. Spielfogel added that the group's agenda will be broadened to include parental leave, shift-worker protections and other workforce policies.

Illinois Supreme Court Rejects Lawmakers' Pension Overhaul

Source: Monica Davey, New York Times

The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday rejected changes that legislators made to fix a deeply troubled public pension system, leaving the state where it had started - with a significant budget crisis, a vastly underfunded pension program and no plan in sight.

All seven members of the state's highest court found that a pension overhaul lawmakers had agreed to almost a year and a half ago violated the Illinois Constitution. The changes would have curtailed future cost-of-living adjustments for workers, raised the age of retirement for some and put a cap on pensions for those with the highest salaries. But under the state Constitution, benefits promised as part of a pension system for public workers "shall not be diminished or impaired."

"Crisis is not an excuse to abandon the rule of law," Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier wrote in an opinion. "It is a summons to defend it."

The next labor fight is over when you work, not how much you make

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

If there's one labor issue that's come to the forefront of political agendas over the past few years, it's the minimum wage: Cities and states around the country are taking action to boost worker pay, as federal efforts seem doomed to fail.

But a new wave of reform is already in the works. Instead of how much you earn, it addresses when you work -- pushing back against the longstanding corporate trend toward timing shifts exactly when labor is needed, sometimes in tiny increments, or at the very last minute. That practice, nicknamed "just-in-time" scheduling, can wreak havoc on the lives of workers who can't plan around work obligations that might pop up at any time.

May 7, 2015

The Price of Nice Nails

Source: Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times

Tucked in her pocket was $100 in carefully folded bills for another expense: the fee the salon owner charges each new employee for her job. The deal was the same as it is for beginning manicurists in almost any salon in the New York area. She would work for no wages, subsisting on meager tips, until her boss decided she was skillful enough to merit a wage.

It would take nearly three months before her boss paid her. Thirty dollars a day.

Judges weigh minimum wage, overtime rules for home care providers

Source: Lydia Wheeler, The Hill

Two of the three judges on a powerful federal court appeared sympathetic to the Department of Labor's push to make home care providers of third-party employers eligible for minimum wage and overtime pay during oral arguments on Thursday.

At issue are workers who serve as aides for the elderly and disabled at home. While they are not providing healthcare, Judge Cornelia Pillard, of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, suggested they should be treated as other professionals.

"It was the intent of Congress to give wage and labor protections to people who were doing this as their bread and butter," she said referring to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

What James Franco gets wrong about working for McDonald's

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

McDonald's, now under fire from workers, customers and its own franchisees, has found an unlikely defender: James Franco. Over at PostEverything this morning, he waxed nostalgic about that one time when he needed some extra cash to support his acting career, nobody would give him a job but McDonald's. The quirky characters, the annoying customers, the stolen fries -- all just part of the charm of his pre-fame life.

Franco isn't making much of business or economic argument, or even really responding to the demands that have been put on the company by worker campaigns demanding better treatment and higher wages. His central point, to the extent one exists, is that McDonald's employs people and it would be a shame if that stopped happening. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone to disagree.

May 6, 2015

UC study says ranks of low-wage California workers growing

Source: Dan Walters, The Sacramento Bee

A University of California think tank is adding more fodder to the Capitol's burgeoning debate over poverty.

A third of California's employed workers are "low-wage" and their ranks are growing, according to a new study from the Center for Labor Research and Education at University of California's Berkeley campus..

That translates into 4.8 million workers who earn less than $13.63 per hour, the "low-wage" cutoff defined as less than two-thirds of the median wage, which was $20.44 in 2014.

New York Governor Cuomo wants to raise wages for fast food workers, all by himself

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

When McDonald's announced a few weeks ago it was raising its minimum wage to $9 an hour, workers cheered. But their excitement came with caution: The mega-chain doesn't own most of its restaurants -- franchisees do -- so the impact would be limited. And in lots of places, $9-an-hour may not be much of an improvement. It's lot less than the $15 an hour activists have been asking for.

But their concerns have reached a a higher power: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who proposed in a New York Times op-ed Wednesday to boost pay in the fast food industry through his executive powers, after failing to get the Legislature to raise the minimum wage statewide through the regular process. He says he can do it by appointing a "Wage Board," determining its direction, and modifying the recommendations it comes up with as he sees fit.

N.J. unions, Christie administration clash over pensions before Supreme Court

Source: Samantha Marcus, NJ

New Jersey's public worker unions and Gov. Chris Christie's administration fought over billions of dollars in pension funding before the state Supreme Court on Wednesday in a case with far-reaching implications for hundreds of thousands of workers and state budgets this year and beyond.

More than a dozen labor unions are asking the high court to establish their right to pension funding under a 2011 pension reform law that lawyers for the state argue is unconstitutional.

Justice Barry Albin called the dispute unprecedented, saying the state's position is that "the law that was passed, now that it doesn't seem to work to my advantage, I'd like to declare it unconstitutional."

May 5, 2015

Owners of Mexican restaurants sentenced to prison for hiring undocumented workers and paying substandard wages

Source: Eric Heisig, Cleveland

AKRON, Ohio - The owner of a chain of Mexican restaurants in Summit and Stark counties was sentenced Monday to 33 months in federal prison for hiring undocumented workers and paying them less than minimum wage. The owner's wife was sentenced to three months.

Miguel Castro, 46, of Uniontown, had the controlling interest in the seven "Mariachi Locos" and "Mariachi Cocos" restaurants in Akron, Stow, Tallmadge and North Canton. His wife, Monica, was also part owner, and all but one are now closed.

May 4, 2015

McDonald's workers plan 'biggest-ever protest' as company announces changes

Source: Rupert Neate, The Guardian

McDonald's workers will gatecrash the burger company's shareholder meeting later this month with "the biggest ever protest" demanding an end to "poverty wages" paid to many of its 420,000 staff.

As the company announced plans to turn around its ailing business, Fight for $15, a union-backed protest group, set out plans for a day of protest at the company's Chicago headquarters.

Where the Minimum-Wage Fight Is Being Won

Source: Russell Berman , The Atlantic

Last Thursday, congressional Democrats unveiled their latest demand for an increase in the national minimum wage: $12 an hour by 2020, an increase of nearly 68 percent from its current $7.25. Their proposal isn't likely to get enacted anytime soon. Yet the real story in the minimum-wage fight is just how much of an afterthought the federal government has become....

Congress hasn't touched the federal minimum wage in eight years. But while lawmakers in the Capitol dither, cities and states under both Democratic and Republican leadership have acted on their own in the last few years, responding to public pressure surrounding income inequality and wage stagnation.

Fiat Chrysler wants to give dealership workers a free ride to college

Source: CNN Wire, FoxCT

If the cost of college is weighing you down, now's a good time to get a job at a Fiat Chrysler dealership.

The automaker announced Monday that it will roll out a program to cover the cost of college degrees for those who work at Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Truck and FIAT dealerships. The program will be available to 118,000 workers across the U.S. and will offer associates, bachelors and masters degrees for employees, all free of charge to them.

May 3, 2015

Substitute teachers could be outsourced in Des Moines

Source: Mackenzie Ryan, The Des Moines Register

The Des Moines school board could decide as soon as Tuesday whether to outsource the district's substitute teachers and teacher associates to a temp agency, a plan that some fear would deteriorate the quality of subs in schools.

District administrators say the same substitute standards would be upheld, and the move could actually benefit students. Right now, substitute shortages leave an average of 30 classes a day unfilled, prompting teachers to forgo planning time and other responsibilities to step in.

May 1, 2015

NLRB says arrest of union reps violated supermarket workers' rights

Source: Daniel Wiessner, Reuters

A divided National Labor Relations Board panel has ruled that the manager of a Fred Meyer Stores Inc supermarket in Oregon violated workers' rights when he launched into an anti-union tirade and called the police on union representatives who were visiting the store.

In a 2-1 decision, the NLRB on Thursday said the manager violated a store policy, which allowed union officials to visit employees for brief periods during working hours, at a critical point during bitter contract negotiations.

Several May Day demonstrations planned in Bay Area

Source: Amy Hollyfield, ABC 7

Thousands will take to the streets in the Bay Area nationwide for May Day protests.

The city of Oakland is preparing for a series of demonstrations. The first one starts at 5:30 a.m. - people plan to gather and try to shut down the McArthur BART station to impact the morning commute. Protesters will start their march at the Port of Oakland - which will coincidentally be shut down for eight hours.

May Day originally started as a pagan ritual celebrating the start of summer. In the 19th century, labor movements starting using May Day as a day to recognize workers' rights.

My shirt was ripped at work. Can I get reimbursed?

Source: Quentin Fottrell, Market Watch

On one particular Friday at work an email message went out to all employees in the Boston office asking us to unplug all of our electronics from the wall before leaving for the weekend (because the power would be turned off over the weekend for some annual building-wide maintenance). So at the end of the day I went under my desk and unplugged my computer and lamp as instructed. As I was crawling back out from under my desk, a metal part of the desk frame ripped my dress shirt. I was unharmed but my shirt was ruined. Am I being ridiculous in wanting to approach my company about reimbursing me for the ripped shirt?

April 29, 2015

Farmers Sued by Female Employee Attorney for Alleged Discrimination

Source: Don Jergler , Insurance Journal

A class-action lawsuit against Farmers Insurance on behalf of female attorney employees was filed on Wednesday in federal court, alleging the insurance giant has discriminatory policies and practices.

The suit accuses Los Angeles, Calif.-based Farmers of unlawfully paying its female attorney-employees significantly lower wages than male attorneys doing the same work.

The suit states: "Farmers does not reward its female attorneys equally compared to their male counterparts performing equal work. Instead, Farmers systematically pays female attorneys less than similarly-situated male attorneys."

Why it's so hard to protect workers caught in global supply chains

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

On Monday morning, hundreds of people lined up outside the Ministry of Labor in El Salvador to collect checks that were more than a year overdue: Compensation for the jobs they lost Jan. 7, 2014, when a textile factory in a free-trade zone outside the city closed. The factory owner failed to pay the 1,200 workers all the severance that's mandated by law. Finally, a couple of the factory's biggest clients - HanesBrands and Fruit of the Loom - ponied up $1.1 million to pay the difference.

"It's been a very difficult struggle. We haven't had enough to eat," says Maria Candelaria Reyes Rivera, a former worker, through a translator. "People have not been able to satisfy their basic needs." Workers even lost their access to health care when the factory's in-house clinic closed. Some emigrated to find new work, Rivera says, so they could send money home to their families.

Meeting the Growing Needs of Long-Term Care for the Elderly

Source: Sarita Gupta , Honolulu Civil Beat

My father was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's. As a result, my entire family has been grappling with questions of how to care for him as he gets older and the Alzheimer's becomes more severe, as it inevitably will.

My parents can't live on their own any longer, so they moved in with me this past winter. While I am grateful that I can help my parents, as a newly minted member of the sandwich generation, I worry about my ability to meet their needs while working full-time and raising a four-year-old daughter. And at the top of our family's list of concerns is how we'll be able to afford my father's long-term care.

My family is hardly alone in grappling with this - every day 10,000 Americans turn 65, and by 2030 20 percent of our population will be past retirement age. Already, more than 40 million Americans are caregivers for family members, many for loved ones with Alzheimer's. As our country and state ages, this number will only continue to grow.

Supreme Court Backs Companies in EEOC Job-Bias Clash

Source: Greg Stohr , Bloomberg

The U.S. Supreme Court gave companies a new legal tool in fighting job-bias suits by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying judges should decide whether the agency took steps to resolve the case before suing.

Ruling unanimously in favor of a mining company accused of refusing to hire a woman, the justices said courts have power to enforce the requirement that the EEOC try to conciliate disputes.

Justice Elena Kagan said the court review would be "relatively barebones," primarily ensuring that the agency notified the employer and gave it a chance to make voluntary changes in its practices.

April 28, 2015

U of C, nurses union reach 'tentative agreement' to avoid strike

Source: Sam Charles, Sun Times

The University of Chicago Medical Center and the National Nurses United union have reached a "tentative agreement" for a new collective-bargaining agreement, staving off a potential nurses strike, both side announced Monday.

The deal was reached just before midnight Monday, according to a statement from the University of Chicago.

With a deal in place, the nurses union has withdrawn its notice to strike, which was scheduled to begin April 30, according to the university.

Homeless U.S. Capitol Workers Crowdfund To Help Fellow Workers

Source: Marina Fang, Huffington Post

Last week, contract workers at the U.S. Capitol went on strike to advocate for better working conditions and higher wages. Now, some of those workers are taking further action by raising money online to support their fellow workers.

The Good Jobs Nation Worker Fund aims to raise $50,000 to help low-wage contract workers working at the U.S. Capitol, the Smithsonian, the Pentagon and other government buildings. The federal government is effectively the largest employer of contract workers. The government employs them through private contracting companies, which make billions of dollars in profits, while many of their workers can barely make ends meet.

Fox 11 Investigates truckers forced to exceed legal driving limits: Electronic monitoring of driver hours could prevent crashes, injuries and deaths

Source: Mark Leland, Fox

Semis rule the roadways. When those wheels are turning, money is made by the companies and the drivers. There's a financial incentive to drive longer hours.
But federal rules limit the number of hours a driver can work, so they're not falling asleep at the wheel.
Some drivers say getting around the law is easy, making the roadways a danger.

Poll: Most Americans believe fast food workers should be able to unionize

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

As unions become a more forceful voice in the political discourse leading up to next year's elections -- both in their fierce opposition to the White House trade agenda and as a proposed solution to rising inequality -- it's important to know what the public thinks about them. We don't get that kind of data very often, but Pew Research just came out with a bunch of numbers that show a few important things: Opinions of unions have mostly recovered from a low point during the Detroit auto bailout, and strong majorities of people believe workers should be able to unionize across several different sectors.

Here's the graph of how positive and negative views of unions have changed over time

April 27, 2015

Americans greet the decline of union rolls with a shrug

Source: Nick Gass, Politico

Americans are split on whether the long-term decline of union membership over the last three decades is good or bad for the country, according to a new Pew Research Center survey released Monday.

By contrast, the survey finds that 52 percent think of the reduction in labor union membership in negative terms, while 40 percent say it has been mostly good for working people.

Despite the steady decline in membership, the numbers are in line with a similar 1994 NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey that asked the public about the previous two decades.

Business Bid to Curb Consumer Suits Gets Top U.S. Court Look

Source: Greg Stohr, Bloomberg

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider a business-backed bid to put new limits on Congress's power to authorize consumer lawsuits in federal court.

The justices said they will hear an appeal from the data broker Spokeo Inc. in a dispute with implications for a slew of federal statutes.

Spokeo, which uses public information to compile personal dossiers, is seeking to stop a lawsuit by a man who says the company misrepresented his education, wealth and marital status.

April 26, 2015

Who actually makes the minimum wage in America today?

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

If the federal government ever raises the minimum wage, it wouldn't help everyone -- immediately, at least. Although raising the floor reverberates throughout the wage scale, the vast majority of workers already make more than $7.25 an hour, either because they live in states that have set their own baseline higher or because their employer doesn't want to be known as sticking to rock bottom.

But there were still almost 3 million people who made the minimum wage or less in the United States in 2014. And,thanks to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we know who they mostly are: disproportionately young, female, part-time, Southern restaurant workers without a high school degree.

This Year's May Day Rallies Continue Tradition of Protests for Workers Rights

Source: Peter Dreier , Huffington Post

Unlike the rest of the world's democracies, the United States doesn't use the metric system, doesn't require employers to provide workers with paid vacations, hasn't abolished the death penalty and doesn't celebrate May Day as an official national holiday.

But outside the U.S., May 1 is international workers' day, observed with speeches, rallies and demonstrations. This year, millions of workers in Europe, Asia and Latin America will be taking to the streets to demand higher wages, better benefits and improved working conditions. In Bangladesh, for example, protestors will be in the streets to demand that global companies like Walmart improve safety standards in local sweatshops, which have become death traps.

April 24, 2015

Why the retirement savings crisis is also a women's crisis

Source: Sallie Krawcheck, Washington Post

Here is what we know: The retirement savings crisis is enormous. By some estimates, Americans are under-saved by up to $14 trillion. This number may in fact be understated, because it assumes Social Security and Medicare solvency – a big if. And the solutions to this problem are generally assumed to be a real negative for the economy.

But here's the dot that few have connected: The retirement savings crisis is also a women's crisis.

That's because women retire with two-thirds the savings of men, live six to eight years longer and have higher medical costs. Plus, 80 percent of women are single in their final years.

What's in a $12 minimum wage?

Source: Tim Fitzsimons, Marketplace

In the meantime, a fast food workers' movement has been pushing for a $15 an hour wage, and Chicago and Seattle raised theirs to $13 and $15, respectively.

"The good news is ... we are going to learn more about how local labor markets adjust to higher minimum wages," says Arindrajit Dube, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

April 23, 2015

Claims Hovering Near 15-Year Low Signal U.S. Payroll Rebound

Source: Anonomous, Bloomberg Buisness

The number of Americans getting fired is hovering near the lowest levels in almost 15 years, indicating the slowdown in hiring last month will prove temporary.

An average 284,500 workers a week filed claims for jobless benefits over the past month, according to Labor Department data issued Thursday in Washington. The 282,500 average reached in early April was the lowest since June 2000. Another report showed sales of new homes slumped more than forecast in March, ending the strongest quarter in seven years on a weak note.

Battling a Damaging Workplace Trend

Source: Thomas E. Perez , Huffington Post

One of the most pervasive and damaging trends we are seeing in the 21st-century workplace is the deliberate misclassification of workers by employers looking to shift responsibility and cut costs.

Two judgments announced this week in Utah and Arizona demonstrate our commitment to cracking down on this practice, whereby companies claim that their workers are not employees but independent contractors.

Minnesota House passes lower minimum wage for tip workers

Source: J. PATRICK COOLICAN, Star Tribune

A change to the minimum wage that would lead to a pay cut for thousands of tip workers passed the Republican-led Minnesota House Wednesday by a vote of 73-56.

The minimum-wage measure, which sharply divided the two parties, was part of a sprawling jobs and energy bill approved by the House, but its ultimate fate is uncertain given opposition to many provisions by the DFL-controlled Senate and Gov. Mark Dayton.

The bill would create a two-tiered minimum wage, with a lower rate for employees who receive tips of at least $4 per hour, while also prohibiting cities or the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport from enacting a higher minimum wage than the state minimum.

April 22, 2015

Food workers, janitors walk out on U.S. Senate

Source: John Verhovek and Dana Bash, CNN

About 40 contracted workers from the United States Senate walked off their jobs Wednesday morning and joined more than 1,000 labor activists at a rally calling on President Barack Obama and Congress to require federal contractors to pay their workers more.

The Senate workers -- employed at the upper chamber's cafeteria, on janitorial duty and in other food service jobs -- along with other federal contracted employees, are calling on the President to sign a "Model Employer Executive Order" that would give federal contracting preferences to companies that can pay their workers $15 an hour.

What if Walmart raised its minimum wage to $70,000 a year?

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

Last week, the CEO of a little company in Seattle called Gravity Payments got a lot of attention with a bold move in his human resources strategy: He would boost the minimum annual salary for his 120 employees to $70,000, and pay for it by cutting his own million-dollar compensation down to the same level, as well as directing most of the firm's profits back into his staff. He chose $70,000 because it's the level at which money buys the most happiness, which he thought would in turn lead to more productive employees.

April 21, 2015

Low Wages, Trade Deals Luring Auto Plants and Jobs to Mexico

Source: Tom Krisher and Christopher Sherman, ABC

Mexico has become the most attractive place in North America to build new automobile factories, a shift that has siphoned jobs from the U.S. and Canada, yet helped keep car and truck prices in check for consumers.

In the past two years, eight automakers have opened or announced new plants or expansions in Mexico. Just last week, Toyota announced a new plant in Guanajuato to build the popular Corolla, work now done in Canada, while Ford unveiled plans for Mexican engine and transmission factories.

Low labor costs and fewer tariffs are the swing factors. A worker in Mexico costs car companies an average of $8 an hour, including wages and benefits. That compares with $58 in the U.S. for General Motors and $38 at

Volkswagen's factory in Tennessee, the lowest hourly cost in the U.S., according to the Center for Automotive Research, an industry think tank in Ann Arbor, Michigan. German auto workers cost about $52 an hour.

Even With Unions, Adjuncts Are Rarely Protected From Last-Minute Job Losses

Source: Peter Schmidt, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The movement to unionize adjunct instructors has yet to protect most of them from taking big financial hits from last-minute class cancellations, according to new study based on an analysis of contract provisions.

Just one in four union contracts covering adjunct instructors includes any sort of provision ensuring them some payment when a course assignment is canceled, the study found. Where such provisions are in place, for the most part, they let colleges cancel adjuncts' classes with little notice and for a broad range of reasons, says a paper summarizing the study's findings. Most ensure adjunct instructors reimbursements of only a few hundred dollars for the canceled work - a pittance considering the time some may have already spent on class planning.

Prominent whistle-blower lawyer takes aim at Silicon Valley

Source: Thomas Lee, San Francisco Chronicle

Look out, Silicon Valley. Eric Havian just might be gunning for you.

Armed with new federal laws (plus an old one) and a track record as one of the country's best whistle-blower lawyers, Havian has his sights set on tech, an industry that has long enjoyed a relatively squeaky-clean reputation when it comes to corruption.

But just because Google adopted "don't be evil" as its motto doesn't mean people inside the search giant are not capable of ethical or legal lapses in judgment because ... well, they're people. And people love money.

Robert Reich: America's "flexible" economy is making workers' lives hell

Source: Robert Reich, Salon

These days it's not unusual for someone on the way to work to receive a text message from her employer saying she's not needed right then.

Although she's already found someone to pick up her kid from school and arranged for childcare, the work is no longer available and she won't be paid for it.

Just-in-time scheduling like this is the latest new thing, designed to make retail outlets, restaurants, hotels, and other customer-driven businesses more nimble and keep costs to a minimum.

Software can now predict up-to-the-minute staffing needs on the basis of information such as traffic patterns, weather, and sales merely hours or possibly minutes before.

One-third have almost no retirement savings

Source: Nanci Hellmich, USA Today

Many people are woefully unprepared financially for retirement, and they shouldn't count on working longer to make up the difference, a new national survey reveals.

Almost a third of workers (28%) say they have less than $1,000 in savings and investments that could be used for retirement, not counting their primary residence or defined benefits plans such as traditional pensions. And 57% say they have less than $25,000, according to a telephone survey of 1,003 workers and 1,001 retirees from the non-profit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald and Associates. Previous surveys from EBRI and other groups have shown similar savings rates.

April 20, 2015

At Home and Abroad, the Labor Movement Comes Roaring Back

Source: Annelise Orleck, Moyers and Company

On April 15, 2015, low-wage workers across the US and around the world once again waged a flash strike intended to capture the attention of employers and policy-makers who control their wages. Protesters didn't spend their limited monies to ride buses, trains or planes to Washington, DC where their actions might or might not have attracted much media attention. Instead, they took to the streets where they live and labor - in 200 US cities and across the United Kingdom, Brazil, India, Italy, Bangladesh, Japan, and 30 other countries.

At a time when multi-national corporations are 50 of the world's largest 100 economies, this movement has had to be both intensely local and expansively global.... This year's protests are the largest and most global labor actions ever mounted.

How Corporate Lobbyists Conquered American Democracy

Source: Lee Drutman, The Atlantic

Something is out of balance in Washington. Corporations now spend about $2.6 billion a year on reported lobbying expenditures-more than the $2 billion we spend to fund the House ($1.18 billion) and Senate ($860 million). It's a gap that has been widening since corporate lobbying began to regularly exceed the combined House-Senate budget in the early 2000s.

Today, the biggest companies have upwards of 100 lobbyists representing them, allowing them to be everywhere, all the time. For every dollar spent on lobbying by labor unions and public-interest groups together, large corporations and their associations now spend $34. Of the 100 organizations that spend the most on lobbying, 95 consistently represent business.

April 19, 2015

San Rafael firm must pay back wages to 18 workers denied overtime

Source: Bob Egelko, SFGate

The U.S. Labor Department says a San Rafael credit card company wrongly classified 18 employees as managers or administrators exempt from overtime and must pay them a total of $51,000 in back wages and damages.
The department announced the action Friday against Central Payment Co. The company treated some of its everyday workers, with titles such as sales manager and sales analyst, as salaried managers rather than hourly wage employees, said Celeste Hale, assistant director of the Wage and Hour Division in the department's San Francisco office.

April 17, 2015

As Cities Raise Their Minimum Wage, Where's the Economic Collapse the Right Predicted?

Source: Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones

Fast-food cooks and cashiers demanding a $15 minimum wage walked off the job in 236 cities yesterday in what organizers called the largest mobilization of low-wage workers ever. The tax-day protest, known as Fight 4/15 (or #Fightfor15 on Twitter), caused some backlash on the Right:
Conservatives have long portrayed minimum wage increases as a harbingers of economic doom, but their fears simply haven't played out. San Francisco, Santa Fe, and Washington, DC, were among the first major cities to raise their minimum wages to substantially above state and national averages. The Center for Economic and Policy Research found that the increases had little effect on employment rates in traditionally low-wage sectors of their economies:

April 16, 2015

New York City Council Votes to Restrict Credit Checks in Hiring

Source: Nikita Stewart , New York Times

The City Council passed a bill on Thursday that will make New York the 12th jurisdiction in the country to prohibit employers from using credit checks to screen job applicants.

By a 47-to-3 vote, the Council approved a ban that supporters said would significantly curtail a practice that they said disproportionately affected the ability of blacks and Hispanics to get hired.

Labor unions, liberal-leaning think tanks and groups that advocate on behalf of low-income residents joined several council members in front of City Hall to cheer the legislation, seen as a major victory since a similar bill died in December 2013.

Outback Steakhouse Class Swells

Source: Mike Heuer, Courthouse News Service

If all potential members join, the class action would have 139,469 members seeking reimbursement for all hours worked and overtime wages.
Lead plaintiff Brooke Cardoza sued in October 2013, claiming the restaurant chain forced workers to start work 10 to 15 minutes early without clocking in and did not allow them to take mandated paid and unpaid work breaks.
Nor did it pay workers for overtime, mandated training, testing or company meetings and events, Cardoza claimed.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/16/us-usa-restaurants-protests-idUSKBN0N60U520150416

Source: Sebastien Malo, Reuters

Fast-food workers rallied in U.S. cities on Wednesday to demand higher pay, using the April 15 deadline for filing tax returns to publicize their claim that they cannot survive on the hourly wages paid by many U.S. corporations.

The protests demanding pay increases to $15 an hour kicked off at dawn outside a McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) restaurant in New York with several hundred demonstrators.

Marching behind a banner reading "Raise wages, Raise the city," protesters carried placards with "Fight for $15 on 4/15."

Fast-food strikes widen into social-justice movement

Source: Bruce Horovitz and Yamiche Alcindor, USA Today

Low-wage workers - and their sympathizers - had their say coast to coast on Wednesday.

Thousands of workers and protesters from New York City to Los Angeles walked, marched and shouted their demands in front of fast-food locations and on several major college campuses for $15-an-hour wages. No arrests were reported. At least one McDonald's in New York City was temporarily closed by protesters. Several McDonald's stores kept drive-throughs operating, even while the restaurants were temporarily locked.

Taxpayers Spend Billions On Government Help For Low-Wage Workers

Source: Cole Stangler, International Business Times

Although she works 40 hours a week, it's hard for Cheyenne Mathieu to support herself and her four-year-old son without a little help. As a nonunion home care aide in suburban Hartford, Connecticut, Mathieu, 21, earns $9.15 an hour for homemaking and $9.75 an hour for companionship. The former involves daily chores like cleaning and cooking for her clients; the latter includes work outside the home like picking up groceries and going on walks.

Mathieu started a couple of months ago after quitting a job at a Hartford Dunkin Donuts that paid even less and offered fewer hours. To get by, she depends on government assistance: $357 a month from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is better known as food stamps, $487 a month from Connecticut's Temporary Family Assistance program and $370 a month in state help for child care.

April 15, 2015

IT worker's lawsuit accuses Tata of discrimination

Source: Patrick Thibodeau , Computer World

An IT worker is accusing Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) of discriminating against American workers and favoring "South Asians" in hiring and promotion. It's backing up its complaint, in part, with numbers.

The lawsuit, filed this week in federal court in San Francisco, claims that 95% of the 14,000 people Tata employs in the U.S. are South Asian or mostly Indian. It says this practice has created a "grossly disproportionate workforce."

Is Your Tax Rate Higher Than Walmart's?

Source: Dave Johnson, Time

It's April 15, Tax Day. And while dubious business expenses and home offices might help you save a few dollars, most people pay something near what the government sets as the tax rate for their income.

The same is not always true of corporations. While the United States has the highest statutory corporate tax among industrialized nations (39.1 percent), corporations have a greater number of ways to bring that tax bill down. Use the calculator below to see how your tax rate compares to the average effective federal rates paid by 10 major corporates between 2008 to 2012, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, a labor-backed non-profit organization that advocates for corporate tax reform.

Here's What the Fight for $15 Strikers Have in Common With You

Source: Mary Kay Henry , Huffington Post

Today, I am joining tens of thousands of people all over the country who are delivering a message, louder than ever, to fast-food corporations: pay all of your workers enough to afford the basics. Fast-food workers are going on strike today, April 15, in the nationwide movement known as the Fight for $15.
Many in the crowd will be fast-food workers themselves, of course, but who's standing with them may surprise you.
I'm participating in actions in San Francisco and Berkeley, Calif., and we will not be far from Li'l Nancy's Primary Schoolhouse in West Oakland, where Nancy Harvey spends her days enthusiastically preparing young children for what's ahead. She wants to provide for her family. She wants those kids to have a great chance at success. That's why Nancy will be with us.

Americans are spending $153 billion a year to subsidize McDonald's and Wal-Mart's low wage workers

Source: Ken Jacobs, Ken Jacobs

The low wages paid by businesses, including some of the largest and most profitable companies in the U.S. – like McDonald's and Wal-Mart – are costing taxpayers nearly $153 billion a year.

After decades of wage cuts and health benefit rollbacks, more than half of all state and federal spending on public assistance programs goes to working families who need food stamps, Medicaid, or other support to meet basic needs. Let that sink in - American taxpayers are subsidizing people who work - most of them full-time (in some case more than full-time) because businesses do not pay a living wage.

April 14, 2015

How much each state spends on aid to poor workers

Source: Niraj Chokshi, Washington Post

Nearly 56 percent of the $227 billion in federal spending on a handful of assistance programs now goes to working families, according to the report from the University of California, Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education. Of the more than $48 billion that states spend, nearly 52 percent goes to such families, defined as those in which at least one member works 10 hours a week for 27 weeks a year.

"The solution isn't cutting back-these programs provide really a vital safety net to American lower-income families, including lower-income working families," says Ken Jacobs, co-author of the report and chairman of the center. He blames low wages and years of reluctant wage growth for the large share of working families relying on aid.

April 13, 2015

Seattle council approves paid parental leave for city workers

Source: Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times

Seattle city employees who are new parents will get up to four weeks of paid time off at their normal wage or salary under legislation approved Monday by the City Council.

The council voted unanimously to provide the new benefit, which will be available to both men and women who have worked for the city for at least six months.

Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Jean Godden proposed the legislation in February. It will take effect 30 days after Murray signs it, which he might do this week.

Study: When companies pay low wages, taxpayers end up with the rest of the bill

Source: Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post

Wallenbrock is among millions of working Americans whose low wages are supplemented by government support. Families in which at least one member is working now make up the vast majority of those enrolled in major public-assistance programs like Medicaid and food stamps, according to a new study. It's a "hidden cost" of low-wage work, researchers say, and it costs taxpayers about $153 billion a year.

According to researchers, this is the first time anyone has calculated how much is spent providing assistance to workers whose wages don't cover their families' expenses. The study, from the University of California at Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education, found that most spending on public assistance goes not to the unemployed but to members of working families.

Why the federal government still sometimes doesn't obey its own minimum wage laws

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

The more crowded it is at the National Zoo, the more cheated Robert Glover feels. And it's been very crowded lately.

"You know they're making money," he said last week, watching the Spring Break masses stream up and down the broad walkways, strollers competing for space with wheelchairs and scampering children. That day, he was detailed to track the number of people who came in and out, with a clicker and clipboard. Most days, he empties trash cans -- the zoo is free to enter, but all those pizza boxes and soda cups provide an income stream. In the winter he clears snow, for the D.C. minimum wage of $9.50 an hour.

Contractors on federal land are supposed to make a bit more than that - but over the years, the laws that require it have been sparsely enforced and widely violated. And loopholes make sure fewer workers are covered in the first place.

April 12, 2015

Working, but Needing Public Assistance Anyway

Source: Patricia Cohen, The New York Times

A home health care worker in Durham, N.C.; a McDonald's cashier in Chicago; a bank teller in New York; an adjunct professor in Mayfield, Ill. They are all evidence of an improving economy, because they are working and not among the steadily declining ranks of the unemployed.

Yet these same people also are on public assistance - relying on food stamps, Medicaid or other stretches of the safety net to help cover basic expenses when their paychecks come up short.

April 10, 2015

McMugging the middle class: How corporate welfare conquered the American economy

Source: Christopher Dale, Salon

Despite the news that McDonald's plans to raise wages for 90,000 employees in the 1,500 U.S. eateries it owns and operates, the scheduled April 15 fast food workers' strike, which also will include home health care aides, airport workers, child care workers and Wal-Mart employees, may be the biggest such low-wage worker protest yet. McDonald's employee raise, it seems, was about as satisfying to workers as its food is to customers – as in not very.

The pay hike was too little, too late, and too limited: The approximately 10 percent raise is insufficient given the paltry, poverty-level hourly wage upon which it builds; was only announced amid persistent pressure and sustained negative publicity; and only affects about 11 percent of its total nationwide workforce, since McDonald's cannot dictate wages to the franchisees who own the vast majority of its U.S. locations.

April 9, 2015

Workers Who Clean Our Government Offices Say They're Being Ripped Off

Source: Hamilton Nolan, Gawker

This morning, a group of low-wage contract workers who do jobs for the federal government are filing a complaint claiming wage theft. Even the janitor who cleans the Secretary of Education's office says she's not being paid what she deserves.
The contract workers, who are being assisted by organized labor, include janitors, bus drivers, and grounds keepers on federal property in Washington, DC. Their complaint alleges more than $1.6 million in wage theft-they say that they are not being paid the wages that they should be as determined by the Service Contract Act, which mandates certain wage standards among employees contracted to work for the federal government. Though the act is supposed to ensure semi-decent minimum wages for all contract workers, it is riddled with rules and exceptions. (I'm not qualified to truly analyze the legal validity of the specific complaints of these workers-labor lawyers, please weigh in in the comment section below.)

California Bill Would Extend Health Insurance to Undocumented Immigrants

Source: Caitlin Owens, National Journal

A bill introduced in the California state Senate would make the state the first to allow undocumented immigrants to receive Medicaid and enroll in its health care exchange, extending coverage to more than 1 million people.

The measure from Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara would change state law to allow illegal immigrants access to Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program. It would also direct the state Health and Human Services Agency to seek a waiver from the federal government to allow illegal immigrants to enroll in the state's exchange, Covered California.

Rally Backs Fines For Employers Paying Less Than $15 An Hour

Source: Shawn R. Beals, Hartford Courant

Mayors and legislators on Thursday rallied support for a bill that would fine large employers who pay their employees less than $15 an hour to reimburse the cost to the state for social services those employees are using.

Sen. Marilyn Moore, D-Bridgeport, is the sponsor of Senate Bill 1044, which was passed by the human services committee and now goes to the finance committee. Supporters are calling the legislation the "Fight For 15" bill.

What corporate America should do for low-wage workers

Source: Jeff Furman , Fortune

Embracing a living wage is good for business, and good for all.
The voices of low-wage workers are about to get a lot louder.
On April 15, fast food, retail, and other low-wage workers are planning a wave of actions to demand a $15 minimum wage. Organizers say protests in 200 American cities and solidarity actions in 35 other countries will add up to the largest mobilization of underpaid workers in history.
This should be a wake-up call to the business community. It's a moral disgrace that so many hard-working Americans have to scrape to get by on a minimum wage that is 25% below what it was in 1968.

Amazon sued in California over docked wages for warehouse workers.

Source: Barbara Grzincic, Reuters

A proposed class action filed against Amazon.com claims the company is committing wage theft by docking hourly employees at its California warehouses for 30 minutes of wages or paid time off each time they miss a three-minute grace-period for clocking in.

Since employees must clock in twice a day -- when their shifts start and when they return from a meal break - they can lose as much as an hour's worth of pay or paid time off per day, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in California Superior Court in San Francisco.

April 8, 2015

D.C. home health-care workers file class-action suit alleging wage theft

Source: Perry Stein, Washington Post

D.C. home health-care workers filed a class action lawsuit against four agencies Wednesday, alleging that they were cheated out of wages and denied overtime and sick pay. The suit against four local agencies - Capitol View Home Health Agency, Human Touch, T&N Nursing and VMT Home Health - comes a week before home health-care workers and other low-wage workers across the country are expected to rally for a $15 wage on April 15 as part of the "Fight for 15 movement."

The suit, filed in D.C. Superior Court, argues the agencies violated labor laws over a span of three years, paying workers below D.C.'s living wage, which was $13.60 in 2014. Employees of D.C. government contractors are required to earn this living wage - a wage that's considerably higher than the city's minimum wage of $9.50 per hour.

April 6, 2015

Domino's CEO: 'We've Gotta Pay More' To Hire Good Workers

Source: Emily Cohn, Huffington Post

Add Domino's to the list of companies coming under pressure to raise pay.
"We've gotta pay more to get people right now," Domino's CEO Patrick Doyle said in an appearance on CNBC on Monday morning. "The great news is the economy is moving, it is getting better, it's getting harder to hire people."
Doyle did not announce a broad raise for his company's lowest-paid workers, but other big employers have recently, including McDonald's and Walmart.

Here Are Google's Secrets To Treating Workers Well

Source: Emily Peck, Huffington Post

"For most people, work sucks, but it doesn't have to."
That's from Laszlo Bock, who heads up people operations at Google, overseeing more than 50,000 workers in 70 offices around the world. His book, Work Rules: Insights From Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead, came out Tuesday.
The book offers up ways other companies can be more like Google, beyond just giving employees the kinds of perks the tech giant is legendary for: things like free meals and snacks. Or, say, giving workers scooters -- as Google does here at its Eighth Avenue office to quickly get people across the block-long building.

Former Hooters Waitress Awarded $250,000 in Racial Discrimination Case

Source: Elizabeth Chuck, NBC News

A former Hooters waitress has been awarded more than $250,000 after an arbitrator found that racial discrimination contributed to her getting fired.

Farryn Johnson, who is African-American, was fired from her Baltimore restaurant job in August 2013 because "Hooters prohibits African-American Hooters Girls from wearing blond highlights in their hair," according to a lawsuit.

While other women were allowed to highlight their hair, the restaurant manager told Johnson she couldn't be at work with blond streaks because it didn't look "natural" on African-Americans, the suit said.

New York City Discriminated in Paying Managers, Commission Finds

Source: Marc Santora, New York Times

A federal commission on fair employment practices found that New York City has engaged in a broad pattern of discrimination, paying minorities and women substantially less than their white male counterparts, and recommended on Monday that it pay hundreds of millions of dollars in back wages and other damages.

The finding by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against job applicants or employees, will put pressure on the city to offer a settlement in the case.

Starbucks to give workers a full ride for college

Source: Ben Rooney, CNN Money

Want to get a college degree for free? Try getting a job at Starbucks.

Starbucks (SBUX) said Monday it will offer employees full tuition at Arizona State University's online program, giving them the chance to earn a bachelor's degree for free.

The coffee chain already offers its baristas two years of undergraduate tuition at ASU under its existing college achievement program. Now the company is extending that to four years for most of its workers.

Signs of hope for American workers

Source: Catherine Rampell, Washington Post

In the 1970s, we suffered through stagflation: high inflation, soaring unemployment, stagnant economic growth. Pretty much the worst of all worlds.

Today we have nearly opposite conditions, which should, in theory, make for the best of all worlds: low inflation, falling unemployment and reasonably steady economic growth. Yet somehow today's economy feels pretty shabby.

The crucial missing component of good news today, of course, is wages. Wage and salary growth have been pitifully slow in an economic expansion almost at its sixth birthday, and compensation still has not recovered the ground lost during the "Great Recession." The most recent data available show that the median U.S. household still earns less than its counterpart did at the turn of the century, after adjusting for inflation.

Anita Hill speaks: How to avoid the next Ellen Pao case

Source: Anita Hill , Fortune

In Pao's case, the sunlight is beginning to do its work. The public's engagement with the case reminds us that, though we have banned gender-exclusive job listings and other overt forms of discrimination, there is still much to be done to remove the barriers that impede women's progress.

The public conversation about the Pao lawsuit must become loud enough to reach industry leaders' ears.... Employers should also be mindful that evaluations don't require women to "soften" their personalities or to perform tasks, like note-taking, if the same are not demanded of men. Managers must begin to think beyond stereotypes about what it takes to cultivate workplaces where women and people of color are included and valued for their contributions.

April 3, 2015

For U.S. Workers, The March Of Progress Slows Down

Source: Marilyn Geewax, NPR

On Friday, the Labor Department's report on weak jobs growth left economists scrambling to explain what went wrong in March.
Most had forecast about 245,000 new jobs for the month, but they were way off base. The Labor Department said employers added only 126,000 workers. The unemployment rate, which is determined by a separate survey of households, held steady at 5.5 percent.
The disappointing March report confirms a wintertime slowdown. The average monthly gain in the first three months of this year was just 197,000 new jobs, down sharply from an average of 324,000 in the final three months of last year.

Virginia bans asking job applicants about criminal history

Source: Barbara Goldberg, Reuters

Governor Terry McAuliffe on Friday signed an executive order making Virginia the latest U.S. state to prohibit government employers from asking job applicants about their criminal history.
Virginia joins more than a dozen other states in its decision to "ban the box" on job applications that prospective employees are asked to check if they have been convicted of a crime.
An individual's rap sheet may be considered only if it "bears specific relation to the job for which they are being considered," such as child care workers, state troopers, court officers and jail guards, said gubernatorial spokesman Brian Coy.

Rand Paul's Favorite Union-Buster

Source: Josh Eidelson , Bloomberg Politics

Last year, the Democrats who control the Kentucky House of Representatives killed a Republican proposal that would have made it illegal for unions to charge workers at private companies mandatory fees-in other words, to run union shops. One of the bill's sponsors, Representative Jim DeCesare, assumed his option was to try again in the next General Assembly session. Then, at an October fundraiser for Senator Rand Paul in Bowling Green, DeCesare heard about a Tampa lawyer named Brent Yessin. He argues that counties and cities have the right to make labor policy, too. "Obviously," DeCesare says, "we were extremely interested."

In 1965, Kentucky's highest court ruled that the town of Shelbyville couldn't outlaw union shop contracts because the 1935 National Labor Relations Act preempts local labor laws. In 1990 a similar law passed by a New Mexico city was overturned by a federal district court for much the same reason. Letting local governments diverge on labor policy, says University of Toledo law professor Joseph Slater, "would certainly be a change in the way the law has always been interpreted."

April 2, 2015

When Wal-Mart Comes To Town, What Does It Mean For Workers?

Source: Jennifer Ludden and Yuki Noguchi, NPR

One of the biggest objections critics often raise about Wal-Mart is how it treats its workers.

The company has long been hammered by critics for its low pay and erratic work schedules. And its worker policies have a major impact on economies: With more than 2 million people on the payroll - 1.4 million of them in the U.S. - it's the third-largest employer in the world, behind the U.S. Defense Department and the People's Liberation Army of China.

So when Wal-Mart sets its sights on an urban area, it brings controversy - but it also brings jobs.

Workers - not employers - are the real wage movers and shakers

Source: Harold Meyerson, Washington Post

"We're too big and complicated a system to do anything in reaction to a particular group or something happening," Karen King, who has the wonderful title of "chief people officer" at McDonald's, said Wednesday, explaining her company's decision to raise wages for some of its employees.

If you believe that, don't go near anyone purporting to sell you a bridge, even if it comes with fries on the side.

What Do Workers Want from the Boss?

Source: Lauren Weber, Wall Street Journal

People don't leave jobs, they leave managers.
A new report out Thursday from market research firm Gallup finds there's still plenty of truth in that old cliché. The survey of 7,200 adults found that about half had left a job at some point "to get away from their manager."
So, what do workers want from their managers? In a word, communication.
Gallup found that workers whose managers hold regular meetings are three times more likely to be engaged-that is, feel involved in and enthusiastic about their jobs. Workers said they want to be in contact with bosses on a daily basis, and not just about sales targets or an upcoming presentation: they want their manager to take an interest in their personal lives, too.

April 1, 2015

Bureau of Prisons manager tried moving whistleblower's office to old jail cell

Source: Josh Hicks, Washington Post

Two whistleblowers have accused the Federal Bureau of Prisons of trying to banish them to inappropriate work spaces - including a converted jail cell with no desk, computer or phone - after they lodged complaints against the agency.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel brought the actions to light on Tuesday, announcing that it had won relief for the employees after investigating their claims.

In one case, Chicago-based field administrator Linda Thomas said the head of her office tried to transfer her to a former jail cell after she accused the manager of an inappropriate attempt to move the staff to a complex closer to the supervisor's suburban home.

A Surprising Historical Parallel for Seattle's Minimum Wage Fight

Source: Sean Trainor , Times

How peddlers can help us understand franchise owners' struggle with the city

Starting Wednesday, many of Seattle's workers will enjoy a higher minimum wage – but some businesses have tried (unsuccessfully, thus far) to keep their employees out of that group. Claiming that Seattle's wage law unfairly defines franchise owners as large employers, a lawsuit – led by the International Franchise Association (IFA) and franchisees from the hospitality, healthcare and marketing sectors – sought to stop, or at least slow, the change.

Perez and Garcetti take aim at wage theft, minimum wage

Source: Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times

Raising the minimum wage is one thing, but enforcing it is another.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez stressed that point at a pair of events coinciding with Cesar Chavez Day.
The two politicians visited a North Hollywood manufacturer and a downtown Los Angeles church Tuesday morning to stump for higher pay for Angelenos and better awareness of wage theft by employers.

March 31, 2015

Labor Leader: 'We Will Not Stop' Fighting For Immigration Reform

Source: Elise Foley , Huffington Post

Help from the government for undocumented immigrants isn't coming as quickly as they wanted, but union leaders and immigration activists are not giving up on President Barack Obama's currently stalled executive action programs.

The AFL-CIO labor federation gathered about 200 people, mostly union members, in Washington on Tuesday for a three-day training on immigration advocacy. Part of that training will be focused on teaching people how to apply for Obama's immigration executive action programs, which are currently on hold by a court order.

Gap is finding out whether boosting the minimum wage really boosts business

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

Gap Inc. might not have raised wages before raising wages was cool, but it certainly beat a lot of other companies to the party.
Fully a year before Wal-Mart, Target and T.J. Maxx announced last month they would bump their baselines to $9 an hour, Gap - which has 65,000 employees across its brands in the United States - had already done so, making it among the first U.S. companies to announce an across-the-board hike in its minimum wage. The stated reason was clear.
"Our decision to invest in front-line employees will directly support our business, and is one that we expect to deliver a return many times over," chief executive Glenn Murphy wrote in a letter to employees.

NLRB joint employer cases against McDonald's set to begin

Source: Daniel Wiessner, Reuters

A series of National Labor Relations Board cases that seek to hold McDonald's Corp liable for alleged labor violations by its franchisees began Monday, the start of a long process that will likely signal a profound shift for U.S. businesses.

Administrative Law Judge Lauren Esposito in Manhattan began presiding over dozens of consolidated cases on Monday that claim McDonald's franchisees across the country unlawfully interfered with employees' rights to organize and call for higher wages. She will also hold hearings in Los Angeles and Chicago before a consolidated trial begins in May, which is expected to last several months.

March 30, 2015

Losing a job is always terrible. For workers over 50, it's worse.

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

The unemployment rate among workers over 55 is 4.1 percent, compared with 5.7 percent for the population overall, and labor force participation among older workers has been rising since the early 1990s. That's arguably a better position to be in than that of a young person whose earnings potential has been forever damaged by starting out in the Great Recession.
But the headline statistics hide a harsher reality: older workers who do lose a job spend longer periods out of work, and if they do find another job, it tends to pay less than the one they left. A new survey from the AARP sheds a lot of light on how older people react to sudden unemployment, what their new work looks like, and why.

Justice Dept. sues a university for firing a professor who switched gender

Source: Susan Svrluga, Washington Post

The U.S. Justice Department is suing an Oklahoma university, charging that school officials discriminated against a professor who changed gender during her time working there.

U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced in December that federal prohibitions against sex discrimination include protections based on gender identity.

Why Is it So Hard to Find Jobs for Disabled Workers?

Source: Olga Khazan, The Atlantic

"It's the greatest professional disappointment of my career," Bruce Growick told me recently without a trace of doubt in his voice. The former president of the International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals was referring to the Ticket to Work program, a 1999 outgrowth of Social Security Disability Insurance that was intended to funnel the nation's growing ranks of injured workers back into the workforce. In the 90s, Growick testified before the committees that would draft Ticket to Work and met with lawmakers to help shape it. Years before he became skeptical of its effectiveness, he was optimistic about what it might do for disabled individuals.

"Having a job is so much better than being paid to stay at home," he says. In his testimony, Growick said, "The role of government should be to assist and encourage persons with disabilities towards employment."

March 28, 2015

Experts: Sex bias case will embolden women despite verdict

Source: Sudhin Thanawala, AP

A long legal battle over accusations that a prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm demeaned women and held them to a different standard than their male colleagues became a flashpoint in the ongoing discussion about gender inequity at elite technology and venture capital firms.

Though Ellen Pao lost her lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Silicon Valley observers say her case and the attention it received will embolden women in the industry and continue to spur firms to examine their practices and cultures for gender bias.

March 27, 2015

As Job Rate Rises, Older Workers Are Often Left Behind

Source: Elizabeth Olsen, New York Times

THOMAS R. COLLINS, 66, a former sheriff's deputy, takes little comfort in the lower national unemployment rate because, like many older workers, he has had a long spell of joblessness since he retired in 2010.

A former lieutenant in the Cook County sheriff's department in Illinois, Mr. Collins receives a pension, which, he said, is a "nice cushion," but he needed to cover other expenses. He continued a part-time job in security for the retail clothing discounter Syms, in Niles, Ill., but the company went out of business the next year, in 2011, and the position disappeared.

Since then, he has been looking for a job as he worries about the future of his pension in light of the debate swirling in Illinois over how to offset its huge state budget shortfall. One proposal is to make serious cutbacks in the public employee pension system.

Mandatory sick leave moves forward in Capitol

Source: Hannah Hoffman, Statesman Journal

Nearly every Oregon employee could have at least 40 hours of paid sick leave in the near future if the Oregon Legislature succeeds in passing one of two bills currently under discussion in the Capitol
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives are considering bills that would mandate paid sick time for all employees who work in Oregon (with a few exceptions).
The Senate Committee on Workforce passed Senate Bill 454 on to the joint budget committee on Thursday afternoon; the House bill will be up for discussion again on Monday.

March 26, 2015

Walmart Would Really Rather Not Pay That $151M That Court Says It Owes Employees

Source: Chris Morran , Consumerist

For more nearly a decade, Walmart has been fighting to avoid paying $151 million in damages to more than 187,000 current and former employees in Pennsylvania for regularly compelling them to work without proper compensation. And even though the state's highest court recently affirmed that penalty, the retailer isn't ready to hand over that money just yet.

This case actually dates back to a class action filed in 2002, alleging that Walmart systematically and deliberately forced employees to work off the clock, through mandated break times, or through meal breaks.

March 25, 2015

Justices revive case claiming UPS discriminated against pregnant worker

Source: Robert Barnes and Brigid Schulte, Washington Post

The Supreme Court on Wednesday clarified the legal protections for pregnant workers who believe their employers have discriminated against them and revived the lawsuit of a former United Parcel Service worker who did not receive the accommodation she requested.

The court ruled 6 to 3 that Peggy Young, who worked for the company in Landover, Md., should get another chance to show that UPS was wrong to force her to take an unpaid leave rather than give her the lighter duty her doctor had said was appropriate.

Supreme Court Sides With Pregnant Workers

Source: Dave Jamieson, HuffingtonPost

In a victory for pregnant women in the workplace, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in favor of a worker who sued shipping giant UPS for pregnancy discrimination, sending her lawsuit back to a lower court where she had previously lost.
The case, Young v. United Parcel Service, hinged on whether or not UPS was justified in putting Peggy Young on unpaid leave after she became pregnant, even though other workers were commonly offered "light duty" for on-the-job injuries or to satisfy requirements under the American with Disabilities Act. The justices ruled 6-3 in favor of keeping Young's lawsuit alive, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito joining the traditionally liberal members of the court.

Yes, You Should Ask for a Raise

Source: Richard Trumka, US News

In 2015, nearly 5 million American workers might get a pay raise. By joining together to ask for one. Through a union.
Minimum wage hikes, overtime expansion, paid sick leave and other policy improvements are important to raise wages in America. But the best way for workers to get a raise is by asking for one with a collective voice. That's what workers do – bargain together in unions to improve our lives.
And this is an exceptional moment for raising wages through collective bargaining. More new contracts will be bargained by unions and employers in 2015 than at any other point in modern American labor history.

Justices say pregnant workers can seek accommodations

Source: Richard Wolf, USA Today

Pregnant workers can claim the same accommodations that employers grant to large numbers of similarly restricted workers, a divided Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

While indicating that getting pregnant isn't automatically a ticket to light duty at work, the court ruled 6-3 that United Parcel Service could not deny a pregnant worker accommodations it made available to large numbers of others.

March 24, 2015

America Needs Labor Unions

Source: Dale Hanson, HuffingtonPost

Speaker of the House John Boehner's website says, "Helping to build a stronger, healthier economy for all Americans is priority number one for House Republicans." Boehner also is one of a small but growing number of Republicans who admit that income inequality is a huge obstacle to reaching this goal. Unfortunately, Boehner has failed to offer any solutions to this problem beyond the standard "blame Obama" rhetoric.

Where Have All Our Wages Gone?

Source: Megan McArdle , BloombergView

Many theories have been advanced for why unions, and median wages, aren't growing very fast. Some say there's a causal link, which runs something like this: The Reagan administration gutted union protections, making it harder to organize workers. Without a powerful union to represent them, workers were at the mercy of greedy bosses who ruthlessly forced down their wage packets. What America needs, therefore, is a powerful labor movement, protected by more powerful laws that favor organizing of employees.

Wal-Mart wants U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Pa's. wage case

Source: Jane M. Von Bergen, Philly

Wal-Mart has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a December decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to approve a $151 million class-action award to employees in the state for unpaid wages and damages.
In 2006, a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury awarded Michelle Braun, a former employee, and nearly 188,000 other employees damages after some complained that the retail giant did not pay them when they worked off the clock or while they were supposed to be on breaks.
In its March 13 petition to the Supreme Court, Wal-Mart said the trial jury and Pennsylvania court decisions were wrong because the company had been subjected to "trial by formula," with a few plaintiffs' allegations applied to the whole group.

March 23, 2015

Credit card issuers shouldn't bully customers into arbitration clauses

Source: David Lazarus, LA Times

Credit card companies say you can't sue them and you can't join other customers in suing them, and if you don't like it, tough.

Federal regulators finally have reached the obvious conclusion: That's not fair.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released a study showing that so-called arbitration clauses in credit card service contracts frequently prevent consumers from having a grievance adequately addressed.

"These arbitration clauses restrict consumer relief in disputes with financial companies by limiting class actions that provide millions of dollars in redress each year," said Richard Cordray, director of the watchdog agency.

High court will hear DirecTV appeal over termination fees

Source: AP, Yahoo News

The Supreme Court will consider whether satellite provider DirecTV can cut off a class action lawsuit and force customers suing over early termination fees into private arbitration hearings instead.
The justices agreed Monday to hear an appeal from DirecTV, which says its customer agreements do not allow customers to band together to sue the company. The company argues that customers must use arbitration to resolve their claims one by one.

March 22, 2015

Sorry, but it's not a 'law of capitalism' that you pay people as little as possible - it's an excuse.

Source: Henry Blodget, Business Insider

The reason average consumers are strapped is that, for the past 35 years, we have increasingly told ourselves that the only thing companies are supposed to do is "maximize profit." We have forgotten that great companies can serve other constituencies in addition to shareholders - namely, customers and employees. We have come to treat employees not as dedicated, hard-working teammates who create value, but as "costs" to be minimized.
One result of this "profit maximization" obsession is that our big companies now have the highest profit margins as a percent of our economy in history.
Another result of it is that our big companies now pay the lowest wages in history as a percent of the economy.

Twitter Faces Gender Discrimination Lawsuit by Former Female Engineer

Source: Jack Linshi , Times

A former Twitter employee has sued the company for gender discrimination while two other high-profile sexism lawsuits unfold in Silicon Valley.

Software engineer Tina Huang claimed in a proposed class action lawsuit filed Thursday that Twitter's promotion process unfairly favors men, Reuters reports. Huang said the company has no formal procedures for granting promotions, and instead relies on a "shoulder tap" process that explains why few women are in high-level engineering positions.

March 21, 2015

Obama Says Workers Are Being 'Cheated' Out Of Overtime Pay

Source: Dave Jamieson, HuffingtonPost

President Barack Obama said his administration would soon release details of a highly anticipated reform to the nation's overtime rules, telling The Huffington Post on Friday that many Americans were being "cheated" out of time-and-a-half pay.
"What we've seen is, increasingly, companies skirting basic overtime laws, calling somebody a manager when they're stocking groceries and getting paid $30,000 a year," Obama said in a sit-down interview with HuffPost. "Those folks are being cheated."
A little over a year ago, Obama directed the Labor Department to revise rules that determine who's eligible for a pay premium when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Current rules, implemented by the George W. Bush administration, are ungenerous to workers, and Obama clearly wants to expand them.

Be ready to cover pay for home-care workers, states told.

Source: Ben Sutherly, The Columbus Dispatch

Federal Labor Secretary Thomas Perez sent Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other governors a letter yesterday warning them to make sure their upcoming budgets comply with a federal rule requiring minimum-wage and overtime pay for most home-care workers.
A federal judge invalidated much of the rule this year, but the federal government filed an appeal. A federal court decision is expected in a few months.
Kasich's budget proposal to phase out thousands of independent home-care providers was largely motivated by the state's potential liability for independent home-care workers' pay and benefits under the new rule. The proposal would phase out as many as 13,000 independent home-care providers - workers who are not employed by an agency and are authorized to bill Medicaid for the care they provide to their clients who are elderly, ill and/or disabled.

March 19, 2015

Supporters, Opponents Square Off On Raising RI's $2.89 Sub-Minimum Wage

Source: Ian Donnis, RI NPR

A new coalition held a Statehouse news conference Thursday to press for an increase in the state's $2.89 sub-minimum wage. Supporters call this a matter of fairness, since the sub-minimum wage hasn't changed in 20 years. But the restaurant industry says higher wages would lead to higher food prices.
Thirty-one-year-old Kate Conroy said still struggling to get by after 10 years as a bartender and restaurant server in Providence. Conroy said the $2.89 sub-minimum wage is a poverty wage, not a living wage. She told her story of living and working in Providence, while speaking in front of labor activists, liberal state reps, and other supporters.

It's illegal to prevent workers from talking about wages. T-Mobile did it anyway.

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

There's only one problem: the employee handbook, which covers some 40,000 employees across the country. As long as she's worked there, workers at the call center have been discouraged from discussing wages and working conditions, through provisions that bar things like disclosure of employee information, making disparaging statements about the company and pursuing wage complaints through anyone other than human resources. Employees can be disciplined or fired for violating any of the rules.
"Right now we're silent - not understanding that we could if we were altogether, we could make things different," said Figueroa, 28, back in December. "What if someone worked longer and is paid less than me? We're not allowed to talk about that."

Here's the liberal plan to save the middle class

Source: Jim Tankersley, Washington Post

The liberal wonks at the Economic Policy Institute are having a moment right now. They've been warning for years that middle-class wages were stagnating. Suddenly, as they put it in a new paper out today, "There is now widespread agreement across the political spectrum that wage stagnation is the country's key economic challenge." They've long called the decline in unionization the biggest factor in that stagnation; Democrats are increasingly embracing that argument.
Looking to seize that moment with the Democrats gearing up for 2016 – a list that absolutely starts with Hillary Clinton, the party's presidential frontrunner - the group is releasing a detailed breakdown of the policies it believes will prove effective for lifting wages, and which plans would fall flat.

March 18, 2015

Target to lift minimum wage to $9 an hour, matching rivals

Source: Nathan Layne, MSNBC

Target Chief Financial Officer John Mulligan told analysts earlier this month that it was "not reasonable" to think in terms of a national minimum rate. Paying only $9 an hour in New York City or the oil-crazed economy of North Dakota would not attract any workers, he said.
"Fixating on some single number to us, on an average number is unimportant. It's about being competitive locally at a store level within a marketplace. That is important, and we're going to be competitive," he said.
The Target wage raise, which was reported earlier by Dow Jones, will affect all 1,800 U.S. stores. The company already paid employees more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, and it was not clear how many employees' checks would be affected.

Wal-Mart wage hike hides deeper problem for US economy

Source: Daniel Wood, Christian Science Monitor

Starting in April, Wal-Mart will be giving Lisa Pietro a raise, thanks to the retailer's decision last month to increase minimum wages for 500,000 employees to $9 per hour – $1.75 more than the federal minimum wage.
It was a much-lauded move coming after protests and pressure. But for Ms. Pietro, it won't mean much.
That's partly because her $8.95-an-hour salary will go up only 5 cents. But ther's another, perhaps bigger reason, too: She simply doesn't work enough hours. What's more, the hours she does work are so erratic that she can't plan around them.

March 17, 2015

Forced arbitration: New study shows it's bad for consumers

Source: Scott Maurer, San Jose Mercury News

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) released a 728-page study on "forced arbitration" -- fine-print contract provisions that compel consumers buying everything from phones to cars to waive their right to sue in court if a dispute arises, even if the dispute involves fraud.

The study reveals that only one-fourth of consumers who sign such contracts realize they've given up their right to sue. It also shows a tiny number of consumers will ever use arbitration or small-claims court. The CFPB's next step should be to work to ban forced arbitration clauses from consumer contracts.

Novartis unit hit with $110 million gender discrimination suit

Source: Daniel Wiessner, Reuters

A $110 million lawsuit filed on Tuesday claims a U.S. division at Swiss drugmaker Novartis has routinely denied female employees equal pay and promotion opportunities, five years after the pharmaceutical giant was hit with a nine-figure jury verdict over similar claims.

The proposed class action filed in U.S. federal court in Manhattan says Texas-based Alcon Laboratories Inc, which was acquired by Novartis in 2010, maintains a "boy's club atmosphere" that is hostile to women and bars them from leadership positions.

Labor Groups Urge Nippon Sharyo To Keep Eye On Working Conditions.

Source: Jenna Dooley, Northern Public Radio

Nippon Sharyo's production milestone comes as several labor groups question safety standards at the Rochelle facility.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited the company for a serious violation stemming from a complaint filed in 2014. Susan Hurley, Executive Director of Chicago Jobs With Justice, says her group has been hearing concerns from workers over what she characterizes as "cutting corners" at the Rochelle plant. She says some workers say they face retaliation if they speak up.
"This is exactly the kind of industry and work that we want to have in our area, in our region, in the state of Illinois," Hurley said. "However, in exchange for the tax dollars that are being used to support the company and make sure that we keep those jobs here, we need to hold the company to a standard. That is not happening right now, and that is not okay."

March 16, 2015

OSHA looking at new eye protections for workers

Source: Tim Devaney, The Hill

Construction workers would be better protected from eye injuries under proposed standards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing to update its eye and face protection standards with new personal protective equipment requirements.

The changes would apply not only to construction workers who operate in hazardous workplace conditions but also to employees at shipyards and marine terminals and the longshoring and general industries.

No, the minimum wage isn't forcing these Seattle restaurants to close

Source: Michael Hiltzik, LA Times

David Watkins of the Lawyers, Guns & Money blog points out that the minimum wage opponents are declaring "We told you so" way too soon. In fact, the article that inspired the gloating doesn't ascribe any of the closings to the minimum wage increase and, indeed, points to different reasons in every case. As for the idea that Seattle restaurants are "closing in record number" (sic), as the Tea Party News Network proclaims, it's just not so.
Here's the rundown. Of the seven restaurants specifically mentioned in Seattle Magazine's March 4 post, one was reported by its owner to be located in the wrong neighborhood for its particular mix of bar space and atmosphere. Another is being offloaded by an owner who has three other restaurants in the city and is opening two more. (A neighboring restaurant is expanding into its space.) A third turned out to be too big for the clientele at its location. Three aren't closing at all, but are getting new chefs because their old boss is moving to Spain to join his partner.

McDonald's workers claim hazardous conditions in 19 U.S. cities

Source: Lisa Baertlein, Reuters

McDonald's Corp restaurant workers from 19 U.S. cities complained to regulators on Monday that their working conditions are hazardous and have led to severe burns from hot grills and fryer oil.

Workers taking part in the Service Employees International Union-backed "Fight for $15" an hour campaign opened a new front in their two-year drive to increase pay and improve conditions in the fast-food industry by filing 28 state and federal complaints over health and safety.

McDonald's workers, who already have claimed that they have been subjected to wage theft, racial discrimination and retaliation for attempting to unionize, hope to hold McDonald's Corp responsible for the actions of its franchisees.

Entergy ordered to pay $305,000 in overtime

Source: John Herrick , VTDigger

Entergy violated federal labor law when it neglected to pay four security guards for overtime hours worked at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, a federal judge ruled recently.

The Louisiana-based company that owns the shuttered nuclear power plant in Vernon was ordered to pay $305,329 for unpaid back wages since 2009 and liquidated damages, according to a March 6 judgment order.

The U.K. vs. the U.S. minimum-wage debate: What can we learn?

Source: Jared Bernstein, Washington Post

In a recent lecture at the London School of Economics, Prof. Alan Manning, a British economist who has done extensive research on the impact of the national minimum wage in the United Kingdom, said something that caught my ear. Manning was closely involved with the launch of the national minimum in 1999, and in reflecting on the debate at the time, he pointed out that once research about the positive impact of the minimum began to show that it raised low wages without leading to many job losses, "scare stories" about how the increase would kill "millions of jobs" lost credibility.

Virginia pushed into debate of teacher privacy vs. transparency for parents

Source: By Emma Brown and Moriah Balingit, Washington Post

A Loudoun County parent has sued state officials to force the release of evaluation data for thousands of teachers across Virginia, making it the latest in a series of states to grapple with whether such information should be made public.

The debate over the value of making teacher evaluation data public first exploded into view in 2010, when the Los Angeles Times published the names and value-added ratings of thousands of elementary school teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The ratings attempt to gauge the impact a teacher has on a student's academic progress, using English and math test scores and a student's expected growth to judge teaching performance. The move to expose the results drew immediate backlash from teachers and unions, who argued that the scores offered an incomplete and often misleading picture of teacher effectiveness.

March 11, 2015

Why salaries don't rise

Source: Harold Meyerson, Washington Post

Job creation is up. Unemployment is down. Wages are stagnant. And economists - well, some economists - are confused.

Tighter labor markets are supposed to give workers more bargaining power. To be sure, there are still millions of Americans who left the workforce during the recession and have yet to return; employers' knowledge of their absence is probably holding wages down. But at the rate that new jobs are now popping up, we should, by all conventional metrics, be seeing at least some increase in Americans' take-home pay.

March 6, 2015

Bill Proposes Boosting Minimum Wage For Tipped Workers

Source: Mara Lee , Hartford Courant

Activists speaking for about 34,000 waiters, waitresses and bartenders in Connecticut say it's time to stop having a two-tiered minimum wage, for tipped workers and for everyone else.
"The women who put food on your tables can't afford to put food on their own tables!" thundered Saru Jayaraman, a New York-based activist speaking at a Thursday press conference called by activists. Jayaraman founded Restaurant Opportunities Centers in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and ROC United now has chapters around the country.
She said some people think waiters and waitresses make good money, but that's because they're thinking about pricey white-tablecloth restaurants.

Why Retailers Are Suddenly Desperate to Keep Their Least-Valuable Workers

Source: Kyle Stock and Kim Bhasin, Bloomberg Business

A modest bidding war has broken out among the retailers who hire from the bottom of the labor pool, buoyed in part by improving sales. Wal-Mart moved to raise the pay for its lowest-level workers to at least $9 an hour, a decision quickly matched by TJX, the parent company of TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Gap, Starbucks, and IKEA had already joined the growing list of service sectors now committed to higher starting wages, with tens of thousands of low-paid workers affected by recent changes.
These rising wages are sure to be costly for employers: Walmart, for example, warned that its mass raise would chew up an additional $1 billion a year, a figure that spooked investors and drove down the company's share price. From a labor-market perspective, meanwhile, the U.S. economy would still appear to have plenty of would-be cashiers and clerks sitting on the sidelines. The 5.7 percent jobless rate rose slightly last month because more idle workers started looking for jobs.

March 5, 2015

Papa John's franchisee ordered to pay New York City workers more than $2 million

Source: Stephen Rex Brown , NY Daily News

A Papa John's franchisee must pay hundreds of pizza delivery workers over $2 million, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Joan Kenney ruled this week.
Ronald Johnson, who owns five uptown Papa John's, didn't pay workers fractions of hours, overtime or reimburse workers for costs associated with delivery bicycles, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Thursday.
Luis Juarez, who worked at one of the Papa John's at 142nd St. and Broadway, said he was paid $5 an hour as a deliveryman but ordered to do all manner of work, from making pizzas to packing up food.

March 4, 2015

The workers' compensation system is broken - and it's driving people into poverty

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

There's a good news/bad news situation for occupational injuries in the United States: Fewer people are getting hurt on the job. But those who do are getting less help.
That's according to a couple of important new reports out Wednesday on how the system for cleaning up workplace accidents is broken -- both because of the changing circumstances of the people who are getting injured, and the disintegration of programs that are supposed to pay for them.
The first comes from the Department of Labor, which aims to tie the 3 million workplace injuries reported per year -- the number is actually much higher, because many workers fear raising the issue with their employers -- into the ongoing national conversation about inequality. In an overview of research on the topic, the agency finds that low-wage workers (especially Latinos) have disproportionately high injury rates, and that injuries can slice 15 percent off a person's earnings over 10 years after the accident.

Workplace Injuries Are Adding To Income Inequality: Labor Department

Source: Dave Jamieson, HuffingtonPost

In a new report issued Wednesday, Labor Department officials argue that workplace injuries and illnesses, coupled with an inadequate worker compensation system, are contributing to the gap between rich and poor in the U.S.
According to the Labor Department, roughly 4 million serious injuries and illnesses are reported by employers each year, though the true tally is likely much higher. Workers who suffer a serious injury earn an estimated 15 percent less, or $31,000 on average, over the ensuing decade.

Workplace Injuries Are Adding To Income Inequality: Labor Department

Source: Dave Jamieson, HuffingtonPost

In a new report issued Wednesday, Labor Department officials argue that workplace injuries and illnesses, coupled with an inadequate worker compensation system, are contributing to the gap between rich and poor in the U.S.
According to the Labor Department, roughly 4 million serious injuries and illnesses are reported by employers each year, though the true tally is likely much higher. Workers who suffer a serious injury earn an estimated 15 percent less, or $31,000 on average, over the ensuing decade.

March 3, 2015

Why it's nearly impossible for you to sue your credit card company

Source: Jonnelle Marte, Washington Post

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is expected to issue a major report next week on what consumer advocates say is one of the leading but most misunderstood ways that companies limit a customer's rights, people familiar with the matter said.
The practice is called "mandatory arbitration," which bars consumers from filing class action lawsuits or taking other steps to seek relief after they feel a company has wronged them. Such arbitration clauses are often found in the fine print of credit cards, payday loans and auto loans.
Consumers instead are steered into arbitration, which critics say is a secretive process that is often stacked in the company's favor and leads to little benefit for consumers. "The unfairness here is incredibly widespread," says David Seligman, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center.

Laws that decimate unions may be inevitable. Here's how labor can survive.

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

It will also be a symbolic threshold: Wisconsin would be the 25th state to go right-to-work, putting fully half the country under laws that allow employees to opt out of paying dues, even though the union has the obligation to represent everyone in their workplace.

As more and more workers benefit from a collective bargaining without paying for its upkeep, unions have become weaker, which lessens the incentive to join. The resulting tailspin, writ large, has been primarily responsible for the massive decline in unionization over the past half-century - making the struggle to stave off right-to-work laws a fight for union survival.

Perception is not reality: Public Employees and "Perceived Speech"

Source: Chris Opfer, Bloomberg BNA

Courts have long held that the First Amendment protects most rank-and-file public employees from being demoted or fired because they speak out in favor of a political party or candidate.

However, are you protected against being fired from a government job because your supervisor mistakenly believes that you support a political candidate? As a New Jersey police officer found out recently, the answer is apparently "no."

Apple to hire own security and put them on payroll

Source: Mike Snider, USA Today

Apple plans to bring many of its security staff onto the payroll, another move that suggests Silicon Valley aims to address issues of inequality.

After a year-long review, the company says it will be hiring full-time employees to handle security at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. "We've decided to directly hire a number of key onsite security roles for Apple's Silicon Valley operations, which are currently contract positions," said Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet in a statement.

March 2, 2015

What's Behind Restaurant Workers' Faster-Rising Paychecks?

Source: Eric Morath and Jeffrey Sparshott, The Wall Street Journal

Restaurant workers received bigger raises last year than workers in most other jobs.

Is that because the minimum wage has increased in recent years in two dozen states? Or because Americans are eating out more, causing restaurant owners to bump up pay for burger flippers, waitresses and dishwashers?

The reality is some of both.

Restaurants have hired at a faster pace than the typical company since the middle of 2010. Food workers' hourly pay grew 3.1% last year after growing less than 2% a year for several years. That could show there's a bigger need for restaurant workers than people willing to take those jobs for minimum-wage pay.

Apple-Google $415 Million No-Poaching Accord Wins Approval

Source: Joel Rosenblatt, Bloomberg Buisness

Apple Inc. and Google Inc. won preliminary court approval of a $415 million antitrust settlement that would end a four-year battle over claims that they and other companies conspired to avoid hiring from each other.
The ruling brings to a quiet end a case which since 2011 produced dozens of controversial internal e-mails detailing anticompetitive agreements among the companies -- and drew the ire of U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, who derided and rejected an earlier $324.5 million proposal to resolve the lawsuit as insufficient.

Right to work for less: Gov. Scott Walker wants to lower worker pay in Wisconsin

Source: Jared Bernstein, Washington Post

Here's what the (right to work) legislation does: It makes it illegal for unions to negotiate contracts wherein everyone covered by that contract has to contribute to its negotiation and enforcement.
Let's be very clear about this: RTW does not confer some new right or privilege on those in states that adopt it. It takes away an existing right: the ability of unions to require the beneficiaries of union contracts to pay for their negotiation and enforcement. In anything, the law creates a right to freeload - to reap the significant benefits of union bargaining without paying for them.

March 1, 2015

Oakland's minimum wage gets big hike starting Monday

Source: Bay City News, ABC 7 News

Low-wage workers in Oakland are getting a raise starting on Monday. The current $9 an hour minimum wage will increase nearly 36 percent to $12.25 an hour. It will be the highest minimum wage in the Bay Area.

While workers applaud the move, some businesses and restaurants say the increase will force them to raise prices, hire fewer workers, or give their employees fewer hours.

Jail exploits detainees, lawsuit says

Source: Maria Sacchetti, The Boston Globe

An immigrant detainee has filed a class-action lawsuit against the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department, saying it pays hundreds of detainees only $1 a day to mop floors, scrub toilets, and perform other janitorial duties at the Boston jail. His lawyers are seeking an estimated $4 million in unpaid wages over the last six years.
Lawyers for Anthony Whyte, a 40-year-old detainee fighting deportation to Jamaica, said he should be paid at least the state minimum wage, $9 an hour, because he is in custody for alleged civil violations and not crimes. He voluntarily works in the jail's immigration unit.

February 27, 2015

Why Wal-Mart decided to finally pay its workers more

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

Most importantly, a Wal-Mart executive tells Wonkblog, the company is planning to ask more of its employees, in a sign that Wal-Mart's low prices are no longer enough to stay ahead.
"With the changing retail landscape, with the different options that customers have, competition on prices is tougher than we've seen it in a long time, and with that comes an increased premium on experience in the store," says Dan Bartlett, the company's executive vice president of corporate affairs. "We felt like if we're going to make structural changes in all of our stores, we needed to link some of those expectations to a clear sign of what the compensation would be."

February 26, 2015

Teachers union rally in downtown L.A. draws thousands in call for contract demands

Source: Zahira Torres, Los Angeles Times

"Class size is the main reason I'm here," Blazer said. "If you have 54 minutes of class time and you have 45 students that means each student is getting less than two minutes of attention. No matter how good of a teacher you are, you're always going to lose the group."

Blazer, like many other educators who filled Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles, said that he is not financially prepared to strike but that he would if the Los Angeles Unified School District does not reach an agreement with the teachers union to reduce class sizes, raise teacher pay and develop a new system for evaluating teachers.

At L.A. oil refinery, striking workers vent about long hours and stress

Source: Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times

Worker fatigue and safety are key sticking points in the weeks-long strike, according to Zalamea and other members of the United Steelworkers union. They cite low staffing levels, long hours and hiring policies that allow too many contractors unfamiliar with the plant.
More than 6,500 employees nationwide - about 800 of them in Carson - walked out this month after a three-year contract covering 30,000 workers expired. So far, the union has rejected seven proposals. The last strike of such magnitude, in 1980, lasted as long as five months at some refineries.

One Overlooked Reason Walmart Gave Workers Raises

Source: Emily Peck, HuffingtonPost

Indeed, for every $1 increase in total payroll, a store could see anywhere from $4 to $28 boost in monthly sales, according to a study of understaffing published in 2007 by Wharton professor Marshall Fisher, along with then Wharton professor Serguei Netessine and doctoral student Jayanth Krishnan.

Walmart desperately needs the lift. Even this economic recovery hasn't really helped the chain. Walmart's same-store sales, a key measure of a retailer's health, declined 0.5 percent in 2014 from the prior year, marking the third year of decline since 2010.

The Real Meaning of $9 an Hour

Source: Rana Foroohar, Times

Walmart's move is seen by some as a sea change for the retail sector. "Walmart sets the standard, and the fact that they've kept wages so low has made it hard for others to raise them," explains Isabel Sawhill, co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution. Now it's likely that pay for other low-income workers will rise, not just in retail but also in other sectors like home health care, child care and fast food, all of which compete for the same workers as Walmart.

Workers Centers: Organizing the 'Unorganizable'

Source: Justin Miller, The American Prospect

But it's not Target that hasn't given her a raise-in this case it is Carlson Building Maintenance, a company contracted by Target to clean a number of its stores in Minnesota. Over the years, contracting out janitorial services has become common practice for big box retail companies like Target, Home Depot, Walmart, and Sears. By hiring companies like Carlson, Diversified Maintenance, and Kimco Services that pay low wages to their cleaners, these high-profile retailers maintain a degree of separation.
Four years ago, the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (Center for Workers United in Struggle)-CTUL for short-started a campaign centered on organizing the Twin Cities retail cleaners, an industry made up largely of immigrant workers who often told stories of wage theft and poor working conditions.

February 25, 2015

Supreme Court seems to side with Muslim woman in discrimination case

Source: Robert Barnes, Washington Post

The Supreme Court seemed inclined Wednesday to agree with a Muslim woman who charged that retailer Abercrombie & Fitch violated anti­discrimination laws when it denied her a job because her head scarf conflicted with the company's dress code.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took up the case of Samantha Elauf, who was denied a job at one of the chain's stores in Tulsa. Elauf, then 17, had worn a head scarf, or hijab, since she was 13.
At issue in the case was whether Elauf needed to explicitly volunteer during her interview that she wore the head scarf for religious reasons. Abercrombie said this action was necessary to trigger a federal law that prevents religious discrimination in hiring and requires employers to either offer an accommodation or say why it would impose a substantial burden.

Why the Gap Between Worker Pay and Productivity Is So Problematic

Source: Gillian B. White, The Atlantic

Wage stagnation isn't just a problem borne of the financial crisis. When you look at the relationship between worker wages and worker productivity, there's a significant and, many believe, problematic, gap that has arisen in the past several decades. Though productivity (defined as the output of goods and services per hours worked) grew by about 74 percent between 1973 and 2013, compensation for workers grew at a much slower rate of only 9 percent during the same time period, according to data from the Economic Policy Institute.

February 24, 2015

Minimum Wage for New York City's Tipped Workers Will Increase to $7.50

Source: Patrick McGeehan, New York Times

Continuing to push for higher wages for the state's lowest-paid workers, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Tuesday that all of the waiters, waitresses and others who work for tips in New York City will soon get a raise of their minimum wage to $7.50 an hour.
The increase was ordered by the acting labor commissioner, Mario J. Musolino, and will go into effect at the end of the year. It will consolidate three categories of tipped workers - whose minimum hourly wages range from $4.90 to $5.65 - into a single class to be paid at least $7.50 an hour.

Elder scare: Low pay afflicts America's fastest-growing job

Source: Kate Gibson, CBS News

The fastest-growing occupation in the U.S. is also among the lowest paid.
The aging of America's baby boomers has led to a surge in demand for home care workers to look after the nation's elderly, as well as the disabled and chronically ill. The work is as essential as it is poorly paid. Home health aides do everything from checking a client's vital signs and administering medications to looking after people's dietary needs and even operating life-sustaining equipment, such as ventilators.

February 23, 2015

50 Years Of Shrinking Union Membership, In One Map

Source: Quoctrung Bui, NPR

Fifty years ago, nearly a third of U.S. workers belonged to a union. Today, it's one in 10. But the decline has not been the same for every state. Here is a map showing how union membership has changed across the country.

Home care workers rally for higher wages

Source: Paul Davidson, USA Today

Home care workers are joining a nationwide movement to raise the wages of low-paid Americans with meetings and rallies in more than 20 cities the next two weeks.
The campaign, which kicks off Monday in Carson City, Nev., was inspired by fast food and retail worker protests the past two years that helped spark minimum wage hikes in many states and prompted Walmart to boost its pay floor last week. Home care aides joined some of those rallies, but this is their first independent push.

February 22, 2015

In Walmart pay hike, biz groups find new ammo to fight federal mandate

Source: Lydia Wheeler, The Hill

Business interests view Wal-Mart's newly pledged pay raise as new ammunition in the fight against an increase in the federal minimum wage.
Earlier this week, the discount retail giant announced it would raise its starting wage to $9 an hour - $1.75 above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 - in its U.S. stores by April.
The move won accolades from the White House and other proponents of higher wages for hourly workers.
But business groups are also pouncing on the action, saying it is evidence that decisions about employee wages are best left to the private sector - not the federal government.

February 21, 2015

In Service Sector, No Rest for the Working

Source: Steven Greenhouse, New York Times

Employees are literally losing sleep as restaurants, retailers and many other businesses shrink the intervals between shifts and rely on smaller, leaner staffs to shave costs. These scheduling practices can take a toll on employees who have to squeeze commuting, family duties and sleep into fewer hours between shifts. The growing practice of the same workers closing the doors at night and returning to open them in the morning even has its own name: "clopening."

Local activists say Wal-Mart wage increases a step in the right direction toward a living wage for all

Source: Chris Lindahl, Daily Hampshire Gazette

Shoppers at the North King Street Wal-Mart lauded the national chain's decision to raise entry-level wages to $9 an hour, while local labor activists contended it's only a step toward paying a living wage for the majority of workers.
"We've been in the thick of the struggle to get Wal-Mart to do something like this, so we're extremely pleased when we seem to succeed," Jon Weissman, coordinator of Western Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, said Saturday. In recent years, the Springfield-based labor activist group and others have organized demonstrations at Wal-Mart locations to protest the company's low wages, which they argue forces many to rely on government assistance to supplement their earnings.

February 20, 2015

Legally Married, but Their Boss Disagrees

Source: Olga Khazan, The Atlantic

Fifteen states have no law requiring insurance coverage for same-sex partners, and in those states, businesses can choose not to offer same-sex spousal health coverage. Massachusetts is not one of those states, however: According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in the 37 states with legal gay marriage, "employees' same-sex spouses should have the same eligibility as opposite-sex spouses for dependent health coverage." The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that states that recognize same-sex marriage must also treat gay spouses the same as straight spouses when it comes to federal benefits and taxes.

Wal-Mart May Be Cheap, but It Would Rather Give Up Money Than Power

Source: Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg

Wal-Mart Stores, the world's largest private employer, on Wednesday morning announced plans to start paying all U.S. employees at least $9 an hour. Current employees will make $10 an hour by next year, as will new employees who complete a six-month training course. For a company that's long been praised for low prices and slammed for low wages, that's a dramatic change.
It didn't come out of nowhere. Over the past three years, Walmart has faced a wave of union-backed attacks-legal, political, media, and consumer pressure anchored by the first coordinated U.S. store walkouts in the company's five-decade history.

U.S. Oil Workers Reject Shell's Contract Offer Prolonging Strike

Source: Lynn Doan and Barbara Powell, Bloomberg

The United Steelworkers, representing more than 30,000 U.S. oil workers, instructed members to reject a seventh labor contract offered by Royal Dutch Shell Plc as the biggest refinery strike since 1980 dragged on.
The proposal, the first one made by Shell since Feb. 5 on behalf of companies including Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp., "fails to improve safety" in an enforceable way, the USW said in a text message, instructing local units to prepare to join the strike "if called upon." Ray Fisher, a spokesman for The Hague, Netherlands-based Shell, said the company had no comment beyond saying the two sides met.

February 19, 2015

What Wal-Mart's Pay Raise May Mean For Other Workers

Source: Eric Morath, The Wall Street Journal

The pledge by the nation's largest private employer to hand raises to 500,000 workers amps up pressure on other low-wage employers that are already seeing labor costs climb in a tightening labor market.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Thursday pledged to raise pay for its U.S. employees to at least $9 an hour this year, and to $10 an hour by Feb. 1, 2016. The move could have a ripple effect on retailers, restaurants and other businesses that pay near the minimum wage.

February 18, 2015

Walmart Pitched Minimum Wage Hike As Boon To Its Workers.

Source: Dave Jamieson, HuffingtonPost

Last year, the worker group OUR Walmart began circulating petitions in Walmart stores calling for a $15 minimum wage and consistent, full-time hours for store employees. The petitions preceded the third consecutive year of Black Friday strikes at the world's largest retailer.
Management at one store in Massachusetts had a carefully crafted response to those petitions, according to a document provided to The Huffington Post. Described as "talking points" to be delivered at worker meetings last fall, the remarks appear meant to allay any concerns about pay and scheduling.

Hanford tank farm workers say not enough done to protect, help them

Source: Annette Cary, Tri-City Herald

Some of the approximately 75 Hanford workers and others who gathered Wednesday night at a meeting at the Local 598 union hall in Pasco are already experiencing health problems, said Pete Nicacio, business manager for the United Association of Steamfitters and Plumbers, Local 598.
And it's too soon to say what health problems may lie in the future for workers exposed in the last two years to chemical vapors from Hanford waste held in underground tanks, he said.

4 reasons Walmart is the most-hated retailer in America

Source: Catey Hill, Market Watch

According to a survey of more than 8,700 people released Wednesday by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Americans overall satisfaction with retail stores fell 1.4% in 2014, after three years of steady improvements - in part due to rising prices. And some stores (ahem, Walmart, which just scored its worst customer satisfaction rating since 2007, securing the bottom spot on ACSI's retail customer service ranking) fare worse than others.

February 17, 2015

Female domestic workers emerge from the shadows to fight abusive employers

Source: Ai-jen Poo, The Guardian

When I first started working with domestic workers in New York City in 1998, many women I encountered were Filipina who had first worked in Hong Kong, then come to the US with their employers. They described Hong Kong as the "city of modern slavery", but also as home to a vibrant movement of domestic workers organising for their rights and dignity. It was a striking duality.
The recent case involving Indonesian domestic worker Erwiana Sulystyaningsih – whose former employer was found guilty on 10 February of a series of charges against her – reflects both realities. The abuses she suffered – beaten, starved, sleep deprived – sound like brutality from another era. And yet, Hong Kong domestic worker advocates say this type of violence is rising.

General Mills sees 'no merit' in age discrimination lawsuit

Source: Kacey Culliney, FoodNavigator

General Mills has been sued by a number of former employees over alleged age discrimination, but the cereal giant says the claims have no merit.
14 workers for the company between the ages of 42-65 have filed a lawsuit against General Mills.

February 16, 2015

Schnurman: RadioShack the latest case of workers getting squeezed when money's short.

Source: Mitchell Schnurman, Dallas News

When companies say they put workers first, there should be a caveat: "If we have the cash."
Latest case in point is RadioShack, the bankrupt retailer now shorting employees on severance pay. As if losing their job weren't bad enough.
Instead of getting 15 weeks of pay or 30 weeks or even nine months - the type of generous walk-away awards in place late last year - most employees are looking at a few weeks of severance, at best.

February 13, 2015

Why oil refinery workers are striking for the first time in decades

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

Jim Savage, the leader of United Steelworkers Local 10-1 at an oil refinery on the south side of Philadelphia, hasn't walked out yet. But he's ready: Nine plants across the country have been on strike since Feb. 1 in the first nationwide oil worker strike since 1980. And if contract negotiations between the union and oil industry negotiators don't wrap up soon, he might be called up, as well.

Social Medua: The New Big Tool For Union Organizing?

Source: William Welkowitz, Bloomberg BNA

Quick mass organizing through social media has become synonymous with the term "flash mob," so could "flash union organizing" by labor unions be the next logical step? In recent years, social media has become not only a forum to express aspects of a person's personal life, but also to communicate about workplace issues. As such, social media is becoming a more popular means for unions to get their message across to workers in their efforts to organize non-union workplaces.

February 12, 2015

Like Yelp For Labor Rights: This App Rates How Restaurants Treat Workers

Source: Poncie Rutsch , NPR

Restaurant servers are three times more likely to receive below-poverty-line pay than the rest of the U.S. workforce. Yet in a world where shoppers fret over cage-free eggs and organic vegetables, how many are also asking how much their favorite restaurant pays its staff?
An app from Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an organization of restaurant workers, employers and customers, aims to encourage diners to ask those kinds of questions about the welfare of industry workers. Think of it as a kind of Yelp for labor rights.

Assembly Dems Propose Minimum Wage Boost To $10.10

Source: Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio

Assembly Democrats are backing an agenda that would raise Wisconsin's minimum wage and increase tax credits for low-income families.
Among the bills pushed by state Dems is one that would index the Homestead Tax Credit for low-income families to the rate of inflation and another that would restore cuts to the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income workers. A third would enact a $10.10 minimum wage.
Assistant Democratic Minority Leader Katrina Shankland said they're all aimed at helping families get ahead.

EEOC says Seasons 52 won't hire employees age 40 or older.

Source: Kyle Arnold, Orlando Sentinel

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said the restaurant chain "has been discriminating against a class of applicants … by failing to hire them because of their age (40 years and older) when opening new restaurants.
"Unsuccessful applicants across the nation were given varying explanations for their failure to be hired, including 'too experienced,' the restaurant's desire for a youthful image, looking for 'fresh' employees and telling applicants that Seasons 52 'wasn't looking for old white guys,''' according to a statement from the EEOC.

February 11, 2015

Minnesota unions seeking crackdown on employers who withhold worker pay, skirt overtime laws

Source: Associated Press, Star Tribune

Minnesota's leading labor unions are pushing for stiffer penalties against employers caught improperly withholding worker pay or skirting overtime requirements.
The Minnesota AFL-CIO and some union partners outlined an array of law changes Wednesday that they say would give employees more recourse. Advocates say the proposal being introduced soon at the Capitol would increase penalties on employers found to have violated pay laws and enable affected employees to recoup three times their lost wages.

Would Stronger Unions Help the Middle Class?

Source: Allison Schrager, Bloomberg

Economists Emin Dinlersoz, of the Census Bureau, and Jeremy Greenwood, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, believe weaker unions are a symptom of today's polarized economy, not a cause. They argue that, as high-productivity unionized industries such as manufacturing replaced people with machines, low-skilled union workers became less valuable, particularly in relation to better-educated employees. Unions work by equalizing wages across different types of workers. But once higher-skill workers became more valuable, they had less incentive to unionize with their less-skilled colleagues. The model fell apart.

The Supreme Court's class action underachiever

Source: Alison Frankel, Reuters

On Tuesday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that former employees of several Applebee's restaurants in upstate New York are not barred from suing as a group over supposedly unpaid wages, even though the lost wages will eventually have to be assessed individually. The appeals court rejected the restaurant owner's arguments that under the U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 decision in a case called Comcast v. Behrend, plaintiffs cannot be certified to sue as a class unless they can offer a model for measuring damages that applies to everyone in the group.

February 10, 2015

A Better Way to Help the Long-Term Unemployed

Source: Alana Semuels, The Atlantic

LAS VEGAS-Long-term unemployment was a phrase you heard a lot about during the recession. Numerous studies showed that people who were out of work for long periods of time had a hard time finding a new job-and keeping it. And about one-third of those unemployed workers eventually gave up and stopped looking for work, studies suggested.
For all the recent good news about the booming job market and growing wages, there are still people out there desperately looking for work. Nearly 3 million of them-about one-third of all of the jobless-have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In past recessions, a far smaller share of the jobless had been out of work for so long.

Sara Lee discriminated against black employees, attorneys say.

Source: Alejandra Cancino, Chicago Tribune

Sara Lee discriminated against black employees by disproportionately assigning them to work in hazardous areas of a baking facility in Paris, Texas, attorneys representing the workers said Monday .
Workers were exposed to asbestos, mold and other toxins at the bakery, the attorneys said.
A settlement is being discussed. If one is not reached, the EEOC could file a lawsuit against Chicago-based Sara Lee.

Edison's plans to cut jobs, hire foreign workers is assailed

Source: Shan Li and Matt Morrison, Los Angeles Times

Southern California Edison's plans to lay off hundreds of employees and hire foreign workers instead is coming under attack from lawmakers in Congress and local unions.

On Tuesday, more than 300 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers rallied in Irvine in support of their fellow Edison employees and protested what they say are unfair labor practices.

For Some Who Are Back At Work, Positive Jobs Report Doesn't Tell The Full Story

Source: Arthur Delaney , HuffingtonPost

Every weeknight Bridget Krueger and her husband catch up with an 8 p.m. phone call because his new job is far away and he works long hours, so he has to spend the night in a hotel.
"It's almost like being a single parent during the week," Krueger, 46, said in an interview. But it's better now than it was before, when her husband, Brian, was out of work. "Sometimes you have to do what you have to do."

February 9, 2015

Celebrating a Labor Legend During Black History Month

Source: Thomas E. Perez, HuffingtonPost

During Black History Month, I'm reminded yet again of the ways that the struggle for civil rights is interwoven with the struggle for workers' rights. Perhaps no one better personifies that link than A. Philip Randolph, the first African-American inducted into the Labor Department's Hall of Honor. A native Floridian, Randolph moved to New York City as a young man with dreams of becoming an actor. But he would soon be drawn to social justice and union activism. In 1925, he organized rail workers to establish the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, which he would go on to lead for more than four decades. Facing the longest possible odds and fierce resistance from the Pullman Co., which harassed the workers and attacked Randolph's character, the union succeeded after a dozen years in bringing management to the table to negotiate a contract.

Los Angeles Residents Divided Over Proposed $15 Minimum Wage

Source: Kirk Siegler, NPR

Los Angeles is considering raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour, from $9 currently. The dramatic proposal is causing excitement and some anxiety.
San Francisco and Seattle have already passed a $15 minimum wage (they'll rise to that level over the next few years), but what's different in LA is the number of working poor in this huge city.
There are an estimated 800,000 people in Los Angeles living below the federal poverty line, and more than 500,000 workers earning the minimum wage. One of them is Samuel Homer.

Republican-Controlled Congress to Vote to Repeal NLRB Rule

Source: David Espo, ABC

Congressional Republicans launched a drive Monday to repeal a recent National Labor Relations Board rule updating procedures for union representation elections, setting up a likely veto showdown with President Barack Obama.
Alexander said that by shortening the time between a union's request for representation and the actual balloting, the NLRB had cleared the way for a new type of "ambush election" to take place that will disadvantage businesses and workers alike.
The rule, which has been cheered by organized labor, eliminates a previous 25-day waiting period and seeks to reduce litigation that can be used to stall elections. It also requires employers to furnish union organizers with email addresses and phone numbers of workers.

February 6, 2015

Where Did All the Retail Jobs Go?

Source: Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

When it comes to the business of stocking stuff in rooms with roofs, this has been a nightmare week. Three decades after selling its first personal laptop in 1983, Radio Shack is finally done. The company announced it is filing for bankruptcy just hours after Staples announced its intention to buy the beleaguered Office Depot, which itself merged with OfficeMax. The office-supply chain business is wilting, just as the electronics triumvirate of Circuit City, Radio Shack, and Best Buy has been reduced to one.

Adjunct professors get poverty-level wages. Should their pay quintuple?

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

It's been true for a long time now that academia - or at least the part of it that teaches students - relies heavily on the labor of adjunct faculty. As the number of tenured professors has fallen, universities have filled more than half of their schedules with teachers who work on contract. And no wonder: They'll work for less than half what a full-time professor makes, at a median wage of just $2,700 per course, with scant benefits, if any.

Amid Gains in Jobs and Pay, Americans Rejoin the Work Force

Source: Nelson D. Schwartz, New York Times

Since Nov. 1, employers have hired more than one million new workers, the best performance over a three-month period since 1997. More jobs were created in 2014 as a whole than in any year since 1999.
"This is the best employment report we've had in a long time," said Guy Berger, United States economist at RBS. "The labor market looks like it's in really good shape as we head into 2015."

Workers ready, employers brace for Seattle's minimum-wage law

Source: Janet I. Tu, SeattleTimes

But even as workers are eagerly anticipating the wage bump, some employers are uncertain about how to proceed. They wonder, for instance, how tips factor into the formula for calculating what they have to pay, and whether increasing the pay for their minimum-wage workers in Seattle might have ripple effects such as other workers in the company expecting raises as well.
To clarify some of the confusion, the city is working out rules for areas where the ordinance isn't clear, such as whether the payment rate for temp workers is determined by the size of their staffing agency or the contracting employer. It's also ramping up its outreach efforts.

February 5, 2015

Fast food companies are invoking 'Main Street' to fight unions

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

Over the past few months, a quiet fight has been brewing on Capitol hill that could determine the future of labor organizing in America.
At the center of it is McDonald's. In December, the National Labor Relations Board found the company controls almost all aspects of its franchisees' operations. The board is now reconsidering what level of control would make a company into a "joint employer" -- companies that, from a legal perspective, have enough influence over working conditions that employees should be able to bargain with it directly. If McDonald's qualifies, legal experts say it could lead to mass unionization at McDonald's.

Teachers union sues over use of scores in evaluations

Source: Melanie Balakit, The Tennessean

Tennessee's largest teachers union filed a lawsuit against the governor and state education commissioner Thursday challenging the use of state assessment scores in certain teacher evaluations.

The Tennessee Education Association says the state's teacher evaluation system, which incorporates yearly gains in state test scores, is unfair to teachers who teach non-state-tested subjects such as art.

February 4, 2015

Hospitals Fail To Protect Nursing Staff From Becoming Patients

Source: Daniel Zwerdling, NPR

According to surveys by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are more than 35,000 back and other injuries among nursing employees every year, severe enough that they have to miss work.
Nursing assistants and orderlies each suffer roughly three times the rate of back and other musculoskeletal injuries as construction laborers.
In terms of sheer number of these injuries, BLS data show that nursing assistants are injured more than any other occupation, followed by warehouse workers, truckers, stock clerks and registered nurses.

Working during FMLA leave can violate statute

Source: Sharon B. Bauman, Alan M. Brunswick, Esra Acikalin Hudson, Sandra R. King, Stanley W. Levy and Mandana Massoumi , Lexology

Where are the boundaries for contact with an employee on leave pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? Acknowledging that no bright-line rule exists regarding employee contact during FMLA leave, a federal court judge in Texas ruled that an employee who alleged she was required to work while on leave sufficiently alleged a violation of the statute. The employee claimed that during her leave, her supervisor required her to perform 20 to 40 hours of work. When she returned to work, she resigned and filed a suit alleging FMLA interference, among other claims.

Walmart Cut My Hours, I Protested, and They Fired Me

Source: Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones

Today, the union-backed Our Walmart campaign will hold demonstrations across the country calling on Walmart managers to reverse disciplinary actions against 35 workers in nine states who participated in Black Friday protests against the retailer. Our Walmart will also add claims of illegal retaliation against the workers to those filed with the National Labor Relations Board in October on behalf of 33 other Walmart workers. One of the workers being added to the case is 26-year-old Kiana Howard of Sacramento, California. This is her story, edited for length and clarity, as told to Mother Jones:

February 3, 2015

Workers who earn tips are the next focus of minimum wage campaign

Source: Martha Stoddard, Omaha

LINCOLN - The minimum wage hike approved by Nebraska voters last fall did nothing for Lincoln cabdriver Stephanie Barth.
Her employer pays commission on her fares, up to $5 an hour. Any other income has to come from tips.
That's because federal and state laws set a different minimum wage for workers who earn tips, and that minimum has remained the same since 1991.
On Monday, State Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha urged members of the Legislature's Business and Labor Committee to change that situation.

February 2, 2015

Paid family and medical leave proposed by lawmaker

Source: Deborah Baker, Albuquerque Journal

An Albuquerque state senator is proposing that New Mexico adopt a Family and Medical Leave Act that would provide paid leave for workers who must take time off to care for themselves or their family members.
It's similar to the federal law, but the leave provided under federal law is unpaid.
"It's really up to the states to drive the reform forward," said Sen. Jacob Candelaria, a Democrat who is sponsoring Senate Bill 375.

Hundreds of Ford workers get $19,000 raise

Source: CNN Money, CNN Money

Ford Motor plans to raise the pay of 300 to 500 entry-level workers by more than $19,000 a year, or nearly 50% -- another sign of the rebound of the U.S. auto industry.

The workers had been paid $19.28 an hour, which is roughly $9 an hour less than what veteran autoworkers receive.

OSHA Cites Ashley Furniture Over Dozens of Safety Violations

Source: Rachel Abrams, New York Times

Ashley Furniture, one of the world's largest furniture manufacturers, faces $1.7 million in penalties to settle charges that unsafe conditions at its manufacturing plant in Arcadia, Wis., led to more than 1,000 injuries.
The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for dozens of violations, including disregard for safety standards that led to a number of gruesome injuries. In July, one worker lost three fingers while operating a woodworking machine, the agency said.

January 30, 2015

Why Internet journalists don't organize

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

Bombast notwithstanding, Elk has done this before. He helped start a union at his previous employer, the lefty magazine In These Times, and a few months ago started talking with the Newspaper Guild - an affiliate of the national Communications Workers of America - about doing the same at Politico. Employees would benefit from some protection against Politico's famously workaholic atmosphere, Elk says.

California truckers win $2 million in wage theft suit

Source: Steve Gorman, Yahoo News

Seven Los Angeles-area truckers have won a $2 million claim against an international shipping company accused of stealing their wages by improperly classifying them as independent contractors and charging them to lease its trucks to drive.
In a decision with implications for hundreds of companies and thousands of truckers in Southern California alone, a San Diego County Superior Court judge held that the seven plaintiffs should have been defined as employees of Pacer Cartage under California's labor law, not as independent owner-operators.

Labor Dept. pitches updated sex discrimination regs

Source: Lydia Wheeler, The Hill

The Labor Department is considering updating the rules federal contractors and subcontractors have to follow to ensure their workplace is free from discrimination based on sex.
The agency wants to omit certain guidelines that are outdated. One, for example, now says it's illegal for job advertisements in the newspaper and other media to express a sex preference, unless sex is a "bona fide" occupational qualification for the job. The public is being asked to weigh in whether that provision is still useful.

The accidental origin of the $15 minimum-wage movement

Source: Ben Bergman, Marketplace

In just the last year, Seattle and San Francisco both passed measures to gradually increase their minimum wages to $15. And the Los Angeles City Council is considering a $15.25 wage.
Those cities are following in the footsteps of SeaTac, Washington, a tiny town just outside Seattle, and home to the region's biggest airport. A year ago, it became the first city in America to have a $15 minimum wage.

When Consumers Give Up Their Right to Trial in Financial Disputes

Source: Jeff Sovern, New York Times

Constitutional rights are the most fundamental rights Americans enjoy. So you might think it would be hard to get people to give them up. But every day, people unknowingly surrender their constitutional rights, including a right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. And if bank lawyers have their way, Americans will continue relinquishing such rights without even realizing it.

January 29, 2015

9 Investigates: NC mom fights against fatigued truckers after son's death

Source: Sarah Rosario, WSOCTV

In an effort to create change Novak joined the Truck Safety Coalition, which works to reduce truck-related crashes.
Last month she and other members went to Washington, D.C., to protest a proposal to let truckers drive for longer hours with fewer breaks.
To their disappointment, Congress approved the proposal, allowing truckers to drive 82 hours a week instead of 70. The law no longer requires truckers to get two nights sleep in a row before starting a work week.

Rhode Island Hospital workers demonstrate amid negotiations on new contract

Source: RICHARD SALIT, Providence Journal

Workers seeking a new contract demonstrated outside Rhode Island Hospital on Thursday afternoon to demand job protection and improved pay and benefits.
Negotiations for a new contract began in the fall and, so far, the hospital contract proposals have been "a slap in the face to every Rhode Island Hospital employee and every person in the community that is concerned about good jobs and quality patient care," according to a union statement.

US Labor Department proposes critical updates to sex discrimination guidelines.

Source: Juan Rodrigues, KCGS Television

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a proposal to clarify federal contractors' requirements to prohibit sex discrimination. The recommended changes would revise the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' guidelines to align with laws, court decisions and societal changes since they were originally issued in 1970.
"Our sex discrimination guidelines are woefully out of date and don't reflect established law or the reality of modern workplaces," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu.

January 28, 2015

Wal-Mart's manufacturing recovery?

Source: Damon Silvers, The Hill

President Obama, in his State of the Union address, told Americans that manufacturing in the United States is back. The president is right to applaud job creation in manufacturing. But both elected leaders and the public should be wary of one company in particular falsely taking credit for this "manufacturing renaissance": Wal-Mart.
Two years ago, Wal-Mart launched the U.S. Manufacturing Initiative, a pledge to create 1 million new jobs over the next 10 years through buying "U.S.-made goods." But Wal-Mart has done very little to improve American jobs. In fact, it continues to harm our nation's job market.

How to raise the minimum wage 107 percent without losing jobs or profit

Source: Simone Pathe, PBS Newshour

Boosting the federal minimum wage would be great news for the workers who'd receive a higher paycheck. Not so much for those who'd be out of a job. That anxiety sums up much of the debate around increasing the minimum wage.
Fueling angst on the right, the Congressional Budget Office reported last year that raising the federal minimum to $10.10 would cost about 500,000 jobs. Even liberal restaurant owners, like the ones NewsHour's Paul Solman spoke to in Seattle last spring, worried that paying their workers more would doom their businesses, while nonprofit organizations feared having to cut their staff and services.

House panel kills minimum wage proposal

Source: Associated Press, News Leader

A Republican-led House committee has killed a proposal to raise Virginia's minimum wage.
The House Committee on Commerce and Labor voted Tuesday to table a proposal aimed at raising incrementally the state's minimum wage above the current $7.25 an hour to $10 an hour.

Marching Band Delivers Petition To Citi Asking Banks To "Revoke License To Steal"

Source: Chris Morran, Consumerist

In a handful of recent decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the right of businesses to effectively break the law by putting a few carefully worded sentences into their contracts and user agreements. But just because you can add these clauses doesn't mean you have to do so, which is why pro-consumer advocacy groups gathered more than 100,000 signatures on a petition that was delivered, with a little bit of music, to Citigroup HQ in Manhattan this morning.
The petition asks Citi and many of the nation's other largest banks - JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, and PNC Financial - to do away with anti-consumer forced arbitration clauses in their customer agreements.

January 27, 2015

On-Demand Workers: 'We Are Not Robots' Is Technology Liberating or Squeezing the New Class of Freelance Labor?

Source: Lauren Weber and Rachel Emma Silverman , Wall Street Journal

Yet a host of lawsuits, protests and forums organized by and for workers suggest that many flexible laborers feel less enthusiastic about the new model of work. Current and former workers for Uber, Amazon Inc.'s Mechanical Turk and Handybook, better known as Handy, say on-demand work platforms give them little control over the terms of their labor, and complain that the contracts they're required to accept force them to shoulder personal and financial risk without the returns or advantages they'd hoped for.

January 26, 2015

Federal judge tosses suit aimed at halting unionization of Minnesota home health care workers

Source: Randy Furst, Star Tribune

U.S. District Judge Michael Davis dismissed a lawsuit Monday filed last year in an attempt to block implementation of a state law that paved the way for the unionization of Minnesota's 27,000 home health care workers.
The suit, filed by attorneys with the National Right to Work Foundation, a Virginia-based anti-union organization, represented six state health workers who provide home-care services to disabled individuals and family members.

Teachers Take Union Dues to Supreme Court

Source: Allie Bidwell, US News

A group of public schoolteachers on Monday petitioned the Supreme Court to hear a challenge to laws allowing teachers unions to require dues from nonmembers who disagree with union positions and policies.
A decision in the teachers' favor could change how public employee unions operate nationwide.

Supreme Court sends back 'misapplied' retiree health-benefit case

Source: Robert Barnes, Washington Post

The Supreme Court on Monday sided with a company that said retirees must pay for part of their medical benefits, even though the employees said no-cost coverage was a vested benefit of their service.
The court's ruling was unanimous , but it did not settle the issue. The justices said only that a lower court had evaluated the case in a way that improperly gave the benefit of the doubt to the retirees, and they sent the case back for more work.

Ruby Tuesday accused of employment discrimination. Against men.

Source: Abby Phillip, Washington Post

In an unusual twist, a national restaurant chain is facing a civil rights lawsuit for discriminating against male job candidates.
Ruby Tuesday, the ubiquitous chain of suburban family restaurants, is being sued by the government on behalf of male employees who were excluded from a "lucrative" temporary work assignment because they were male, according to the lawsuit.

Thousands of nursing home workers across the city and Long Island could walk out if contract talks fall through this week

Source: Lisa L. Colangelo, NY Daily News

More than 8,000 workers at nursing homes in the city and on Long Island have voted to strike if contract talks between their union and bosses fall through this week.
The employees fighting to keep their health care benefits and secure better pay at 37 nursing homes can start the 10-day clock to a walkout if negotiations fail Monday, 1199SEIU officials said.

January 23, 2015

Report: Fast food industry could survive $15 minimum wage

Source: Ned Resnikoff, AlJazeera America

Congress could more than double the federal minimum wage without doing serious harm to the fast-food industry, according to a report from economists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In a hypothetical scenario in which the minimum wage gradually rose from $7.25 per hour to $15, the authors of the report found that fast-food companies would be able to "fully absorb" the increase without limiting its profit margin.

Federal regulators allege sex discrimination at Ruby Tuesday

Source: Associated Press, Chron

Federal regulators say a chain restaurant discriminated against male employees when it refused to hire them for summer jobs in a Utah resort town.
The claims against Ruby Tuesday came in a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Portland, Ore., by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

January 22, 2015

McDonald's Is Being Sued Over a 'Racist' Franchise

Source: Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg Buisnessweek

Ten former workers are suing McDonald's, alleging rampant racism, sexual harassment, and illegal terminations at one location, in a case that will test the company's legal responsibility for decisions of its legions of franchisees....
Supervisors ultimately terminated black and Hispanic employees because they didn't "fit the profile," the lawsuit says. When the workers reached out to head office, "McDonald's Corporate ... did nothing." The lawsuit says McDonald's "is liable as Plaintiffs' employer" which "acquiesced in and ratified Soweva's conduct."

Higher Minimum Wage Wouldn't Hurt Fast Food, Report Says

Source: Martha C. White , NBC News

The fast food industry would lose neither jobs nor profits even if the minimum wage rose from its current $7.25 an hour to $15 over a period of four years, a new report from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst says.
The working paper from the Political Economy Research Institute says $33 billion annual cost in higher wages and payroll taxes could be offset by factors including savings from lower turnover -- more than $5 billion a year -- as well as a roughly 3 percent annual increase in prices, assuming an annual 2.5 percent growth of the U.S. fast food market. "Wages in this country… have been really stagnant and not making any headway over the past 30 years," said Jeannette Wicks-Lim, an assistant research professor at PERI and co-author of the paper.

Breaking down who earns the minimum wage.

Source: Jeffry Bartash, Market Watch

President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged Congress again to raise the federal minimum wage, touting the proposal as an important step in helping millions of families.
"To everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, try it," the president said in his State of the Union address. "If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise."
What is the federal minimum wage? How many earn the minimum or less? Who are they? Will it really help a lot of people? Here are the facts.

January 21, 2015

How is Obama proposing to help the middle class?

Source: Evan Horowitz, The Boston Globe

Is the middle class really in trouble?

Yes. The US economy has not been kind to low and middle-income families in recent decades. Families in the middle of the income ladder today earn roughly the same amount that they did 25 years ago while wealthier households have gotten a substantial raise.

Immigrant advocates praise Cuomo 'Dream Act' proposal

Source: Victor Manuel Ramos , Newsday

A small group of immigrant advocates gathered Wednesday to watch Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's State of the State speech at a restaurant in Deer Park, following a months-long push to get Cuomo to include funding for tuition aid to "Dreamers" -- immigrant students in the country illegally or whose deportations have been deferred. A Dream Act bill failed to pass the State Senate last year.
They got their wish when Cuomo announced he's putting $27 million to "make it a reality" -- substantially more than the $17 million they were hoping for. However, the advocates said they didn't like that he paired the provision with an education tax credit for those who donate money to schools. The advocates see that as a giveaway to private institutions that poor students can't usually afford to attend.

January 20, 2015

Seattle takes step to hire more workers from distressed areas

Source: Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times

The Seattle City Council approved a new "priority hire" ordinance by unanimous vote Tuesday.
The ordinance requires that a percentage of the labor hours on city construction projects worth $5 million or more be performed by workers from economically distressed neighborhoods.
The ordinance also mandates that the projects be subject to agreements between the city and labor unions.

Obama Pushes 'The Right Thing' For Workers: Paid Leave, Minimum Wage, Pay Equity

Source: Dave Jamieson, HuffingtonPost

Whether it was paid leave, the minimum wage or gender pay equity, the president made his case to a skeptical, Republican-controlled Congress that Washington needs to establish rules governing how the economy works for everyday people, particularly when wages are stagnating despite broader job gains.

Lowe's $10M Settlement Provides 3 Lessons For Firms Working With Independent Contractors

Source: Jeff Wald, Forbes

Earlier this week, a federal court judge approved a settlement between Lowe's Home Centers and a class of its home improvement contractors. The contractors claimed that they had been misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees.

January 19, 2015

Minimum Wage for Cashiers

Source: Pattie Hunt Sinacole, Boston

Q: I had heard that the minimum wage was going to increase in Massachusetts. I am applying for cashier jobs and they say they will pay minimum wage but it seems awfully low. What is the current minimum wage in Massachusetts? How does overtime work in Massachusetts for cashier positions?

January 18, 2015

Gov. Brown Tackling California's $72B Retiree Health Liability

Source: Associated Press, CBS Sacramento

After tackling pension changes for public employees and teachers, Gov. Jerry Brown is now setting his sights on another big debt: retiree health care benefits.
California faces an estimated $72 billion unfunded liability for more than 800,000 state employees and their families to provide health coverage once workers retire from civil service and for those who have already retired. The benefit, which has been phasing out of the private sector but remains a recruitment tool for government workers, has grown increasingly burdensome to taxpayers. State costs have quadrupled since 2001.

Obama's myRA retirement accounts are now a reality

Source: Melanie Hicken, CNN Money

About half of all American workers are employed by companies that don't offer retirement plans, according to a 2009 Brookings Institution report.
And those who do save, don't save much.
About two-thirds of all workers said they put some money away in 2013 for retirement savings, according to a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. More than half of workers said they had less than $25,000 in savings, outside of their home and pensions. And 28% of workers said they had less than $1,000 in savings.

5 surprising jobs that pay minimum wage

Source: Erika Rawes, USA Today

With so much talk about the minimum wage, it leaves people wondering about this lower-earning group: Who are they? What types of jobs do minimum wage workers have?

Some of the general assumptions about minimum wage jobs are correct - many of these jobs involve unskilled labor, they can be obtained with minimal education (more than nine out of 10 minimum wage workers are not four year college graduates), and a significant portion of minimum wage jobs are held by teens. But there are also some minimum wage jobs that don't fit into the general mold.

January 16, 2015

Apple, Google, other tech firms to pay $415M in wage case

Source: Michael Liedtke, Associated Press

Apple, Google and two other Silicon Valley companies have agreed to pay $415 million in a second attempt to resolve a class-action lawsuit alleging they formed an illegal cartel to prevent their workers from leaving for better-paying jobs.

How Companies Like Walmart Are Fighting to Keep Workplace Injuries Secret

Source: Erika Eichelberger, Mother Jones

If Gertz had worked in a factory, she could have bolstered her case with evidence from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's national database of manufacturing workplace injuries. But no such database exists for retail workers like Gertz. A new regulation that OSHA is scheduled to finalize this year would change that. OSHA wants to create a public database of workplace injury and illness data from all industries, not just manufacturing. This would help workers, the government, researchers, and journalists identify companies with safety problems. But the trade groups that represent some of America's biggest chains-including Walmart, Target, and McDonald's-are fighting back hard.

After legal defeats, an uncertain future for low-wage home care

Source: E. Tammy Kim, AlJazeera America

The two million in-home workers who tend to the nation's elderly and disabled have had a tough year in the courts. First there was Harris v. Quinn, the June 2014 Supreme Court decision widely seen as undermining homecare unions. Next came a pair of rulings from the federal trial court in Washington, D.C. - the most recent of which came down Wednesday - invaliding a new Department of Labor (DOL) regulation that would have extended minimum wage and overtime rights to caregiving "companions."

January 15, 2015

Group Urges New York City to End Credit Checks by Employers

Source: Nikita Stewart, New York Times

New York City employers use credit checks to screen applicants for all sorts of jobs, like dog-walking and janitorial work. A coalition of municipal labor leaders, liberal advocates and left-leaning City Council members is seeking to end that practice, saying it disproportionately harms blacks and Hispanics without accurately predicting fraud or poor job performance.

Trying to Solve the Great Wage Slowdown

Source: David Leonhardt, New York Times

After almost 15 years of a disappointing economy, it's easy to get pessimistic. Incomes for the middle class and poor have now been stagnating over a two-term Republican presidency and well into a two-term Democratic one. The great wage slowdown of the 21st century has frustrated Americans, polls show, and raised serious questions about what kind of policies, if any, might change the situation.

January 14, 2015

Construction Jobs Are Getting Safer-but Not for Latinos

Source: Michelle Chen, The Nation

There are many ways to measure inequality: the wealth gap, the achievement gap, the gender gap. But we face a hidden gap at work everyday-a safety gap, the line that measures our risk of death and injury on the job. And often, the gap tracks the country's racial divide, with Latino workers on the wrong side.
According to an analysis of federal safety data by Buzzfeed, "between 2010 and 2013, the number of deaths among Latinos in the construction industry rose from 181 to 231. The number of deaths also rose in the industry overall, from 774 to 796. But Latinos account for this rise entirely: during the same period, deaths for non-Latino construction workers fell from 593 to 565."

Labor issues at Microsoft prompt talk of policy changes

Source: Matt Day, SeattleTimes

After about a year working at Lionbridge Technologies on Microsoft's Redmond campus, Marilyse Benyakar started asking questions.
Why did Lionbridge, hired by Microsoft to vet the content of Windows tablet applications, not offer paid time off or sick days? How long could Benyakar and other so-called temporary workers remain that way?
Those questions ultimately resulted in something exceedingly rare in the technology industry: a group of employees voted to form a union.

Obama Wants Home Care Workers to Get Minimum Wage, But a Federal Judge Is Standing in the Way

Source: Sarah Kollmorgen, New Republic

In September 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new rule that would essentially narrow the definition of "companionship services" to people providing more social interactions with elderly clients, such as playing games, doing crafts, reading and going on walks. Home care workers providing more substantive care, and those employed by third-party agencies, would be eligible for minimum wage beginning January 2015.

Workers Get Help Climbing the Career Ladder

Source: Rachel Emma Silverman , Wall Street Journal

For years, companies have left employees to figure out their careers on their own. Now, a handful of firms are helping workers map out their next steps.
Big companies like Aflac Inc., Genentech Inc. and American Express Co. are hiring career counselors, training some managers to give job advice and launching in-house career centers similar to those found on college campuses. Other companies, such as Accenture PLC, are taking steps to better market internal job opportunities and make clear what it takes to land a new position.

January 13, 2015

Feds, Florida reach deal on construction industry rip-off

Source: Nicholas Nehamas, Miami Herald

Publicly available documents and interviews with workers around Florida showed that contractors broke state law and cheated on their taxes in order to get work on the federally financed projects that were the lifeblood of the building industry between 2009 and 2013.

Justices push back on whether judicial review is needed

Source: Robert Barnes, The Washington Post

Justices on both sides of the court's ideological divide were concerned with the government's assertion that Congress did not intend for judges to second-guess whether the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had worked hard enough hashing things out with a company accused of discrimination before hauling it into court.
The specific case involved an Illinois mining company accused of never hiring female miners. But the justices' concerns were broader.

January 12, 2015

Labor at a Crossroads: Can Broadened Civil Rights Law Offer Workers a True Right to Organize?

Source: Richard D. Kahlenberg and Moshe Z. Marvit, The American Prospect

Organized labor, which represents only 1 in 15 private sector workers, is on its deathbed. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which was supposed to allow workers to choose to organize, "is dead and not coming back," Harold Meyerson reports. The NLRA was designed to protect worker rights in part by prohibiting employers from exerting the power to fire union organizers, but the penalties for violating the law are so weak that employees routinely do so, making it exceedingly difficult to organize.

January 10, 2015

Labor board readies flurry of decisions

Source: Tim Devaney, The Hill

The National Labor Relations Board is expected in the coming weeks to weigh in on several high-profile labor cases with major implications on workforce and union issues, ranging from college football players to fast food restaurants.
Business are bracing for a flurry of action from a labor board they've accused of taking on an activist, pro-union agenda.

January 9, 2015

We're adding jobs like it's 1999, but American workers just can't get a raise

Source: Simone Pathe, PBS Newshour

The last year has been one of strong, and sometimes confounding, economic news. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the unemployment picture released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday morning.
December's report ends 2014 with a bang. Payrolls grew by a higher-than-expected 252,000, and the previous two months' job gains were revised upwards by a collective 50,000. The unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent - a post-Great Recession low.

Carson Shipping Company Agrees To Reclassify Drivers As Employees

Source: CBSLA, CBSLA

Truckers who went on strike five times at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach have reached an agreement with a major trucking company in the fight to be reclassified as employees

January 8, 2015

Apple Store Employees Claim They're Losing Out On Pay Because Of Security Checks

Source: Sam Colt, Business Insider

Apple mandates that every one of its retail employees perform a security check and technology check before leaving work every day.
This is designed to prevent theft, but since each Apple Store usually has over 100 employees, it can also be a time-consuming process.
Federal labor laws don't support employees' claims for back pay, but some state laws do.
California, for instance, defines "payable hours" as an employee being under the control of their employer.

A Day in the Life of a Family of 6 Trying to Survive on Fast-Food Wages

Source: Annie Lowrie, New York Magazine

This week, I visited a Texas family that demonstrates the phenomenon: All the Ortizes do is work, and they still feel like they're just getting by, vulnerable to bad luck and unable to pull ahead. They make up part of what wonks and economists are now calling the "precariat," the large class of American families characterized by insecurity and instability, even when employed. They're the flip side of the coin from the one-percenters. And the question now is whether the recovery might finally prove strong enough to reach them.

On-call workers entitled to pay for all hours spent at job, court rules

Source: David Zahniser and Emily Alpert Reyes, LA Times

A research team that provided a largely favorable analysis of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's plan for raising the citywide minimum wage has been tapped by city leaders to provide a new outside review of the same proposal.

Business leaders and Councilman Mitch O'Farrell criticized the selection of UC Berkeley's Institute for Research on Labor and Employment to give the City Council an assessment of the economic effects of the proposed wage increases.

The GOP Bill to Define the 40-Hour Work Week Explained

Source: Leigh Ann Caldwell, NBC News

It would gut the employer mandate, which is a controversial part of the ACA. Employers would only be required to provide health benefits for workers who work 40 hours or more per week. Employers would then be able to give full-time workers 39 hours of work - nearly a full work week that would not hurt employee output - and avoid providing health insurance to the employee, which is required under the ACA. It's much more difficult to cut a full-time worker's hours to 29 hours to avoid providing health care.

Why Your Wages Are Idling in Neutral

Source: Lawrence Mishel, The American Prospect

Low-wage Americans are not the only workers affected by stagnant wages and rising inequality. The middle class has also experienced stagnating hourly wages over the last generation, and even those with college degrees have seen no pay growth over the last 10 years. Since the late 1970s, wages for the bottom 70 percent of earners have been essentially stagnant, and between 2009 and 2013, real wages fell for the entire bottom 90 percent of the wage distribution. Even wages for the bottom 70 percent of four-year college graduates have been flat since 2000, and wages in most STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) occupations have grown anemically over the past decade.

January 7, 2015

Paid Sick Days, More Workplace Benefits for D.C. Workers

Source: Rebecca Gale, Role Call

Workplace advocacy groups are ringing in the New Year with new family friendly workplace laws, some of which take effect in this month. Among these changes are several in the District of Columbia, including: More pregnancy protections, more sick days, paid family leave.

AFL-CIO Steps Up Effort to Boost Low Wages

Source: Melanie Trottman, The Wall Street Journal

The AFL-CIO is ratcheting up its battle to raise pay for America's low-wage workers, in part by conducting a series of state-based summits about low wages and holding politicians accountable who fail to make the topic a central focus.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka announced the ramped-up efforts on Wednesday at the union federation's first-ever national summit on raising wages, where Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Labor Secretary Tom Perez delivered speeches to a mix of union activists, think tank officials, academics and others.

ADP Says Companies in U.S. Added 241,000 Workers in December

Source: Shobhana Chandra, Bloomberg

Companies added more workers than forecast in December, indicating the U.S. job market was sustaining strength as 2014 drew to a close, according to a private report based on payrolls.
The 241,000 increase in employment was the biggest since June and followed a 227,000 November gain that was more than initially reported, figures from the Roseland, New Jersey-based ADP Research Institute showed today. The median projection of 45 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an advance of 225,000 last month.

Apple and Amazon's Unpaid Security Checks Face a New Challenge in State Courts

Source: Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg Buisnessweek

Last month, when the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against workers suing an Amazon (AMZN) warehouse contractor, the e-commerce giant wasn't the only winner. That Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk decision-declaring that time spent waiting to go through security lines wasn't "integral and essential" to warehouse work, and so workers didn't have to be paid for it-also offered grounds for other companies to get employees' allegations dismissed. That's already started to happen-but companies still aren't in the clear.

January 6, 2015

A Majority Of States Now Have Mininum Wages Higher Than The Federal Minimum

Source: Jake Grovum, HuffingtonPost

"What this shows you is there's a lot of movement on increasing wages," said Yannet Lathrop of the worker-advocacy group, the National Employment Law Project (NELP). "This is a really great atmosphere."
In many states, efforts in the past year to raise the minimum wage have attracted bipartisan support. In November's elections, which saw an overwhelming wave for Republicans nationwide, voters in four traditionally red states (Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota) approved increases.

Workers alleging wage theft say picketing the surest path to justice

Source: Sadhbh Walshe, AlJazeera America

Since April 2014, these 14 workers, primarily immigrants, have been engaged in a campaign protesting wage theft against their employer at Liberato restaurant on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx borough of New York City. Throughout, they have continued to work their regular shifts - sometimes up to 12 hours at a time. But during their off-hours, they have been picketing outside the restaurant and sometimes even around their managers' homes.

January 5, 2015

Is Crowdsourcing Bad for Workers?

Source: Michelle Chen, The Nation

The federal minimum wage has effectively been stagnating since the 1960s, and even the recent spate of state minimum wage hikes have lagged far behind the rising cost of living. But if workplace regulations seem to evolve at a glacial pace, there's a quickly rising threat of exploitation from the digital economy's cutting edge: in the rapidly evolving digital workforce, labor standards are stuck in a primitive state, with no minimum wage and virtually no standards.

Lawyer alleges TGI Friday's workers in Mansfield paid to drop out of class action suit

Source: Rick Foster, The Sun Chronicle

A Mansfield worker for a popular chain restaurant reportedly was paid $82,000 as part of an attempt to settle a national class action wage lawsuit, according to a lawyer in the case.
Justin Swartz, a lawyer representing workers suing T.G.I. Friday's said offers of payment to the employee and other workers is part of a strategy to limit the number of plantiffs in the case.

Missouri's minimum wage will fall behind neighbor's

Source: Lara Granich, St. Louis Post Dispatch

On New Year's Day, Missouri was one of 21 states to implement minimum wage increases that are estimated to boost the incomes of 4.4 million low-paid workers nationwide. Missouri's new minimum wage increased to $7.65 per hour, benefiting an estimated 136,000 workers and boosting the state's economy by $38 million.

January 4, 2015

Signs of Economic Promise Are Offering Some Hope for the New Year

Source: Rachel L. Swarns, New York Times

To Ms. Jourdan's amazement, she learned that she would be getting a raise of $2.50 an hour. And that's not all: Zara is also increasing the number of full-time positions in its stores, handing a victory to Ms. Jourdan and other Zara workers who have demanded better pay and more opportunities after being relegated to part-time jobs with unpredictable schedules.
Small potatoes, you say? Not to Ms. Jourdan, who was earning $10.50 an hour. Now, she says, she might be able to save up for a little vacation. She might even get a full-time position as a store manager.

FairPoint labor talks to resume

Source: David Sharp, The Boston Globe

Top leaders from both negotiating teams are to gather Sunday in Washington, D.C., at the request of Allison Beck, acting director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. The last session, convened by a federal mediator in Boston on Nov. 18, ended in an hour with no progress.
But officials say this time, the federal mediation service plans to play a formal role in discussions, rather than simply bring the two parties together.

January 2, 2015

Union for mental health workers plan Kaiser strike

Source: Kathy Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal

The union that represents mental health workers at Kaiser Permanente will launch a week-long statewide strike Jan. 12 to protest what it says is Kaiser's failure to provide members with timely, quality care.

More States Raise Minimum Wage, But Debate Continues

Source: Yuki Noguchi, NPR

The minimum wage went up in 20 states Thursday, a day after the state of New York boosted its minimum, which means a majority of states now have a minimum wage higher than the federal government's, which is set at $7.25. The state with the highest minimum wage is now Washington state, at $9.47 an hour.
This comes almost exactly a year after President Obama called for raising the federal minimum to $10.10 an hour. Congress hasn't acted on that, but by executive action, the president increased the base wage to $10.10 for federal contractors - a raise that also went into effect Thursday.

December 29, 2014

OUR OPINION: Supreme Court deals new blow to workers rights

Source: centralmaine

The court ruled 9-0 earlier this month that Integrity Staffing Solutions does not have to pay its warehouse employees for the time they spend waiting in line for security screenings at the end of a shift. The mandatory screenings, designed to prevent theft, can take as long as 25 minutes, according to the employees who filed the lawsuit.
Writing for the court, Justice Clarence Thomas said it did not matter that the employees were required by their employer to wait in the lines. What matters, he said, is that the screenings are not "tied to the productive work that the employee is employed to perform."

Minimum Wage Workers In NY, NJ To Get Raises In 2015

Source: CBSNewYork, CBS

Minimum wage workers in New York will see their hourly rate jump from $8 to $8.75, while the wage will rise in New Jersey from $8.25 to $8.38.
While the increase in New Jersey is modest, it will help the lowest-paid workers in the state by adding $55 million in new wages, said Jon Whiten with the New Jersey Policy Perspective.

December 28, 2014

Fiberdome agrees to workplace safety changes

Source: Daily Union

Fiberdome Inc. has agreed to changes to protect employee health in the wake of several workplace violations, including exposure to styrene that sent two inmates on work-release in the hospital.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported Sunday that during the past two years, two prisoners suffered "permanent lung damage" while other employees at the Lake Mills plant were exposed to harmful levels of chemicals, dust and noise, according to reports released by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Wage stagnation puts the squeeze on ordinary workers

Source: David Lazarus, LA Times

"It's been six years since anyone at our company has had a raise," said Chisum, 52. "It seems like I just keep falling further into a hole. The price of gas has gone down, but nothing else has."
It's a refrain we've heard throughout the year: wealth gap, income inequality, wage stagnation.
No matter how you say it, the upshot is the same. The rich are getting richer and everyone else is feeling squeezed.

December 25, 2014

The Real Christmas Village Is in China

Source: Heather Timmons, The Atlantic

The Chinese city of Yiwu, about 250 kilometers from Shanghai, is often referred to as China's "Christmas village" thanks to the massive amount of holiday-related merchandise made there. Xinhua, China's state-news agency, claims that 60 percent of the world's Christmas goods come from Yiwu. The products are often assembled by hand in primitive conditions.

Employers Help Legal Immigrants On Path To Citizenship

Source: Richard Gonzales, NPR

There are employers in seven cities, including Washington, Los Angeles, Houston and San Diego, that have signed on to help their workers become U.S. citizens. NPR's Richard Gonzales has this story about a program which focuses on immigrants who are in the country legally.

December 23, 2014

Special Needs Student Practices Real-Life Job Skills

Source: The Job Doc Blog, Boston

Jack Thomas, 17, of West Boylston, is one of the dozen autism students at Crossroads School who is participating in a new vocational program to prepare for jobs as they age out of the school system. The Natick school is one of several maaps (Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools) schools that educate students with special needs and focus on vocational training through partnerships with area businesses.

Robust economic growth in third quarter raises hopes that a boom is on horizon

Source: Chico Harlan, Washington Post

The U.S. economy is growing at an increasingly rapid pace, government data released Tuesday shows, raising hopes that a slow-going American recovery is transforming into a far more robust expansion.
The 5 percent annualized growth reported Tuesday - for the three-month period ending in September - has led some analysts to believe that the U.S. economy could expand next year at a clip reminiscent of the booming late 1990s.

December 21, 2014

Minimum wage buying power in Ohio is shifting

Source: Jona Ison, Cincinnati

Ohio's minimum wage is automatically adjusted each year by the rate of inflation, which is good for entry-level employees but might come at the expense of raises in the long term.

December 19, 2014

Minimum wage on agenda at Legislature

Source: Dan Boyd, Albuquerque Journal

The debate over whether to increase New Mexico's minimum wage – and by how much – will hit the Roundhouse again during the coming 60-day session.
Two bills have been pre-filed this week by Democratic lawmakers, both seeking a hike in the state's current $7.50-per-hour minimum wage – one of them to $8.30 an hour and the other to $10.10.

Jersey City nursing home workers protest 'unfair treatment,' 'contract violations'

Source: Matthew Speiser, NJ

Bryn Lloyd-Bollard, communications coordinator for 1199 SEIU - the largest health care worker union in the country - said Alaris has been in "blatant violation" of its union contract with the workers for more than a year.
"The company has been paying workers below the minimum rates as specified in the union contract and participating in other union busting tactics like removing certain workers from the union," Lloyd-Bollard.

December 18, 2014

Dollar Tree faces penalty in workplace safety case

Source: Richmond Times Dispatch

Dollar Tree Stores Inc. faces civil penalties totaling $103,000 for workplace safety violations at a Delaware store.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said inspectors saw overhead boxes fall on a store employee in New Castle, Del., during a June visit.

America U.S. Announces Protections For Transgender Workers

Source: Krishnadev Calamur, NPR

"This important shift will ensure that the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are extended to those who suffer discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status," he said in a statement. "This will help to foster fair and consistent treatment for all claimants. And it reaffirms the Justice Department's commitment to protecting the civil rights of all Americans."

Paid Maternity Leave Is Good for Business

Source: Derek Thompson, Wall Street Journal

Having experienced how valuable paid maternity leave is to me, my family and my career, I never thought of it as a privilege. But the sad truth is that paid maternity leave is rare in America, and the U.S. lags behind the rest of the world in providing for the needs of pregnant women and new mothers.

December 17, 2014

Lockheed Settles $1.3 Billion 401k Suit as Trial Loomed

Source: Tim Bross and Andrew Harris, Bloomberg Buisnessweek

Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) agreed to settle a $1.3 billion lawsuit over claims the defense contractor shortchanged the 120,000 workers and retirees who participate in its pension plans as a trial was set to begin this week.
Workers accused the company of subjecting them to excessive fees and leaving those investing in its stock fund with returns that were worse than if they had bought shares on the open market. The settlement was disclosed today by U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan in East St. Louis, Illinois, and still requires his approval.

December 16, 2014

UPDATE 2-Unions, retirees sue to block Chicago pension changes

Source: Karen Pierog, Reuters

The lawsuit contends that the law, enacted in June, violates the Illinois Constitution by reducing pension benefits for workers and retirees in Chicago's Municipal Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund. The suit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court by the Chicago Teachers Union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 and others.
The lawsuit asks the court to declare the law void and illegal because pensions will be reduced in violation of a constitutional provision prohibiting the diminishment or impairment of public employee retirement benefits.

Walmart Must Pay $188 Million to Settle Claims of Cut Rest Breaks

Source: Victor Luckerson, Time

Walmart has been ordered to pay $188 million over claims by employees that the company regularly cut their breaks for meals and rest. The payment would be a settlement for a class-action lawsuit that went all the way to the Pennsylvania Supereme Court. The ruling would hurt Walmart's earnings, the company said, by reducing its profits from continuing operations by 6 cents per share. Wal-Mart said it may appeal the decision.

December 15, 2014

$4 Million: That's How Much These Dim Sum Restaurant Workers Won in Back Pay

Source: Michelle Chen, The Nation

Approximately 280 workers, many of them monolingual Chinese immigrants, are savoring a sweet labor victory with a landmark $4 million settlement, which also includes new rules for labor standards and benefits. The settlement is remarkable for its size, but also the recipe behind it: a coalition of legal advocates and community organizers who were committed to upscaling the working conditions in an increasingly unequal city.

The Mysterious Rise of the Non-Working Man

Source: Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

In 1974, the radio broadcaster Studs Terkel published a book of profiles to have "people talk about what they do all day and how they feel about what they do." The title of the book was, simply, Working.
That was appropriate. Working was what people did all day, particularly if they were men in their 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s. In the 1970s, as in previous decades, about 95 percent of men between the age of 25 and 54 were either working or actively looking for their next job. Only 5.5 percent of them were what economists consider "inactive"-out of the labor force.

Why Workers Undervalue Traditional Pension Plans

Source: Dan Kadlec, Time

Despite many drawbacks, the 401(k) plan is our most prized employee benefit other than healthcare, new research shows. More than half of workers value this savings plan even above a traditional pension that guarantees income for life.

Patrick shifts position on worker unionization

Source: Michael Levenson and Stephanie Ebbert, The Boston Globe

Documents obtained by the Globe show that Patrick's legal team in March opposed an effort by the National Association of Government Employees to represent about 3,000 state employees hired since July 2011. Patrick's team argued that the positions that NAGE wanted to include had not been part of the union in its 30-year history and that the transfer would deny workers the right to determine their own representation.
Now, Patrick is arguing that extending union protection to another 500 workers is warranted.

The Devalued American Worker

Source: Jim Tankersley, Washington Post

Green once held a middle-class job. Now, to make enough money to send his children to college, he works the equivalent of two full-time jobs: one maintaining highways for the state of North Carolina and one ushering fans and collecting trash for a variety of sports teams around Winston-Salem.
The American economy has stopped delivering the broadly shared prosperity that the nation grew accustomed to after World War II. The explanation for why that is begins with the millions of middle-class jobs that vanished over the past 25 years, and with what happened to the men and women who once held those jobs.

December 14, 2014

A Growing Economic Recovery Bypasses Low-Wage Workers and Their Tables

Source: Rachel L. Swarns, The New York Times

Perhaps you've heard the good news from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which recently reported strong gains in hiring and a sharp jump in hourly wages. Or maybe you've read that associates at big law firms in New York are taking home hefty bonuses of $15,000 to $100,000 this year. All of it has overshadowed the continuing struggles of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers during this holiday season.

December 13, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court ruling on home care workers still reverberating in Washington

Source: Brad Shannon, The Olympian

In Washington state, the court ruling appears to apply to the more than 40,000 home care workers in SEIU 775; 8,000 child-care operators represented by SEIU 925; roughly 1,000 medical-language interpreters represented by the Washington Federation of State Employees; and hundreds of adult family home providers represented by the Residential Care Council of Family Homes. In each case, care providers are paid by the state, and the unions negotiate with the state for wage rates or reimbursement rates.

December 12, 2014

This One Sentence Captures the Huge Challenges Facing the Unemployed

Source: Danny Vinik, New Republic

But more important is what Walsh's firing says about the state of the economy: Workers have no leverage over their employers. Even though the recovery has made substantial progress this year, there are still many more unemployed workers than jobs available. When that's the case, workers don't have leverage to demand higher wages and better working conditions-or a day off to care for one's dying mother. If they make such demands, employers can find a replacement worker from the unemployed. That seems to be what happened with Frank Walsh.

Faces of minimum wage: Chasing the American dream in fits, starts

Source: Maudlyne Ihejirika , Chicago Sun-Times

Guzman's take-home pay: $900 to $1,100 monthly. That's with a 31-hour week at McDonald's and four days work at a factory he gets from a temporary placement firm.
"McDonald's doesn't pay me enough - $8.25, or $8.75 is a kind of a hopeless minimum wage," he says. "In order to make enough to survive, on my days off I go to a temporary agency. I wait there until they call me to see if there's any work opportunity."

December 11, 2014

Report Says Future Of Low Paid Workers Is Bleak

Source: Bill Hudson, CBS Minnesota

Despite the recent success in raising Minnesota's minimum wage, a new report paints a bleak outlook for the state's lowest paid workers. The worker rights groups, Working America and Take Action Minnesota, say a lot more is still needed to lift 622,000 Minnesotans out of poverty.

Striking S.F. airport restaurant workers: Bring your own food

Source: Henry K. Lee, SFGate

Travelers at San Francisco International Airport, already grappling with delayed or cancelled flights because of Thursday's big storm, may also want to bring their own food because of a 48-hour strike by restaurant workers.
About 1,000 workers, who have been working without a contract for more than a year, will be on strike through Friday. Restaurants throughout the airport are affected, according to the union, Unite Here Local 2.

State board considers wage boost for tipped workers

Source: Steve Barnes, Timesunion

Hospitality-industry representatives and advocates for tipped employees testified before the state Wage Board on Tuesday as it considers whether to continue to allow restaurant waistaff and bartenders to be paid below the minimum wage. The state minimum wage is due to increase from $8 an hour to $8.75 on Dec. 31. The wage for restaurant and hospitality workers who earn tips would remain between $4.90 and $5.65, depending on classification, with the hourly difference between that and full minimum wage to be paid by employers if tips don't cover it.

Wal-Mart managers illegally threatened, intimidated Calif. workers, NLRB judge rules (Video)

Source: David A. Arnott, Dallas Business Journal

The New York Times explained that the workers are not unionized, but are supported by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, and over the past three years they have staged various protests against the retailer, recently attempting to demonstrate on Black Friday and calling for $15-per-hour wages. Among the specifics in the ruling, the Times said, the judge found six employees at a Richmond, California, store were illegally punished for participating in a 2012 one-day strike, that managers had tried to intimidate workers by threatening to close a store if too many workers joined a union, and that Wal-Mart's (NYSE: WMT) dress code "unduly restricted associates' right to wear union insignia."

December 10, 2014

US retail workers need a new bill of rights

Source: Amy B. Dean, AlJazeera America

These conditions have led retail workers to conclude that they need a new form of protection: a bill of rights. In San Francisco, labor activists are demanding just that, and the idea is gaining traction. In a historic victory for low-wage employees, on Nov. 25, the city's Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the nation's first Retail Workers Bill of Rights. While San Francisco already had a law requiring the minimum wage to be pegged to inflation, the Retail Workers Bill of Rights will provide much-needed stability and flexibility for 40,000 workers at many of the city's retail establishments.

December 9, 2014

Court: No pay for Amazon warehouse security checks

Source: Sam Hananel, AP

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that warehouse workers who fill orders for retail giant Amazon don't have to be paid for time spent waiting to pass through security checks at the end of their shifts.
The unanimous decision is a victory for the growing number of retailers and other companies that routinely screen workers to prevent employee theft. The justices said federal law does not require companies to pay employees for the extra time because it is unrelated to their primary job duties.

U.S. top court rejects worker pay for security-screening time

Source: Lawrence Hurley, Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday handed a victory to employers over worker compensation, ruling that companies do not have to pay employees for the time they spend undergoing security checks at the end of their shifts in a case involving an Amazon.com Inc warehousing contractor.

Workers at Amazon Warehouses Won't Get Paid for Waiting in Security Lines

Source: Josh Eidelson , Bloomberg Buisnessweek

Companies that make their workers go through security screenings before they can go home don't have to pay them for the time they spend waiting in line to be checked, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday morning. All nine justices sided with an Amazon.com (AMZN) contractor, Integrity Staffing Solutions, on the grounds that a lawsuit by warehouse workers should have been dismissed.

U.S. economy added 321,000 jobs in November; unemployment rate holds at 5.8%

Source: Chico Harlan, Washington Post

On Friday, the government announced that the U.S. economy added 321,000 jobs in November, the best figure in nearly three years, keeping the country on track for the strongest annual job growth since the late 1990s. That performance, coming even as other advanced economies slump, has lifted hopes among economists and U.S. officials that a slow, six-year recovery is beginning to yield substantial benefits for ordinary workers.

December 8, 2014

My Whole Foods nightmare: How a full-time job there left me in poverty

Source: Nick Rahaim, Salon

After years of organizing in secret, building bonds over beer and supporting co-workers when issues have arisen with management, team members at a Whole Foods Market in San Francisco disrupted the normal workday and demanded a $5 an hour pay increase last month. More than 20 employees beckoned store management to the floor and presented a petition signed by more than 50 of the store's workers calling for more paid time off, better health and retirement benefits as well as steady, consistent schedules.

U.S. Supreme Court Considers Pregnancy Discrimination Act at Oral Argument

Source: Tyler Anderson, The National Law Review

On December 3, 2014, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Young v. United Parcel Service, 707 F.3d 437 (4th Cir. 2013), a long-anticipated and widely discussed case addressing the scope of the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act ("PDA") as it relates to light-duty accommodations in the workplace. This case is relevant to employers for two reasons. First, if the petitioner's argument wins over the Court, employers across the country would be mandated to make independent accommodations for pregnant employees, regardless of the employer's current policy. Second, if the petitioner's argument loses under the PDA, the door is still open for a Title VII disparate impact claim, which, if successful, would require employers to amend their light-duty and paid leave policies nationwide.

December 7, 2014

The Workers Who Grow Our Food In Mexico Often Live In Deplorable Conditions

Source: Carman Tse, Laist

Although the produce from Mexico undergoes some of the strictest safety regulations in order to ensure they can be sold Stateside, a recent investigative report has found that means of production behind that food still has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to workers rights and living conditions.

December 5, 2014

Black poverty is state violence, too: Why struggles for criminal justice and living wage are uniting

Source: Sarah Jaffe, Salon

For the second time in a week, the swelling protests against police brutality and an unequal criminal justice system coincided with planned labor strikes at low-wage employers yesterday, and for the second time, protesters joined forces, combining the struggle for a living wage with the struggle for the right to live free of police violence.

Wage Watch: Study finds 'alarming' wage violations by employers in two states

Source: Claire Zillman, Fortune

After examining workforce data of both states from October 2010 through September 2011, the DOL discovered that 3.5% of wage and salary workers in California and 6.5% of such employees in New York are paid less than the minimum wage. Those figures increase to 10.9% and 19.5%, respectively, when only workers in low-wage jobs are considered.

Zillow hit with age discrimination lawsuit over behavior at California offices: Sales staffer asked whether 'too old to close'

Source: Blair Hanley Frank, GeekWire

According to the complaint, Jennifer Young, a 41-year-old employee on Zillow's sales team, had a sales manager who would ask her if she was "too old to close" and told her to "try and keep up with us." According to the complaint, Young was a victim of a "pervasive culture of retaliation and harassment at Zillow that placed a premium on sales and a shortfall on human decency and basic employment rights."

Fast-Food Strikes Hit Record Numbers, Span 190 Cities

Source: Josh Eidelson , Bloomberg Buisnessweek

Rather than organizing store-by-store to try to win unionization elections (which, even if successful, could just trigger fast-food corporations to dump the franchisees), or trying to shut down substantial numbers of stores with strikes, the fast-food effort uses one-day walkouts, usually involving just a minority of the workforce, that anchor broader campaigns of media, political, and legal pressure. The idea is to compel the top national fast-food corporations to agree to hike pay and make it easier for workers to unionize. Versions of that strategy have spread to other industries, because the same challenges are afflicting organizing efforts there as well.

Is a radical 'no email' policy moral failing?

Source: David R. Wheeler, CNN

Germans work on average 35 hours per week by law. Yet, Germany hasn't lost any edge as an industrial powerhouse. In fact, Germany has remained Europe's biggest economy, even helping to keep the continent afloat during the global recession. (Though lately, growth has been modest for Germany as anxiety looms over Europe' drag economy.)

December 4, 2014

A Burger Joint Pays $15 An Hour. And, Yes, It's Making Money

Source: Allison Aubrey, NPR

When Moo Cluck Moo opened its first location almost two years ago, the starting pay for all workers was $12 an hour. The idea, according to co-founder Brian Parker, was to train everyone to multitask.
No one is just flipping burgers. All of the workers are expected to be jacks-of-all-trades: They bake buns from scratch daily, they house-make aioli and prepare made-to-order grass-fed burgers and free-range chicken sandwiches.

It's not just fast food: The Fight for $15 is for everyone now

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

"The fact of the matter is, it's not just fast food where you're being treated a certain way," Killebrew says. "It's retail, it's security, it's hospitals, it's everywhere, where you're not making the money you need to make to maintain." The $15 an hour campaign, which began with a few hundred workers at walking off their shifts at a handful of restaurants in New York two years ago, has metastasized. Home health-care aides joined protests in September. Federal contract workers took up the cry last month.

December 3, 2014

Pregnancy discrimination claim faces high-court hurdle

Source: Richard Wolf, USA Today

The Supreme Court struggled Wednesday to find a clear reason why pregnant women deserve accommodations at work.
Faced with Peggy Young's lawsuit against United Parcel Service for refusing to give her light duty during her pregnancy, conservative justices said she was seeking a form of "most favored nation" status used in trade agreements - treatment equal to the best-treated workers.
Liberal justices saw it differently, arguing that Young was "least favored" by UPS because very few workers with sicknesses, injuries or disabilities were denied the accommodations she sought.

Capitalism is officially broken: Even doggy day care workers have non-competes now

Source: Matt O'Brien, Washington Post

It's so absurd it almost seems like a Woody Allen-esque meditation on the limits of capitalism. But here it is: Camp Bow Wow, a dog-sitting chain, makes its workers sign non-compete agreements that bar them from plying any of the "trade secrets" they learn walking dogs at any other animal day care centers for up to two years, according to the Huffington Post. The company declined to discuss the matter with HuffPo.

Arbitration Clauses Trap Consumers with Fine Print

Source: Jeff Sovern, American Banker

As we expected, few respondents realized that they were giving up their rights. But even we were surprised by how many people suffered from serious misconceptions. For example, four times as many respondents believed that they could bring a class action under the contract as those who recognized that they could not.

Airport Workers At 10 Airports To Join With $15 Hour Fast Food Strikers December 4

Source: John Goglia, Forbes

Airport workers at 10 major airports – including JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Seattle – have written to the CEOs of the six major US Airlines – Delta, American, JetBlue, United, Southwest and Alaska – stating that "as airport workers we have pledged to stand together with people who work in home care and fast food to fight for $15 an hour wages.

December 1, 2014

It Is Time for a Retail Workers' Bill of Rights

Source: John Nichols, The Nation

Instead of simply celebrating the firms that did treat their workers well or condemning the firms that did not, it is time to turn up the volume on demands for workplace standards-and to recognize them as essential complements to demands for living-wage pay. "Erratic, constantly changing schedules aren't just a nightmare for workers, they're bad for business," says national Jobs With Justice Executive Director Sarita Gupta, who argues that there is a crying need to "adopt 21st-century policies that keep up with the changing nature of today's workplace."

Women Who Work

Source: The Editorial Board, New York Times

If Peggy Young, who was a driver for United Parcel Service, had had an accident that limited her ability to lift heavy packages, or even lost her license because of driving while intoxicated, U.P.S. would have allowed her to go on "light duty" or assigned her another type of work. But Ms. Young got pregnant. When her doctors told her not to lift packages over 20 pounds to avoid jeopardizing the pregnancy, U.P.S. refused to accommodate her and effectively compelled her to go on unpaid medical leave.

November 30, 2014

Former UPS driver at center of pregnancy discrimination case before Supreme Court

Source: Brigid Schulte, Washington Post

All Peggy Young wanted, she says, was to drive.
But when her bosses at UPS told her to take unpaid leave until she was no longer pregnant, Young sued, saying the company violated the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and failed to treat a pregnant Young the way it treated other employees. She lost twice in courts in Maryland, which agreed with UPS that Young did not prove the company discriminated against her because of her pregnancy. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in her appeal of the closely watched case.

November 28, 2014

Black Friday protests held against Wal-Mart in Salem, Danvers

Source: Dustin Luca , The Salem News

Members of the Massachusetts Jobs with Justice and Massachusetts Interfaith Worker Justice coalitions came together at about 50 Wal-Mart locations around the state to demand higher wages and better working conditions for employees that they say don't have adequate rights on the job.

November 26, 2014

Five Ways to Measure Black Friday Strikes at Wal-Mart

Source: Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg Buisnessweek

Will striking workers capture media attention¡ The well-worn images of Black Friday-door-busting lines, overloaded shopping carts, fights over discounted items-don't yet include striking retail workers. OUR Walmart clearly wants to change that. Like other union-backed "corporate campaigns" waged against name-brand companies, the Walmart effort is in large part a media project. So far unable (mostly) to disrupt the flow of Walmart products, organizers now want to disrupt the giant retailer's image by publicizing everything from carbon emissions and alleged bribery to the understocked store shelves.

What If Your Boss Suddenly Told You to Come to Work on Thanksgiving¡

Source: Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones

According to a recent study by Susan Lambert, a professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, nearly half of young part-time retail employees receive their work schedules less than a week in advance. This is partly a symptom of retailers' increasing reliance on computerized "on call" scheduling systems that track weather predictions and real-time sales data to schedule work shifts-maximizing efficiency but wreaking havoc on workers' ability to manage their personal schedules.

Not All Staples Employees Get Thanksgiving Off in Massachusetts

Source: Adam Vaccaro, Boston

Here's a little twist on Massachusetts Blue Laws. While they'll keep all of Staples's in-state stores closed on Thanksgiving, there's one major Bay State location they don't apply to: the Framingham corporate headquarters.
Across most of the rest of the country, Staples is opening at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving night (because nothing says "Merry Christmas" like office supplies!), which means some employees at the chain's "home office" will have to work, too.

November 25, 2014

Why Living-Wage Laws Are Not Enough-and Minimum-Wage Laws Aren't Either

Source: Jonathan Lange, The Nation

Those who believe, as I do, that workers deserve a living wage and decent benefits, can't ignore the fact that twenty years of mobilizing around higher minimum wages and legislated living-wage standards have not closed the wage gap. That gap has continued to grow. And the rate of growth has accelerated. It's not a gap that will be filled by legislated solutions. It can and will only be filled by organized workers willing to fight for better wages and benefits in their own workplaces.

San Francisco is about to pass America's first-ever chain-store worker's bill of rights

Source: Rob Wile, Fusion

The bill says any national chains' store in city limits would have to give priority to existing par-time employees when offering additional available hours before hiring new part-time employees to fill them. Current practices allow big box chains to avoid hiring full-time employees to avoid cost increases, and California in particular has one of the highest involuntarily part-time employment rates in the country.

San Francisco passes first-in-nation limits on worker schedules

Source: Marianne LeVine, Politico

San Francisco is now the country's first jurisdiction to limit how chain stores can alter their employees' schedules.
Other states and cities are considering similar statutory restraints. Work scheduling rules are therefore poised to follow localized minimum wage increases and paid leave mandates as the newest instance of state and local government stepping in to fill the void left by the decades-long decline of private-sector labor unions.

When Raising the Minimum Wage Isn't Enough

Source: Alana Semuels, The Atlantic

Kulsic only gets 33 to 35 hours a week, and struggles to pay for heat, food, and transportation. He typically rides a bike the three miles to work, but his bike broke, so these days, he walks or takes the bus. He's asked for more hours-or more consistent hours, at least-but his employer, whose name he asked me not to use, doesn't want to give any worker more than 35 hours because then they'll be classified as full-time, he said.

Administration Warns Employers: Don't Dump Sick Workers From Plans

Source: Jay Hancock, NPR

As employers try to minimize expenses under the health law, the Obama administration has warned them against paying high-cost workers to leave the company medical plan and buy coverage elsewhere.

Such a move would unlawfully discriminate against employees based on their health status, three federal agencies said in a bulletin issued in early November.

November 24, 2014

Doggy Day Care Chain Makes Pet Sitters Sign Noncompetes To Protect 'Trade Secrets'

Source: Dave Jamieson, HuffingtonPost

Camp Bow Wow is a doggy day care franchise. The company has more than 100 North American locations where pets board overnight, and it also offers in-home pet-sitting services. Camp Bow Wow workers look after dogs. But before they can do that, they apparently have to sign strict noncompete contracts similar to the ones used by Jimmy John's.

Why Wal-Mart Workers Keep Using One-Day Strikes

Source: Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg Buisnessweek

One-day strikes don't shut down the workplace like iconic strikes of yore did (and some workers, like Chicago teachers, still can). But if done right, they can accomplish some of what those walkouts did: Embarrass companies, estrange them from their customers, and engage fellow workers and the broader public by disrupting business as usual and creating a public spectacle. Instead of halting production, they anchor broader campaigns of political, media, legal, and consumer pressure aimed at getting management to budge.

Wage theft too often going unpunished

Source: Albor Ruiz, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

For four years, Lino, 53, worked 13 hours a day, six days a week stocking shelves at Rosemary's Farm, a small grocery store in Flushing. His weekly salary was $350, that is, about $4.65 an hour. In October 2008 he was fired after protesting to his boss about his meager - and illegal - salary and filed a complaint at the Department of Labor. Six years have passed, and Lino is still waiting for justice.

November 23, 2014

Billion-dollar California salad company exploits undocumented migrants, say workers and Teamsters

Source: Rory Carroll, The Guardian

A half-dozen current and former workers interviewed by the Guardian alleged the company took advantage of undocumented migrants from Mexico and central America to keep workers on "temporary" status year after year, leaving them vulnerable to low pay, dangerous conditions, intimidation and summary firings.

November 22, 2014

In the run-up to Black Friday, Walmart and strikers wage a war of words

Source: Lydia DePillis, The Washington Post

In advance of coordinated strikes at Wal-Marts across the country on the day after Thanksgiving, a labor union-backed group is accusing the world's biggest retailer of driving its associates into starvation - and Wal-Mart is fighting back harder than ever, saying it's just providing low-cost groceries to the masses.

November 21, 2014

Why wage growth disparity tells the story of America's half-formed economic recovery

Source: Chico Harlan, The Washington Post

With unemployment down to 5.8 percent, the country's half-formed recovery is often described with a convenient shorthand: We have jobs but little wage growth. But stagnancy is just an average, and for many Americans, the years since the financial crisis have pushed them farther from the line, according to a detailed analysis of government labor statistics by The Washington Post.

Wal-Mart workers plan Black Friday protests for higher pay

Source: Shan Li, Los Angeles Times

Wal-Mart workers and their supporters plan to launch protests at stores across the country on Black Friday to push for higher wages and better working conditions for employees.
Organizers say rallies and marches will occur at 1,600 Wal-Mart locations on the day after Thanksgiving in what they say will be the largest protests ever against the nation's biggest retailer.

November 20, 2014

Southwest pilots union seeks mediation in contract talks

Source: Andrea Ahles, Star Telegram

The Southwest Airlines pilots union filed for federal mediators to intervene in its contract talks with the Dallas-based carrier Thursday.

The two sides have been negotiating a new contract for more than two years, and the union says they remain far apart on several issues

November 19, 2014

Atlantic City casino workers protest Trump Taj Mahal shutdown on boardwalk

Source: J.P. Sullivan, New Jersey

The facility is slated to close on Dec. 12 after going into bankruptcy earlier this year. Billionaire Carl Icahn has expressed interest in reopening the casino, but only if the facility can secure state and local tax breaks and concessions from the union.

Hartford Teachers Union Speaks Out Over 'Unrealistic' Goals

Source: Vanessa de la Torre, Hartford Courant

Federation President Andrea Johnson asked Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez to remove the "unrealistic" targets expected for students in the current school year, calling them "outrageous new demands." Teachers should be able to develop the goals for their students, she said.

Kmart Workers Are Latest to Push Back on Thanksgiving Hours

Source: Lauren Coleman-Lochner, Bloomberg Buisnessweek

Almost 5,000 people have signed a petition calling for Kmart to ensure that its workers have enough time off on Thanksgiving, part of a backlash against retailers that are open during the holiday.
"We understand that it is retail, and employees understand that they have to work hours on holidays," the campaign's organizer, Jillian Fisher, said on the website coworker.org. "However, Kmart's unnecessary hours are forcing its employees to miss out on important time with their families."

State Supreme Court will decide whether "right to work" covers state workers

Source: Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio

Four unions representing 35,000 state civil service workers filed the challenge. They say the right-to-work law does not apply to them because of the Michigan Constitution and the independent authority it gives the civil service system.

November 18, 2014

Mediator unable to revive negotiations in FairPoint strike

Source: http://www.pressherald.com/2014/11/18/talks-between-fairpoint-unions-fail/, Portland Press Herald

A federal mediator's attempt to spark renewed talks between FairPoint Communications and its striking workers fizzled Tuesday.
That failure means the next outside attempt at resolving the monthlong strike probably will come from the National Labor Relations Board, which is considering a complaint filed by the unions.

New data reveals it's not just high-tech companies using H-1B guest workers

Source: Matthew Yglesias, Vox

It's no surprise to see that California is the number one home state of companies looking to bring in foreign tech workers. But California's number one user of H-1B workers last year wasn't one of Silicon Valley's famous consumer facing tech giants. It's HCL America, not exactly a household name, which refers to itself as "a leading IT consulting and outsourcing software development company."

Fairpoint, Striking Workers Return to Table

Source: Associated Press, MPBNnews

FairPoint and the unions are at odds over a company-imposed contract that froze the old pension plan and requires workers to contribute to health care costs for the first time. Other provisions allow the company to hire contractors and eliminate retiree health care benefits for current workers.

November 17, 2014

Supreme Court to hear right-to-work arguments in Jan.

Source: Justin A. Hinkley, LansingStateJournal

The Michigan Supreme Court will in January hear oral arguments on whether the state's controversial right-to-work law applies to state employees and on another case related to state employee pensions.

Workers' rights expand under proposed S.F. ordinances

Source: Marisa Lagos and Jill Tucker, SFGate

San Francisco restaurant and retail workers could soon have more predictable schedules, more opportunity for full-time work and more rights in general after the Board of Supervisors' budget committee sent two proposed ordinances to the full board over the objections of the business community.

UPMC ordered to reinstate workers who tried to unionize employees

Source: Karen Kane, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

UPMC says it plans to appeal a legal finding that the health care giant violated federal labor law when it fired four employees who were involved in unionizing activities.
That finding, contained in a 120-page National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge's opinion, orders UPMC to put the employees back on the payroll within two weeks.

November 15, 2014

Southern California is hotbed for wage theft in garment industry

Source: Tiffany Hsu and Chris Kirkham, LA Times

Company time cards showed more than a dozen employees all clocked in within two minutes of one another - a telltale sign of payroll falsification, according to investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor. This spring, an investigation found that 15 employees were owed more than $33,000 for unpaid work.

November 14, 2014

Lawmakers are starting to talk about making New Mexico a right-to-work state

Source: Niraj Chokshi, Washington Post

Republicans control the New Mexico state legislature for the first time in 60 years, and lawmakers there are beginning to suggest they may use their new majority to restrict union power.

November 13, 2014

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti steps in to stop labor disruption, help curb congestion at Long Beach, Los Angeles ports

Source: Karen Robes Meeks, Los Angeles Daily News

Facing a potential labor disruption that would have further congested the nation's two busiest seaports, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday announced a truce between port truck drivers and one of the three trucking companies involved in the dispute.

No, 2016 Won't Be the Year of the $20 Minimum Wage

Source: Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg Buisnessweek

In the midterm elections, four red states-Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota-passed minimum wage increases. Those votes mean that, starting next year, a majority of states will have minimum wages higher than the federal rate. The last time that happened, in 2007, Democrats newly in control of Congress used their power to pass the first national increase in a decade, from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour. It's extremely unlikely the Republicans who took back the Senate in the midterm elections will do the same. "Waiting for Congress to act is frustrating and, at this point, pointless," says Ed Flanagan, a former Alaska labor commissioner who spent a year campaigning for his state's new increase, from $7.75 to $9.75.

November 12, 2014

Coal Mines Keep Operating Despite Injuries, Violations And Millions In Fines

Source: Howard Berkes, NPR

Citations and the fines that go with them are key components of the federal law designed to protect miners. They are supposed to make violations expensive - costing hundreds of thousands of dollars for the most serious offenses - and create an incentive for mine owners to keep workers safe.
Yet on that December day in 2010, as Blankenship lay pinned and in pain, Aracoma Alma owed $200,000 in overdue mine safety fines, federal records show. The penalty system that is designed to discourage unsafe practices failed Blankenship, and his story is not unique.

Hearing on increase in minimum wage for tipped workers Thursday

Source: TheBuffaloNews

Gov. Cuomo's Department of Labor Wage Board pulls into the Mahoney State Office Building from noon to 3 p.m. Thursday for the latest in a series of statewide public hearings to discuss an increase in the minimum wage for tipped workers.

VW to Allow Labor Groups to Represent Workers at Chattanooga Plant

Source: STEVEN GREENHOUSE, The New York Times

Volkswagen announced a new policy on Wednesday that was likely to allow several labor groups, including the United Automobile Workers, to represent employees at the company's Chattanooga, Tenn., plant.
The U.A.W. applauded the move because it would mean partial recognition of the union and regular discussions between management and the U.A.W., and perhaps other labor groups as well. For years, the union has been straining to get a foothold in any of the foreign-owned auto plants in the South.

A ton of people didn't vote because they couldn't get time off from work

Source: Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post

You've heard the news by now that turnout in the 2014 midterms was the lowest in any election since 1942, when voters were busy with, you know, other stuff. In short, only 36 percent of the voting-age population bothered to cast a ballot last week. A large proportion of them simply aren't registered to vote at all. But past numbers suggest upwards of 20 percent of Americans adults were registered to vote, but couldn't be bothered to - what's their excuse¡

This Is How the Big Mac Is About to Change

Source: Martha C. White, Time

People made dire predictions about the fate of your favorite drive-thru indulgences. Last year, an article in Bloomberg Businessweek predicted that the price of a Big Mac would go up by a dollar if the minimum wage was raised to $15 an hour. (None of the state-level new minimum wage laws call for increasing it that much, but $15 is the number union-backed labor groups have been campaigning for.)

November 11, 2014

Corporate America's oily trick: How big business uses "yellow-dog contracts" to crush basic rights

Source: David Seligman and Nick Clark, Salon

This month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it is suing a regional restaurant group that owns a number of fast-food franchises, including Applebee's, Panera Bread and Chevy's, because the group requires all of its employees and applicants to sign a "forced arbitration" clause as a condition of employment – that is, if these employees want to work in the group's restaurants, they must sign away their right to hold their employer accountable in court for violating state or federal employment laws.

November 10, 2014

West Coast Dock Workers Strike Could Cost $2 Billion A Day

Source: Erik Anderson, KPBS

The 13,600 International Longshore and Warehouse Union members have been working under terms of an expired contract since May. The nation's retailers and manufacturers predict a strike could cost the U.S. economy $2 billion a day.

Supreme Court Weighs Case Over Cuts to Retirees' Health Benefits

Source: ADAM LIPTAK, New York Times

The case, M&G Polymers USA v. Tackett, No. 13-1010, concerned a union contract at a chemical plant in Apple Grove, W.Va. Like many other collective bargaining agreements, it did not directly say whether health benefits for retirees would vest.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, ruled for the retirees, relying on its own 1983 decision, one that put a thumb on the scale in favor of vesting. The 1983 decision, known as Yard-Man, was disavowed by lawyers on both sides of Monday's argument, and it did not seem popular with the justices, either.

November 9, 2014

The Rise of Invisible Unemployment

Source: Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

It's a problem best summed up by Matthew O'Brien in the Washington Post. As the labor market approaches full employment, there should be more pressure on wages to rise. In the graph below, that would look like a trend-line pointing up and to the left. Instead, as you can see in a half-a-second glance, the trend-line is a blob and it's certainly not pointing up. The unemployment rate has fallen below 6 percent, and earnings growth is flat.

Tipping point on tipping

Source: Lois Kazakoff, SFGate

My Chronicle colleague Paolo Lucchesi tapped a cultural nerve last month when he reported that five Bay Area restaurants would drop tipping in favor of a service charge. Is this the beginning of the end of a deeply ingrained American custom (and tax dodge) or a rational attempt to keep restaurant prices within reach and meet new minimum wage laws.

November 8, 2014

Hundreds of striking workers rally against FairPoint

Source: Sarah Delage, WCSH6

FairPoint workers from two unions have been on strike for more than three weeks now. They say the company offered them a bad contract with hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts that puts their jobs in jeopardy.
"I have lived in Maine my whole life, my children I'm raising in Cumberland, and the message here today is we need to keep good jobs in the state of Maine," Serina DeWolfe said. "It's that simple. No outsourcing, no subcontracting."

November 7, 2014

US economy fueling strong hiring if not pay gains

Source: CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, Boston

In the same week that voters signaled discontent with the U.S. economy, the government issued a report that showed employers have added at least 200,000 jobs for nine straight months - the longest such stretch since 1995.
The U.S. job market is hardly without its own weaknesses. Americans' average hourly pay rose only slightly last month, a negative note in an otherwise solid report. Stagnant wages have been a chronic weakness in the job market since the recession ended.

U.S. economy adds 214,000 in October; unemployment rate sinks to 5.8 percent

Source: Chico Harlan, Washington Post

The unemployment rate also ticked down to 5.8 percent, the lowest level in six years, even as more workers entered the job market.
The latest encouraging numbers keep the nation on pace for its best labor market year since 1999 and stand in noted contrast to a wave of discontent that helped Republicans sweep a round of midterm elections this week. Though wage growth has been sluggish in recent years, Americans - helped by falling oil prices - are seeing their purchasing power rise.

November 6, 2014

The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare

Source: Matt Taibbi , Rolling Stone

Fleischmann is the central witness in one of the biggest cases of white-collar crime in American history, possessing secrets that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon late last year paid $9 billion (not $13 billion as regularly reported – more on that later) to keep the public from hearing.

Your Guide to Changing Paid Sick Leave Laws

Source: Karen E. Klein, Bloomberg Buisnessweek

So far, the new laws are in effect in just a handful of cities, starting with San Francisco in 2007, and the state of Connecticut. Earlier this year, New York City became the largest jurisdiction to implement mandatory sick leave, affecting more than 1 million people who previously had to forgo pay to stay home sick. An estimated 6.5 million workers will get the benefit of at least three paid sick days annually when California's mandate goes into effect in July 2015.

November 5, 2014

Google to offer FoundationOne cancer tests to employees

Source: Janelle Nanos, BetaBoston

Google will begin covering the cost of administering its FoundationOne and FoundationOne Heme tests to "all employees and their families navigating cancer treatments." The company's tests identify genetic mutations found in either cancerous solid tumors or cells affected by blood-related cancers like leukemia or lymphoma, and then identifies targeted drug therapies.

San Francisco votes in $15 minimum wage

Source: Ben Rooney, CNN

Under the new law, wages will rise to $11.05 on Jan.1, then $12.25 in May before increasing every year until they reach $15 in 2018. After that, increases will be tied to inflation in the Bay Area.
San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee applauded the result and said voters "sent a message loudly and clearly" that "we can take on the growing gap between rich and poor."

Low-wage workers applaud sick-time victory

Source: Katie Johnston, The Boston Globe

With the passage of the earned sick time ballot measure on Tuesday, these workers will no longer have to choose between taking care of themselves - or their children - and paying the bills. Nearly 1 million workers in the state who don't get sick time - including part-time and temporary employees - will start accruing an hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, starting July 1.

State's only approved initiative concerns teachers

Source: Associated Press, The Gazette

Proposition 104 will change the way teachers and school districts negotiate.
The measure won with nearly 70 percent of the vote, the only one of four ballot measures to be approved by voters.
It directs Colorado to join a handful of states in requiring school boards to allow the public to see negotiations on collective bargaining agreements, or union contracts.

November 4, 2014

Oregon Canvassers Workers Push for Unionization at Union-Funded Workplace

Source: Shane Burley, In These Times

The workers are from Fieldworks, one of the largest political canvassing businesses in Portland, Oregon, and the nation as a whole. Their complaints are familiar those made by campaign workers in a slew of organizing in recent months: a lack of transparency when it comes to direction, minimal say in workplace decisions, reports of wage theft and labor law non-compliance, a lack of a living wage.

Why Do Workers Feel So Unhappy¡

Source: Bourree Lam, The Atlantic

Research on worker happiness has linked it to 12 percent more productivity, and businesses with happy employees beat their peers by 3.8 percent in the stock market. A Gallup report tallies up the cost of unhappy, disengaged employees to the U.S. economy at $350 billion annually due to lost productivity.

November 3, 2014

In States Voting on Minimum Wage, Even Critics Sound Like Supporters

Source: Steve Greenhouse, New York Times

"These groups have noticed that minimum-wage increases can easily pass - they have seen this in the past few years," said John G. Matsusaka, executive director of the Initiative and Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California. "They can't get it through the legislatures in these red states, so they do it this way."

November 2, 2014

More employees are in workplace retirement plans

Source: Diane Stafford, TheDetroitNews

Among all Americans, Census data indicates that slightly more than half - 51.3 percent - worked last year for an employer or union that sponsored retirement plans. The 40.8 percent participation rate shows that three out of four wage and salary workers chose to participate in their employment-based retirement plan.

October 31, 2014

"Working full-time and yet still needing public benefits": Leading expert urges McDonald's to come to the table

Source: Elias Isquith, Salon

We've had a [fast-food workers] campaign that's been going for almost two years. The central demands of the campaign are for an increase in wages, up to $15 an hour, and for a union…Part of the reason, in my view, that the campaign has gotten so much attention is that it's raising issues that are pretty central to our economy and our society: wages, jobs, the future of the labor movement; all in some ways going to a broader theme of equality.

Meet The Working Mother Taking Her Pregnancy Discrimination Case To The Supreme Court

Source: Dave Jamieson, HuffingtonPost

Based on the doctor's note, UPS placed Young on unpaid leave, an all too common experience for women nationwide. Although UPS often put workers with other conditions on light duty, it told Young that such accommodations wouldn't apply to an "off-the-job" condition such as her pregnancy. Not only would she lose her income, she would have to suddenly switch to her husband's health insurance plan, changing the hospitals at which she could potentially give birth.

October 30, 2014

Has the National Labor Relations Board opened 'Pandora's Box'¡

Source: Ned Resnikoff, MSNBC

The NLRB's decision was a victory for the Fight For 15 movement of striking fast food workers and the labor groups that back them. By potentially making corporations like McDonald's legally liable for the workplace conditions at its franchised locations, the NLRB has made it possible for the labor movement to exert direct legal pressure on them. In Caldeira's words, "the floodgates have opened because of the general counsel's opinion."

San Francisco to raise minimum wage to $11.05 per hour

Source: Daniel Wallis , Reuters

"Our residents deserve to be able to live where they work and support their families," Kim said in a joint statement with Lee. California, which is one of 21 states with a higher minimum wage than the federal level of $7.25 per hour, recently hiked its statewide hourly minimum rate to $9, from $8 previously. The statewide rate is scheduled to climb to $10 in 2016.

Election Day Could Bring Raises To 680,000 Low-Wage Workers

Source: Ben Casselman, FiveThirtyEightPolitics

Beyond politics, however, Tuesday's votes carry real-world implications for hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers. If all five initiatives pass, and if the Illinois legislature acts in accordance with voters' wishes, about 680,000 workers would get a raise, according to data from the Current Population Survey.

Robert J. Samuelson: Wages stay stagnate as workers fear switching or losing jobs

Source: Robert J. Samuelson, Deseret News

Workers are so insecure that they're afraid to abandon their present jobs for something better; therefore, companies don't have to pay higher wages to retain them. Not surprisingly, labor compensation - wages and fringe benefits - has barely kept pace with inflation at about 2 percent annually since mid-2009.

Chipotle workers say they work extra hours for no pay

Source: Ben Rooney, ABC

The class-action lawsuits filed in Colorado and Minnesota in the last two months allege that Chipotle routinely requires its hourly employees to work "off the clock" without pay.

October 29, 2014

Warning about your right to sue: How you could be giving that up and not know it.

Source: Jonathan Walsh , ABC

Companies say that binding arbitration can make it easier and less costly for both sides to settle disputes. But, there are concerns that giving up the right to sue can deprive consumers of an important legal protection.

With Supreme Court case pending, UPS reverses policy on pregnant workers

Source: Brigid Schulte, The Washington Post

For years, as the Young case has wound its way through federal district and circuit courts, UPS has maintained that, under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it is legal to only give light duty or other work accommodations to employees injured on the job. And though pregnant workers may temporarily be sidelined from physically demanding jobs with pregnancy-related back trouble, gestational diabetes, carpal tunnel syndrome and other physical ailments, those injuries didn't happen on the job. So no light duty.

October 28, 2014

Suit seeks minimum wage for student athletes

Source: Sara Ganim, WBalTV

"Work-study participants who sell programs or usher at athletic events are paid, on average, $9.03 an hour," states the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Indiana. "But student athletes whose performance creates such student jobs in the athletic department are paid nothing."

Jimmy John's workers fight for a union

Source: Rachel Cohen, City Paper

On Aug. 9, with support from the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a radical union founded in 1905 that gained a reputation for organizing across class, race, gender, and occupational lines, Baltimore Jimmy John's workers presented their list of demands to management, which included one paid sick day per month, a transparent disciplinary system for both workers and managers, and wage parity with their landlord, the Hilton, that has unionized employees making between $10.75-$13 per hour. Wages at Jimmy John's hover around $7.25.

October 27, 2014

What's a 'Living Wage' in Wisconsin¡

Source: Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg Buisnessweek

At issue is unusual language in Wisconsin's century-old minimum wage statute. Rather than just establishing a wage floor, a 1913 law also states that the wage should be "a living wage," and it allows Wisconsinites to bring complaints to the state Department of Workforce Development if they believe it falls short. The executive branch then has the authority to appoint a wage council to address the issue, or even to raise the wage floor itself, subject to legislative review.

Is your boss making you sick¡

Source: Rebecca Shannonhouse, Washington Post

"The evidence is clear that the leadership qualities of 'bad' bosses over time exert a heavy toll on employees' health," says Jonathan D. Quick, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and a co-author of the book "Preventive Stress Management in Organizations." "The evidence is also clear that despite the rationalizations some leaders may use to defend their stress-inducing, unsupportive style, such behavior by leaders does not contribute to improved individual performance or organizational productivity."

October 24, 2014

"Hot goods'" hot mess: Minimum wage crackdown sparks backlash

Source: Bridget Huber, Fairwarning

At issue is the little-known "hot goods" provision of federal wage law. It allows the government to halt shipments of goods produced in violation of employment standards. The weapon has been used mainly to combat minimum wage and overtime pay abuses by garment makers but, under President Obama, federal officials have invoked the hot goods provision against farm owners somewhat more often than earlier administrations.

October 23, 2014

California cracks down on wage theft by employers

Source: Marc Lifsher, LA Times

Wage theft is a major part of California's so-called underground economy. The widespread phenomenon, experts say, involves cash payments for goods, services and labor that deprives the state and local governments of an estimated $7 billion a year in tax revenue, according to 2011 legislative research report.

How Fedex is trying to save the business model that saved it millions

Source: Lydia DePillis, The Washington Post

It may seem bizarre in a free-market economy that two people with nearly identical positions would receive starkly different pay and benefits. But it's actually not such a mystery: Brumfield doesn't actually work for FedEx. Brumfield, like 26 other drivers, works for Ride On Trucking, an independent business that contracts with FedEx to deliver packages. He has to comply with all the provisions Ride On Trucking agrees to with FedEx - such as passing a background check and delivering packages within a certain time window - but the company doesn't offer the same wages or benefits that he thinks that FedEx pays its own drivers, who work for its overnight Express division.

Henderson subcontractor ordered to pay back wages

Source: Jennifer Robinson, LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

The U.S. Department of Labor said Wednesday that it ordered Proimtu Mmi-Nv LLC to pay $1.91 million in unpaid wages and fringe benefits owed from June 2013 through April. The department said the company violated prevailing-wage laws for the majority of its employees working at Crescent Dunes, a 110-megawatt solar-power plant under construction near Tonopah that is backed by a $737 million federal loan guarantee.

One-Third of Top Websites Restrict Customers' Right to Sue

Source: Jeremy B. Merrill, The New York Times

These legal provisions, known as forced arbitration clauses and class-action ban clauses, have long been included in complex offline contracts like car leases. But their presence online - in documents people rarely see, let alone read - offers a new twist, with consequences for consumers that are still being sorted out by the courts. As more of everyday life moves online, companies are effectively creating rules that experts and activists say tilt the playing field away from the consumer.

Union files charges claiming unfair labor practices in Lebanon lockout

Source: Chelsey Levingston, Dayton Daily News

The auto parts supplier and United Auto Workers have so far failed to agree on a new labor agreement that determines wages, benefits and seniority. Employees have picketed in front of the manufacturing plant on Kingsview Drive around-the-clock in shifts since June.

October 22, 2014

Jimmy John's under fire for worker contracts

Source: Ben Rooney , CNN

The Huffington Post first reported last week that the sandwich chain requires hourly workers to sign non compete agreements that would prohibit them from working at any other restaurant that sells sandwiches or has a location within three miles of a Jimmy John's for a period of two years.

Workers paid $1.21 an hour to install Fremont tech company's computers

Source: George Avalos, San Jose Mercury News

The incident is a reminder that even amid a labor market that has boomed in recent years in Silicon Valley and other parts of the Bay Area, income inequality and payments of relatively low wages can still be a problem for workers in the region. The workers were paid in Indian rupees.

Can a Firm's Partners Also Be Its Employees¡

Source: Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg Buisnessweek

The accountants lobby is making a rather counterintuitive argument: Partners by definition aren't "employees," so the EEOC shouldn't concern itself with whether firms require them to retire. Partners at accounting firms "control their own work and own and control a portion of their firms," AICPA President Barry Melancon wrote, and so they don't qualify for the same anti-discrimination protections. The letter also argues that retirement rules "allow for the predictable progression of lesser tenured, and often more diverse, individuals into the partnership." In other words, protecting old white guys from forced retirement will leave the ranks of partners less diverse.

October 21, 2014

Maryland Live! employees want minimum wage for training course

Source: Legal Newsline Staff, Washington Examiner

Employees are suing PPE Casino Resorts Maryland LLC for failing to pay them minimum wage during a 12-week training course that they say was disguised as a school and not a work-training program.

October 20, 2014

Schools open after tentative agreement in strike

Source: Associated Press, Times Union

Schools are open in South Burlington, Vermont, after a mediator says teachers and the school board have reached a tentative agreement following a four-day strike.

October 17, 2014

Minnesota adds 7,200 jobs, adding to employment rally

Source: Adam Belz, Duluth News Tribune

Combined with an upward revision to an already robust August report, the state's gain of 7,200 positions in September brings net job growth to 23,000 this year, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Can Uber Fire Drivers for Tweeting About Uber¡

Source: Josh Eidelson, Business Week

"The Ortiz fracas threatened to bring Uber more bad press, but the fact remains that Uber drivers-like many truck drivers and taxi drivers-don't have much else by way of recourse. Because they are independent contractors, not employees, they aren't covered by the 1935 National Labor Relations Act. (Sometimes, as in a case this month at FedEx Ground (FDX), the National Labor Relations Board has sided with workers who say that under law they're actually employees, and not contractors as their companies had claimed.) While independent contractors-from fashion models in New York to Uber drivers in California-have banded together to try to improve their working conditions, they're doing it without the legal protections designed to shield other U.S. workers."

Where the minimum wage stands in each state and how it could change on Nov. 4

Source: Niraj Chokshi, Washington Post

"Even without voter approval or further legislative action, the minimum wage is set to change in at least a dozen states and D.C. over the next few years. Four states will see their minimum wages rise to at least $9 an hour early next year, joining Washington, Oregon and California. By early 2016, two states - Massachusetts and California - will breach a $10-minimum-wage mark. By early 2017, Massachusetts will have an $11 minimum wage."

Does the wage gap hurt women's retirement¡ Maybe

Source: Linsy Hunsaker, Deseret News

"Even though women set aside more of their income, men still end up with more. The report showed an average of $121,201 in male accounts and $78,007 in female accounts. The median account balances of both men and women had a disparity of almost $10,000."

October 16, 2014

FedEx Ground Says Its Drivers Aren't Employees. The Courts Will Decide

Source: Josh Eidelson , Bloomberg Buisnessweek

FedEx Ground didn't pay overtime or contribute to Scalercio's Social Security benefits. That's because since acquiring RPS and introducing its ground service, the FedEx unit has treated drivers as independent contractors, not employees. "The saying around the building was, 'It's their sandbox. We only get to play in it,' " says Scalercio, who no longer drives for FedEx Ground but is one of hundreds of current and former drivers suing the FedEx subsidiary, seeking back pay for overtime worked and for paycheck deductions. (The parent company is not a defendant.)Scalercio earned about $90,000 a year from FedEx, he says, but 40 percent to 60 percent of that was lost to deductions and truck expenses.

You know there's something wrong with the economy when sandwich-makers have non-compete clauses

Source: Matt O'Brien, Washington Post

"This, to use a technical term, is nuts. Non-compete clauses, after all, are usually reserved for top executives who really could take sensitive information-and not how to put together a sub-to a rival. Or at least they used to be."

New York attorney general to sue Papa John's franchisee for shorting wages

Source: Dareh Gregorian, New York Daily News

"Eric Schneiderman will file the $2 million suit Thursday against franchisee New Majority Holdings, which operates five pizzerias in Manhattan, for shorting more than 400 workers out money earned, leaving some earing as little as $5 an hour."

Minimum wage fight moves from Capitol Hill to state and local ballots

Source: Joseph Lawler , Washington Examiner

Five states and two major cities will have minimum wage increases on the ballot on Nov. 4, adding to the 10 states and several big cities that already have raised the wage floor this year.

October 15, 2014

Hubway should extend do-good efforts to its workers

Source: Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe

"But not feeling so good about their Hubway experience are its very own workers. A simmering cauldron of grumbles and grievances led to 30 out of 39 Hubway employees signing authorization cards last week to join the Transport Workers Union Local 100 in New York City. The workers complain of unpredictable and disruptive last-minute scheduling, being told they're not needed after being called in, too many repairs for too few mechanics, unsafe rental vans when the company vans are out of service, and $15 wages that often seem low given the precision, organization, and safety required in some of the company's jobs."

America's fastest-growing profession is joining a very public fight for higher wages

Source: Lydia DePillis, The Washington Post

"Knowing what a difference higher pay can make, Reece has joined a new movement launching this week to raise wages and improve workplace protections for home health-care aides nationwide. Backed by the Service Employees International Union, the effort seeks to replicate the "Fight for 15," a push earlier this year to raise the income of fast-food workers through high-profile strikes."

October 14, 2014

Should home care workers who are not members of the union have to pay any dues¡ Supreme Court said no

Source: Adam Belz , Star Tribune

"It was a 5-4 decision, and it has big implications for Minnesota, where home care workers voted to organize in August. About 27,000 will be part of the bargaining unit, but far fewer than that will be members of the union, so whether the union can collect money from nonmembers is an important determiner in how powerful it will be."

October 7, 2014

Bloomingfoods' Workers, Member-Owners, Rally In Support Of Worker Rights

Source: Associated Press, WBIW

Workers and member-owners from Bloomington's largest grocery cooperative, Bloomingfoods, will rally and march today, in support of Bloomingfoods workers' right to choose a union voice at work through a free and fair process.
They will then march to the co-op board of directors' meeting, where workers' and co-op member-owners will ask the Bloomingfoods' board to respect their workers' choices.

October 6, 2014

Hubway Workers Seeking Union Representation

Source: Adam Vaccaro, Boston.com

Hubway workers are looking to join the same New York-based union, citing the familiarity it already has developed with Alta and bike sharing in general, but would be independently represented.

October 3, 2014

US Labor Department Signs Agreement With Alabama Labor Department To Reduce Misclassification Of Employees

Source: Associated Press, Insurance News

Officials of the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division and the Alabama Department of Labor today signed a memorandum of understanding to protect the rights of employees by preventing their misclassification as something other than employees, such as independent contractors.

Supreme Court to consider workers' rights to sue 401(k) plans

Source: Bloomberg News, Investment News

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider giving 401(k) participants more power to sue their plans over investments that impose excessive fees, accepting an appeal tied to a wave of suits against employers.

Justices Weighing Wages for After-Work Screenings

Source: Steven Greenhouse, The New York Times

After his 12-hour shifts at an Amazon warehouse in Las Vegas, Jesse Busk says, he and 200 other workers typically waited in line for 25 minutes to undergo a security check to see whether they had stolen any goods.

October 2, 2014

Even as some minimum wages increase, Maryland activists call for more sooner

Source: Jenna Johnson, The Washington Post

As a group of Montgomery County politicians gathered Wednesday in Silver Spring to celebrate a minimum-wage increase for many local workers, advocates for the working poor and labor representatives quickly reminded them that their victory is not complete.

Labor commissioner files racial discrimination complaint against Daimler

Source: Bob Heye, KATU Portland News

PORTLAND, Ore. - Oregon's labor commissioner says he's decided to file a discrimination complaint against Daimler Trucks North America because an initial investigation shows it's likely five workers at the company's Swan Island plant were subjected to racial harassment.

Port Chester restaurant boss arrested for labor abuses

Source: Ernie Garcia, The Journal News

If convicted, Parto faces a maximum jail term of one year and fines of $5,000 for each count, plus restitution to five employees, who include cooks, cleaners and cashiers.

The employees sometimes worked more than 70 hours a week between 2010 and 2014, according to Schneiderman's office.

October 1, 2014

Field worker sexual harassment bill becomes law

Source: Rhys Heyden, Santa Maria Sun

On Sept. 28, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 1087 into law. The bill seeks to curb what some people say is an epidemic of sexual harassment and violence among the state's field workers.

US issues final minimum wage rule for contractors

Source: Associated Press, The Washington Post

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez issued a final rule on Wednesday raising the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors to $10.10 an hour.

September 30, 2014

Colorado high court considers pot firing case

Source: Associated Press, The Washington Post

Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic medical marijuana patient who was fired by the Dish Network after failing a drug test more than four years ago, says he still can't find steady work because employers are wary of his off-duty smoking.

Workers laid off at Osram Sylvania in Central Falls may receive help, including wage subsidy, from state

Source: Alisha A. Pina, The Providence Journal

More than 70 laid-off Osram Sylvania workers are getting transitional help from the state Department of Labor and Training that could lead to a job search allowance and a wage subsidy to cover the difference between a new and old salary.

September 29, 2014

New law makes companies liable for contracted labor

Source: Allen Young, The Sacramento Business Journal

Employers that outsource labor to staffing agencies can now be held responsible for certain worker violations by that agency, under a law approved over the weekend by Gov. Jerry Brown. Those violations include worker's compensation coverage and health and safety laws.

September 28, 2014

Hyatt should take page from Derek Jeter's playbook

Source: Kevin Cullen, Boston Globe

Here's the other thing I'll remember about Jeter: When he came to Boston for a series, he would walk around the visitor's clubhouse at Fenway and hand out $100 bills to the workers. To everybody. Including the kids who worked the clubhouse. That's just how he rolled.

September 26, 2014

Labor Rights for Home Care Workers

Source: The Editorial Board, The New York Times

A new rule that will give home care workers basic labor protections is supposed to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. But several states are pushing for delay, saying they need more time to work through how the rule will affect their Medicaid programs, which pay many home care bills.

The states have had enough time. The Obama administration, however, appears to be seriously considering a delay of the rule, which should have been put in place long ago.

September 25, 2014

Undocumented workers reporting more wage theft cases to Clearwater police

Source: Laura C. Morel, Tampa Bay Times

Within the past three months, the Clearwater Police Department has received nearly a dozen reports of undocumented workers accusing their employers of withholding wages ranging from $400 to $1,200.

US Says Transgender Workers Illegally Fired

Source: Associated Press, ABC News

A Michigan funeral home and a Florida eye clinic illegally fired employees because they're transgender, a federal agency alleged Thursday in two lawsuits.

September 23, 2014

OSHA Will Put Workplace Safety Data Online as 'Nudge' to Employers

Source: Josh Eidelson, Business Week

Starting in January, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will require employers to notify the government within 24 hours every time someone loses an eye, suffers an amputation, or gets admitted to the hospital with an injury sustained at work. The agency estimates that tens of thousands of injuries go unreported. "Workplace injuries and fatalities are absolutely preventable," Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in early September. "These new requirements will help OSHA focus its resources and hold employers accountable for preventing them."

September 22, 2014

DSW Will Pay $900,000 Former Workers To Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Source: Mary Beth Quirk, The Consumerist

Shoe retailer DSW is on the line for $900,000 after agreeing to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by former employees, who said the company fired older workers just because of their ages. And if other employees refused to fire workers based on their age, the plaintiffs claimed DWS retaliated against them as well.

Workers sue Orange Park Medical Center

Source: Scott Johnson, News 4 Jacksonville

In lawsuits filed in federal court Friday and Monday against OPMC and its parent company, HCA South Atlantic, a doctor, a registered nurse and a a nurse practitioner allege the untimely deaths of patients, widespread medical malpractice, race-based discrimination and even false imprisonment.

Sick leave measure divides workers, businesses

Source: Akilah Johnson, Boston Globe

"Earned sick time is going to be on the ballot this coming November, Question No. 4. For every 30 hours a worker works, they earn an hour of sick time," DiMauro began, as his vote
canvassing partner, Maria Fortes, looked on. "That would be . . . important, right¡" he asked.

September 21, 2014

A Capstone in a Career Spent Fighting for the Rights of Domestic Workers

Source: Rachel L. Swarns, The New York Times

Just after midnight on Wednesday, the news finally broke: Ms. Poo had won a 2014 MacArthur "genius" grant. The fellowships, presented by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, come with a stipend of $625,000 and are among the nation's most prestigious prizes for artists, scholars and professionals.

Within minutes, the calls, texts, emails and tweets started pouring in. "It was wonderful and overwhelming," said Ms. Poo, 40, who got her start as a volunteer working with immigrant women on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

UAW Workers in Indiana Approve Lear Corp. Contract

Source: Associated Press, ABC News

Workers at a Lear Corp. plant in northwestern Indiana that makes automotive seats approved an agreement Sunday that will end a two-tiered pay system that left some workers earning much less than others.

Idaho's minimum wage only half of livable wage

Source: Associated Press, Idaho Statesman

Single people in Idaho earn half of what is considered a livable wage, while households with children tend to face even more economical challenges, according to a new study.

September 17, 2014

American Airlines customer-service agents OK union

Source: David Koenig, USA Today

Customer-service agents at American Airlines voted overwhelmingly for union representation, reversing a narrow defeat for organized labor less than two years ago.

EXCLUSIVE: Dozens of Kennedy Airport workers strike as struggle to unionize escalates

Source: Barry Paddock & Rich Schapiro, New York Daily News

The striking baggage handlers, skycaps and wheelchair attendants - all employees of Alstate Maintenance - claim their employer has engaged in unfair labor practices by harassing and threatening workers, spying on them and banning them from wearing pro-union caps and buttons.

The workers also claim that Alstate managers have threatened to punish them because of their support for SEIU Local 32BJ and offered to reward those who cut ties with the union.

September 16, 2014

Low-wage Phila. airport workers plan Wednesday rally

Source: Linda Loyd, Philly.com

Low-wage workers at Philadelphia International Airport, who are employed by airline and airport subcontractors, will rally Wednesday morning to demand that their employers, Prospect Airport Services and PrimeFlight Aviation Services, pay them the $10.88 an hour wage approved by Philadelphia voters in May as well as the right to form a labor union without interference.

Without contract for months, nursing home workers strike in Jersey City, Union City

Source: Patrick McGovern, The Jersey Journal

Front line workers at the nursing homes, including certified nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses have been without a contract for more than five months. According to Bryn Lloyd-Bollard, spokesperson for 1199 SEIU, Alaris has committed unfair labor practices during negotiations for a new contract.

September 15, 2014

US Labor Board Orders CNN to Rehire Fired Workers

Source: Tom Raum, ABC News

The National Labor Relations Board ruled against the CNN cable television network on Monday in an 11-year-old labor dispute, ordering the network to rehire or compensate about 300 former workers.

Workers strike Lear plant in Hammond, Indiana

Source: Charles D. Wilson, Detroit Free Press

Hundreds of workers protesting what some are calling fast-food-like wages walked off the job Saturday at a Lear Corp. plant in northwest Indiana that makes automotive seats, beginning a strike that could affect a major Ford assembly plant in Chicago.

September 14, 2014

Workzone: Whistle-blower obstacles growing

Source: Deborah M. Todd, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

As a managing director and chief enterprise officer for Countrywide Financial Corp. in 2005, Michael Winston raised the company profile for leadership development, implemented programs designed to hone executive skills and organize succession plans. His efforts were rewarded with two promotions in his first 15 months on the job.

By the end of 2006, after Mr. Winston reported to the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration that employees were getting sick from a potential contamination inside of the Countrywide building and after he told ratings agencies that the company went through a six-month period without an acting CEO, Mr. Winston's experience took a drastic downturn.

September 11, 2014

Lawmakers to High Court: Protect Pregnant Workers

Source: Hope Yen, ABC News

In a friend-of-the-court brief, the Democratic lawmakers - 99 from the House, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and 24 senators - said UPS delivery driver Peggy Young of Lorton, Virginia, was unfairly treated by her employer when it asked her to take unpaid maternity leave rather than provide a less strenuous position as her doctors advised.

Metro Transit workers reject wage freeze

Source: Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times

ing County Metro Transit workers have overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer that would have frozen wages for 2014 and 2015, followed by an inflation-indexed raise in 2016.

Rail union rejects deal that allowed one-man crews

Source: AP, The Washington Post

A railroad union has rejected a deal with BNSF that would have allowed one-person crews on as much as 60 percent of its tracks.

September 10, 2014

California to mandate paid sick leave under new law

Source: Sharon Bernstein, Reuters

California businesses will have to provide paid sick leave to most employees under a bill signed on Wednesday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, the latest move to aid low-income workers in the most populous U.S. state.

September 9, 2014

Police and fire unions sue City of Indianapolis over alleged contract violations

Source: Liz Gelardi, Fox Local News

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 9, 2014) – The men and women who protect and serve the Circle City are caught up in a battle over health insurance. The city's police and fire unions filed lawsuits against the city over changes to health insurance plans. Lawyers for the unions accuse city officials of violating union contracts.

David Letterman Sued By Former Intern For Violating Labor Laws, Class Action Lawsuit Seeks Backpay

Source: Barbara Herman, The International Business Times

Among the top 10 reasons to work for David Letterman, it seems getting paid isn't one of them.

So says Mallory Musallam, a former unpaid intern at "The Late Show With David Letterman," who has filed a class-action suit against CBS and Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants, according to the Los Angeles Times. According to Deadline, she's also suing on behalf of everyone who has ever been an intern on the show. The suit alleges that the production violated minimum-wage and overtime laws.

Lawsuit: Company fired man for not handing over medical records

Source: Julie Wernau, The Chicago Tribune

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed suit on behalf of a Minneapolis man who says his employer asked him to disclose all of his private medical information as part of his office job and then fired him when he refused to hand it over.

When Employees Knock Their Bosses on Social Media

Source: Adriana Gardella, The New York Times

With the rise of social media, many business owners have sought to control what their employees post on the various social networks. But as the owners of Triple Play Sports Bar and Grille in Watertown, Conn., learned during recent litigation, employers may have less authority than they think.

September 7, 2014

Some Retail Workers Find Better Deals With Unions

Source: Rachel L. Swarns, The New York Times

By now, the hardships endured by retail workers at clothing stores across New York City are achingly familiar: the frantic scramble to get assigned enough hours to earn a living on painfully low wages; the ever-changing, on-call schedules that upend child care arrangements, college schedules and desperate efforts to find second jobs.

September 6, 2014

TGI Fridays served with class-action lawsuit

Source: AP, Business Management Daily

The suit, filed in federal court in New York, alleges the restaurant requires tipped employees to arrive early and stay at work after the restaurant closes without properly compensating them. Additionally, it alleges the restaurant uses its centralized timekeeping system to shave time off employees' time cards.

Just 13, and Working Risky 12-Hour Shifts in the Tobacco Fields

Source: Steven Greenhouse, The New York Times

On many mornings, as tobacco plants tower around her, Saray Cambray Alvarez pulls a black plastic garbage bag over her 13-year-old body to protect her skin from leaves dripping with nicotine-tinged dew.

Los Angeles loses discrimination cases but workers escape discipline

Source: Mike Reicher, Los Angeles Daily News

Perez, according to one employee, said "I hate all white people" as he described a conflict with a past boss.

Everyone turned to the only white gardener in the room, James Duffy.

September 5, 2014

'Retail Workers Bill of Rights' gains traction in S.F.

Source: Marisa Lagos, San Francisco Gate

The proposed "Retail Workers Bill of Rights" for hourly employees in San Francisco aims to provide benefits similar to those enjoyed by staff at the Zazie restaurant in Cole Valley.

No class-action suit for Darden restaurant staff, U.S. judge rules

Source: Barbara Liston, Reuters

A U.S. judge has ruled that food servers and bartenders employed by Darden Restaurants Inc, which owns chains including Olive Garden, the Capital Grille and LongHorn Steakhouse, cannot sue the company as a group for alleged wage violations.

September 4, 2014

Wal-Mart workers say self-defense got them fired

Source: Lindsay Whitehurst, USA Today

A group of fired Wal-Mart workers is fighting a store policy they say leaves them powerless to defend themselves even if their lives are at risk.

Right-to-work law: Now in the hands of Indiana Supreme Court

Source: Barb Berggoetz, Indy Star

The battle over Indiana's controversial right-to-work law is now in the hands of five Indiana Supreme Court justices who heard arguments Thursday to try to convince them to uphold it or to declare it unconstitutional.

Why You Should Always Tip Your Waitress

Source: Lucia Graves, The National Journal

A new analysis finds eliminating the "tipped minimum wage" would reduce poverty rates and narrow the wage gap.

Judge: Michigan teachers can exit union anytime

Source: David Eggert, The Washington Post

Michigan's largest teachers' union should allow members to resign at any time and stop enforcing an annual one-month opt-out window, a state labor judge ruled, relying on the state's right-to-work law that took effect last year.

UPDATE 4-U.S. fast-food workers protest over pay, hundreds arrested

Source: Barbara Goldberg & Lisa Baertlein, Reuters

U.S. fast-food workers staged protests in some 150 cities on Thursday in a fight for higher pay, and organizers said more than 450 were arrested from Manhattan's Times Square to Los Angeles.

September 3, 2014

Federal Appeals Court Certifies Class Action Against Allstate Insurance Company in Wage Case That Could Exceed $200 Million Dollars

Source: CNN

In a stunning defeat for Allstate Insurance Company, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 16 page ruling that a class action lawsuit involving 800 Allstate employees in California who alleged that Allstate had a practice or unofficial policy of requiring its claim adjusters to work unpaid off-the-clock overtime in violation of California law may move forward.

Minimum wage hike would face exemptions

Source: Sebastian Kitchen, The Courier-Journal

As they debate a proposed increase in the local minimum wage, Louisville Metro Council members will likely approve exemptions as they work toward boosting minimum wage for most workers to $10.10 an hour.

Three things labor needs to do to thrive

Source: Coco Soodek & Phil Fahim, Crain's Chicago Business

Look, we need labor unions. You and I do better in every way when unions are strong. Take a look at this chart. When union membership goes down, your income shrinks. Why? Because unions push back.

Market Basket Shows Power Of Organized Labor Without Unions

Source: Curt Nickisch, WBUR

"This company never needed, or ever will need, a union," said operations supervisor Joe Schmidt outside Market Basket headquarters in Tewksbury. "We're far stronger than that."

September 2, 2014

Obama calls for a higher minimum wage

Source: Aljazera America

President Barack Obama renewed his push for Congress to raise the minimum wage on Monday in a buoyant accounting of the economy's "revving" performance, delivered on behalf of Democrats opening their fall campaigns for the midterm congressional elections.

L.A. mayor proposes $13.25 minimum wage

Source: William M. Welch, USA Today

Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed Monday that the city gradually raise the minimum wage to $13.25 by 2017, up from the current $9 an hour.

August 31, 2014

More Workers Are Claiming 'Wage Theft'

Source: Steven Greenhouse, The New York Times

The lawsuit is part of a flood of recent cases - brought in California and across the nation - that accuse employers of violating minimum wage and overtime laws, erasing work hours and wrongfully taking employees' tips. Worker advocates call these practices "wage theft," insisting it has become far too prevalent.

July 31, 2014

NLRB dismisses unions' complaints regarding Convention Center

Source: Jane M. Von Bergen, Philly.com

Saying it had no jurisdiction to handle the case, the National Labor Relations Board dismissed two complaints filed by members of Teamsters Local 107 against their union leaders, accusing them of failing to protect their work at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Wisconsin Court Upholds Law Curbing Unions' Rights

Source: Mark Peters and Caroline Porter, The Wall Street Journal

Wisconsin's highest court upheld a law ending most collective-bargaining rights for government employees in the state, a blow for public-sector unions that have been stymied in their efforts to reverse the controversial measure championed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Fast-food chains go to war with labor board

Source: Benjamin Goad, The Hill

The NLRB's finding that McDonald's has joint employer status, along with its franchisees, over the chain's thousands of workers could expose the company to claims from workers who say their labor rights have been violated.

July 30, 2014

Met Opera Employees Facing Unemployment Rally Together

Source: Mallika Rao, The New York Times

In a letter sent to the Met's unionized workers last week, Gelb proposed the first salary cut in decades, a 16 percent reduction in total pay across the board. Employees were also informed that if a lockout takes place on August 1, they will be dropped from the Met's health care policy.

Obama Expected To Sign Executive Order On Federal Contractor Workplace Conditions

Source: Sam Stein, The Huffington Post

President Barack Obama is expected to sign an executive order Thursday requiring companies seeking federal contracts to disclose any labor violations and giving federal agencies new guidance on how to consider those violations when awarding contracts, a White House official said.

McDonald's could be liable for labor practices

Source: Associated Press, Politico

The National Labor Relations Board said Tuesday that the world's biggest hamburger chain could be named as a joint employer in several complaints regarding worker rights at franchise-owned restaurants.

July 29, 2014

Unpaid Interns Get Covered: New York State Protects Them From Discrimination And Harassment

Source: Michael Stevens and Karen S. Vladeck, Mondaq News Alert

On July 22, 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a bill (A08201) into law preventing employers from discriminating against unpaid interns on the bases of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, religion, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, or status as a victim of domestic violence.

Higher Minimum Wage, Faster Job Creation

Source: Teresa Tritch, The New York Times

Bolstering what we already know, new evidence shows that job creation is faster in states that have raised their minimum wages.

Federal contractors strike, call on Obama to do more

Source: Ned Resnikoff, MSNBC.com

Organizers say that more than 200 workers are expected to walk off the job at 9 a.m., including workers at the Ronald Reagan Building, the Pentagon, the Air and Space Museum, and the National Zoo. These workers, who will be joined in a solidarity rally by members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and an interfaith group of clergy members, are demanding that President Obama take executive action to improve working conditions at companies that hold contracts with the federal government.

July 28, 2014

Labor board orders L.A. Council to rescind pension cuts for workers

Source: David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times

The Employee Relations Board voted unanimously Monday to order the City Council to rescind a 2012 law scaling back pension benefits for new employees of the Coalition of L.A. City Unions, on the grounds that the changes were not properly negotiated.

Business groups alarmed by rise of 'micro-unions' in workplace

Source: Tim Devaney, The Hill

Business groups are sounding the alarm over decisions from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that they say would make it easier for small groups of people to create "micro-unions" in the workplace.

EEOC sues employer for demanding health care details for worker absences

Source: Judy Greenwald, BusinessInsurance.com

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed suit against a Pennsylvania construction equipment supplier, charging that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by improperly demanding disability-related information from its workers and subjecting them to progressive disciplinary measures if they refused to comply.

July 27, 2014

Fast-Food Workers Intensify Fight for $15 an Hour

Source: Steven Greenhouse, The New York Times

The two-day convention, with 150 tables spread across the expo center's floor, highlighted the campaign's growth since November 2012, when 200 workers went on a one-day strike at 60 fast-food restaurants in New York.

July 25, 2014

In an improving economy, is age discrimination getting better or worse?

Source: Jena McGregor , The Washington Post

The answer, as you might expect, is that it's complicated. While numbers point to a downward trend, and there is some evidence of a warming toward older workers, ageism remains a real issue that's among the hardest complaints by workers to prove.

July 24, 2014

Gov. Cuomo convenes wage board for tipped workers

Source: Glenn Blain, The New York Daily News

Ohio settles lawsuit over workers' comp overcharging

Source: Mark Williams, The Columbus Dispatch

The state agreed to create a $420 million fund to pay claims to employers -- many of them small businesses -- that had sued over the premiums. The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation and a group called Pay Us Back Ohio BWC announced the agreement.

Minimum-wage workers are getting left behind

Source: Alain Sherter, CBS Money Watch

Today marks the five-year anniversary since the federal minimum was last raised, from $6.55 an hour. Since 2009, earners making that amount have lost nearly 6 percent of their buying power, according to the Pew Research Center.

July 23, 2014

California Nurses Union Braces For Contract Battle

Source: April Dembosky, NPR

The California Nurses Association is rousing its troops for battle. The powerful union will begin bargaining Thursday with Kaiser Permanente on a new four-year contract for nurses at its northern California hospitals.

Met Opera Prepares to Lock Out Workers

Source: Michael Cooper, The New York Times

The labor strife at the Metropolitan Opera took on a new urgency Wednesday when its general manager, Peter Gelb, sent the company's orchestra, chorus, stagehands and other workers letters warning them to prepare for a lockout if no contract deal is reached by next week.

Macy's Workers Win Labor Ruling

Source: Melanie Trottman, The Wall Street Journal

A group of 41 cosmetics and fragrances workers at a Macy's Inc. store in Massachusetts is large enough to attempt to unionize, the National Labor Relations Board decided in a ruling that could advance organized labor's quest to unionize subsets of workers in varied industries.

July 22, 2014

Apple Facing Another Class-Action Suit by Employees

Source: Jeff Elder, The Wall Street Journal

Apple Inc. is now facing another class-action lawsuit from its workers, as 20,000 hourly wage employees claim the computer company didn't give them lunch breaks, rest breaks or final paychecks in accordance with California law.

Labor Department official calls for more Pa. judges to handle miner's appeals

Source: Tracie Mauriello, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh needs three more administrative law judges to reduce backlog and to handle appeals being re-filed by miners and their widows, Deputy Labor Secretary Chris Lu testified this morning.

60 percent of incoming college football players support unions, says survey

Source: Kevin Trahan, SB Nation

According to an ESPN.com survey of 300 top football recruits, 60 percent of the 2015 recruiting class is in favor of unionization for college athletes, and more than 86 percent are in favor of athletes receiving some sort of stipend.

Here's What Happened When One County Invested Millions In An Employee Wellness Program

Source: Christine Vestal, The Huffington Post

In its first five years (2007 to 2011), the county's "Healthy Incentives" program invested $15 million and saved $46 million in health care spending with sustained participation by more than 90 percent of its employees. Two years ago, $61 million in surplus health care funds were returned to county coffers because cost growth was lower than actuaries had projected. Seattle, the state's largest city, is the county seat.

July 21, 2014

Detroit due to report results from pension vote

Source: Ed White, WXYZ Detroit (AP)

The city of Detroit promised to report the results of voting on pension cuts Monday but declined to disclose the numbers during a morning bankruptcy hearing.

Why more companies want pensions off their books

Source: Michael Fletcher, The Washington Post

With many traditional company pension plans frozen -- meaning employees are accruing no new benefits and plans are accepting no new members -- some advocacy groups worry that "de-risking" will end up being yet another blow to retirement security.

Obama bars federal contractors from LGBT discrimination

Source: Jeremy Diamond, CNN

President Barack Obama signed an executive order Monday banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

July 20, 2014

Market Basket fires 8 employees amid protests

Source: Erin Ailworth and Dan Adams, Boston Globe

At least eight Market Basket employees were fired Sunday, including organizers of a protest that has targeted the grocery chain in recent days by workers pressing for the return of ousted president Arthur T. Demoulas.

July 17, 2014

Market Basket workers plan protest despite threat by company

Source: Erin Ailworth, Bostonglobe.com

The new chief executives of the Market Basket grocery empire are threatening to fire any employee who walks off the job in support of the company's recently ousted president, Arthur T. Demoulas.

Strike by NY Commuter Rail Workers Averted

Source: Frank Eltman and Rachelle Blidner, ABC News (AP)

he deal announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who personally got involved in the final hours of the negotiations, gives Long Island Rail Road workers a 17 percent pay raise over six and a half years but requires them to contribute to their health care costs for the first time.

Hobby Lobby's harvest: A religious exemption for LGBT discrimination?

Source: Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

The big issue at the moment is a pending executive order from the White House barring discrimination by federal contractors against LGBT (that is, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people.

July 16, 2014

Are Workplace Wellness Programs Legal?

Source: Dan Munro, Forbes.com

On the one hand, workplace wellness programs are openly endorsed by the Affordable Care Act. On the other, how they're constructed and implemented is critical in determining any potential benefit or legal risk.

Political consequences of NLRB v. Noel Canning

Source: Kali Borkoski, SCOTUS Blog

Going forward, the Court ruled, any recesses shorter than ten days will normally be insufficient to trigger the president's recess appointment power.

Tipped Workers Are Significantly Better off in States Where They Are Paid the Regular Minimum Wage

Source: David Cooper, Economic Policy Institute

As explained in "Twenty-three Years and Still Waiting for Change: Why It's Time to Give Tipped Workers the Regular Minimum Wage", this separate, lower minimum wage for tipped workers leads to dramatically different economic conditions for tipped versus nontipped workers.

July 15, 2014

Hobby Lobby: A new tool for crushing workplace unionization?

Source: Ned Resnikoff, MSNBC.com

By declaring that "closely held" corporations may hold religious beliefs, the court may have provided businesses with a new tool for crushing workplace unionization drives. In addition to declaring themselves exempt from contraception mandates and non-discrimination laws, religious employers may soon be able to argue for an exemption from collective bargaining laws.

Former Anheuser-Busch Workers Win Enhanced Pension Benefits After Subsidiary Sale

Source: Matt Dunning, BusinessInsurance.com

In a unanimous decision handed down on Thursday, a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said pension plan administrators for Anheuser-Busch Companies applied an "arbitrary and capricious" standard in denying a group of former employees' claims for enhanced benefits.

EEOC Issues New Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Bias

Source: Kevin P. McGowan, Bloomberg BNA

The new guidance says the PDA, a 1978 amendment to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, requires employers to offer light duty to pregnant employees if they make light duty available to nonpregnant employees similar in their ability or inability to work.

July 11, 2014

President Obama Taps Former NLRB Re-Recess Appointee for Board Again

Source: Doug Hass, The Wall Street Journal

The White House said President Obama intends to nominate Ms. Block, who he had installed on the board with two others early in 2012 using recess appointments.

July 10, 2014

Is it time to get rid of the tipped minimum wage?

Source: Aimee Picchi, CBS Money Watch

While tips are supposed to push their wages up to the regular minimum wage for other workers -- $7.25 an hour -- tipped workers are more likely to live in poverty and rely on government aid, according to a new study from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

House Lawsuit Over Obamacare to Focus on Employer Mandate Delay

Source: Michael A. Memoli, Los Angeles Times

A draft resolution posted Thursday afternoon singles out the Obama administration's decision to delay enforcement of a requirement that employers provide health benefits for their employees or face a fine. Enforcement of the so-called employer mandate was put off twice, once from 2014 to 2015, and then again to phase it in by 2016.

July 8, 2014

Mind the Gap: How One Employer Tackled Pay Equity

Source: Sara Murray, The Wall Street Journal

Now, as many U.S. companies gird for a new federal requirement to report pay data by gender, McGill University's gender-equity program, which it developed over 13 years at a cost of at least 20 million Canadian dollars (US$19 million), offers a glimpse at what pay engineering looks like.

May 21, 2014

110 arrested outside McDonald's HQ

Source: Patrick M. Sheridan, Steve Mills & Jennifer Goelz , CNN Money

Police arrested 110 protesters Wednesday outside McDonald's corporate campus.

Waveland Approves Anti-Discrimination Measure Supporting LGBT Community

Source: Donna Ladd , Jackson Free Press

Tonight, Waveland, Mississippi unanimously passed an anti-discrimination resolution recognizing the dignity and worth of all city residents - including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT).

How feel-good companies are navigating the minimum-wage fray

Source: Heesun Wee, CNBC

The national debate over whether to raise minimum wages has stirred interest in where American companies stand on the issue. That curiosity perhaps is most intensely targeted at feel-good companies, which pride themselves on progressive practices.

May 20, 2014

Exclusive: Virgin America flight attendants seek unionization vote

Source: Alwyn Scott, Chicago Tribune (Reuters)

Flight attendants at Virgin America airlines are seeking a vote on whether to unionize, according to an official at the Transport Workers Union (TWU), in a move that could pave the way for organized labor's latest victory in the airline industry.

Chris Christie slashes pay to pension funds

Source: Maggie Haberman, Politico

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday he'd slash two massive payments to the state's pension system -- a short-term maneuver that won't alleviate the Garden State's overall fiscal picture.

Workers Try a New Tactic in Minimum-Wage Fight

Source: Eric Morath, The Wall Street Journal

Stymied in Washington on their minimum-wage push, low-wage workers are now pressing for U.S. companies to raise wages voluntarily.

May 19, 2014

L.A. city panel delivers victory to municipal labor unions

Source: David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times

A Los Angeles City Hall panel on Monday delivered a significant victory to municipal labor unions, breathing new life into a legal challenge to pension benefit reductions being counted on to save billions of dollars over the next 30 years.

Gov. Snyder wants the state House to consider minimum wage legislation soon

Source: Steve Carmody, Michigan Public Radio

Governor Snyder hopes the state House will turn its attention soon to a proposal to increase the state's minimum wage.

Union In North Carolina Welcomes College Athletes

Source: The Associated Press, NPR (AP)

A North Carolina union for public workers will allow scholarship student-athletes at public universities to join as state employees.

Boeing decision puts focus on cameras in workplace

Source: Amanda Becker, Reuters

A fight between Boeing Co and a U.S. labor regulator over cameras in the workplace could clarify how the government will adapt analog-era labor laws to the digital age, when workers have smart phones with cameras.

May 18, 2014

DCPS reaches tentative agreement with principals union

Source: Emma Brown, The Washington Post

D.C. Public Schools has reached a tentative collective-bargaining agreement with the Council of School Officers, the union that represents principals, assistant principals, business managers, master educators and other non-teachers who work in schools.

Citi Bike workers gear up to join transit workers union

Source: Pete Donohue, New York Daily News

Citi Bike might not be an option during the next bus and subway strike. TWU Local 100 -- the transit workers union that tends to walk off the job every 20 years or so -- is organizing Citi Bike workers into a chapter.

The Republican War on Workers' Rights

Source: Corey Robin, The New York Times

Midterm elections are like fancy software: Experts love them, end-users couldn't care less. But if the 2010 elections are any indication, we might not want to doze off as we head into the summer months before November.

May 17, 2014

How corporations get away with rampant wage theft

Source: Myron Levin, Stuart Silverstein and Lilly Fowler, Salon

For workers stuck on the bottom rung, living on poverty wages is hard enough. But many also are victims of wage theft, a catch-all term for payroll abuses that cheat workers of income they are supposedly guaranteed by law.

UAW, VW deny election agreement was illegal

Source: Mike Pare, Chattanooga Times Free Press

The United Auto Workers is seeking dismissal of a suit that claimed Volkswagen gave the union access to names and facilities at the Chattanooga plant in exchange for the UAW holding down costs if it won the organizing vote at the factory.

May 16, 2014

Alcoa, USW Reach New Labor Deal

Source: John W. Miller, The Wall Street Journal

Despite tough times for aluminum makers, Alcoa Inc. AA +0.98% agreed to a generous five-year pact that gives workers in the U.S. annual raises and preserves health and pension benefits to avoid any labor-related disruptions in deliveries to key auto customers.

Police unions push for medical coverage of PTSD

Source: CBS News

Police unions across the U.S. are pushing for officers to be able to collect workers' compensation benefits if they suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, whether they got it from the general stress of police work or from responding to a deadly shooting rampage.

Madigan $10 an hour minimum wage referendum advances

Source: Monique Garcia, Chicago Tribune

House lawmakers today advanced a proposal backed by House Speaker Michael Madigan that would put an advisory referendum on the November ballot asking voters whether the state's minimum wage should be increased to $10 an hour.

May 15, 2014

Fast food workers strike for higher wages

Source: Bruce Horovitz, Yamiche Alcindor,Calum MacLeod and Kim Hjelmgaard, USA Today

Hundreds of fast food workers walked off their jobs in dozens of U.S. cities on Thursday -- reportedly forcing at least a few locations to temporarily close or re-staff while mostly managers filled-in -- as sympathetic protesters in several dozen countries joined in a united call for wages of $15 an hour and the right to form a union.

Vermont's minimum wage to be highest in the U.S.

Source: Aimee Picchi, CBS MoneyWatch

Vermont is on track to have the highest minimum wage of any state, after its lawmakers passed a bill to boost the baseline hourly rate to $10.50 an hour.

U.S. fast-food workers plan to walk off jobs to protest low pay

Source: Mary Wisniewski, Reuters

U.S. fast food workers seeking higher wages are planning a strike on Thursday that could affect thousands of restaurants across the country the workers say make huge profits from paying them workers a pittance.

May 14, 2014

Workers reach $21-million settlement against Wal-Mart, warehouses

Source: Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times

Workers at a Riverside County warehouse and distribution complex for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. agreed to settle a long-running battle over wage issues by accepting $21 million in unpaid wages, interest and penalties.

Rubio: Open Congress' retirement to all workers

Source: The Boston Globe (AP)

Younger workers would face higher retirement ages and wealthier Americans would see their Social Security paychecks trail their less affluent neighbors' under a plan proposed Tuesday by Senator Marco Rubio.

In liberal cities, minimum wage puts businesses in a bind

Source: Allison Linn, CNBC

They have backed efforts to address climate change, held countless fundraisers for local causes and been staunch supporters of progressive political candidates including President Barack Obama--but one thing they can't fully get behind is the push for a swift and sharp increase in the minimum wage.

May 13, 2014

Teachers angry with new contract that will delay full raises until 2020

Source: Stephen Rex Brown & Ben Chapman, New York Daily News

Not only is the back-raise plan in Mayor de Blasio's new teachers contract unpopular with financial watchdogs -- city educators hate it, too.

Supporters of raising minimum wage say they have enough signatures

Source: Jake Neher, Michigan Radio

Leaders of the petition drive to raise Michigan's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour say a Republican attempt to derail their effort is nothing but a "dirty trick."

Why Primary Care Physicians Need a Minimum Wage

Source: Daniela Drake, The Daily Beast

While we entertain the idea of increasing the minimum wage, let's not forget doctors who also need a pay bump. Yes, doctors--primary care physicians (PCPs) who are receiving only a tiny fraction of all that money you're now forced to fork over for health insurance.

Illinois unions ask judge to delay new pension law

Source: Rick Pearson, Chicago Tribune

A coalition of labor unions on Monday asked a court in Springfield to prevent a new state law aimed at curbing Illinois' public employee pension debt from taking effect next month until questions about its constitutionality have been resolved.

May 12, 2014

Old, Fired at IBM: Trendsetter Offers Workers Arbitration

Source: Alex Barinka, Bloomberg Businessweek

For at least a decade, International Business Machines Corp. gave fired employees information detailing a severance package that asked them to waive age-discrimination claims and also included a page listing the job titles and ages of workers being let go.

Locked-out union workers protest at Convention Center

Source: Aubrey Whelan, Philadelphia Inquirer

Police outnumber union members who are protesting against being shut out of work at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Former Mayor David Dinkins: I'm joining the airport workers' fair pay crusade

Source: David Dinkins, New York Daily News

As our country struggles with spiraling income inequality, thousands of New York City workers who toil at poverty wages may have found their way forward.

The Minimum Wage Loophole That's Screwing Over Waiters and Waitresses

Source: Dana Liebelson, Mother Jones

As Republicans stonewall President Obama's initiative to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour by 2016, some state lawmakers have taken the matter into their own hands, passing legislation that increases the salaries for America's most vulnerable workers.

May 11, 2014

Rahm Emanuel Faces New Test With Chicago Pension Crisis

Source: Mark Peters, The Wall Street Journal

Jumping from city-hall meetings to public-school classrooms in his black SUV, Rahm Emanuel worked to buff his image as the hard-driving mayor of the nation's third-largest city in the CNN TV series "Chicagoland."

Teachers unions threaten Common Core implementation

Source: The Washington Post

Tea Party opposition to the new education standards in the Common Core is getting a lot of attention. Far more threatening is the less-noticed pushback from teachers' unions.

On Income Inequality: A French Economist Vs. An American Capitalist

Source: Marilyn Geewax, NPR

Picture a cozy café. At a small table, an economics professor from Paris is chatting with a wealthy businessman from New York. As they sip coffee, they discuss economic history, and often nod and agree.

May 10, 2014

ALEC fires back, but proves its 'pro-business' state index is bogus

Source: Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

Plainly stung by the chorus of ridicule that has greeted their latest attempt to paint anti-union policies and tax cuts for the rich as pathways to economic nirvana, the folks at the American Legislative Exchange Council have struck back with a "response to the critics."

US Senate panel cancels testimony from UNC whistle blower Willingham

Source: Anne Blythe, News & Observer

Mary Willingham, the former learning specialist who blew the whistle on the academic fraud scandal at UNC-Chapel Hill, was told on Friday that she would not be testifying before a U.S. Senate committee looking into the welfare of NCAA athletes.

May 9, 2014

Congress Tackles Unions in College Football

Source: Jonquilyn Hill, NBC News

The debate over student athlete unionization moved from the football field to the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, and it largely followed a familiar playbook: Republican vs. Democrat.

Once A Walmart Boycotter, Obama Now On Cozier Terms With Retailer

Source: Dave Jamieson, Huffington Post

There was a time when President Barack Obama refused to shop at Walmart. Evidently, he's evolved.

First pay hike in seven years for some state workers

Source: Jimmie E. Gates, The Clarion-Ledger

State custodian employee Shirley Barnes didn't know she would be getting a $1,000-a-year pay raise in July

May 8, 2014

CEO of Largest Fast Food Company Backs Minimum Wage Hike!

Source: John Prager , Americans Against the Tea Party

n a Wednesday interview with CNBC, Deluca took drastic action to save face in the wake of the negative attention that Subway has been receiving.

State minimum wage hike supporters rally at Penn Square

Source: Dan Nephin, Lancaster Online

Cheryl Holland-Jones, executive director of the Crispus Attucks Community Center, urged lawmakers to increase the minimum wage during a rally at Penn Square in Lancaster at noon today.

Fed Chair Yellen: Minimum wage hike to have negative impact on jobs

Source: CNBC with Reuters, CNBC

In testimony before a Senate committee on Thursday, Fed Chair Yellen said a minimum wage increase would likely have some negative effects on jobs, though it's not clear how large.

May 7, 2014

Sanders Compares Efforts To Raise Minimum Wage to Pre-MLK Civil Rights Movement

Source: Eric Scheiner, CNS News

At a rally of fast food workers in North Carolina, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) compared the efforts of those who want to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour to the civil rights activists who paved the way for Martin Luther King Jr.

County Board Pushes to Raise Minimum Wage

Source: The Ann Arbor Chronicle

At their May 7, 2014 meeting, Washtenaw County commissioners passed a resolution calling for an increase in Michigan's minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, over dissent from Alicia Ping (R-District 3).

Fast-Food Workers Threaten Global Wage Protests Next Week

Source: NBC News

Fast-food workers plan strikes in 150 cities across the United States and protests in 33 other countries on May 15 to demand higher pay and better working conditions, organizers said in New York on Wednesday.

May 6, 2014

Rangel Touts Union Support After Retail Workers Back Espaillat

Source: Ross Barkan, New York Observer

In the wake of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union's endorsement of his top rival this week, Congressman Charlie Rangel is touting the support of three public sector unions, including one that backed him already.

A tale of two health care unions, two different actions

Source: Victoria Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle

The state's largest health care workers' union -- SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West - dropped its bid Tuesday to pass two state ballot measures opposed by the hospital industry as part of an agreement it reached with the California Hospital Association.

Obama to ease rules for foreign high-skilled workers

Source: Alan Gomez, USA Today

The Obama administration wants to let nearly 100,000 spouses of foreigners working in high-tech fields to work here as well in a move critics say is harmful to nearly 10 million jobless Americans.

CTU chief Lewis is campaigning all right -- against the mayor

Source: Mark Brown, Chicago Sun Times

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis has ruled herself out of a 2015 mayoral campaign against Rahm Emanuel so often that nobody even bothered to ask her again Monday after a big City Club speech in which she threatened to "send him into early retirement."

May 5, 2014

Companies ramp up fight against $10.10 wage

Source: Jennifer Liberto, CNN Money

Businesses are pulling out all the stops to fight a federal minimum wage increase to $10.10 from $7.25 an hour.

UM Medical Center workers get federal labor protection

Source: Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun

Five thousand workers at the University of Maryland Medical Center now have labor protections under the National Labor Relations Board thanks to a bill signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley Monday.

Old workers return, new hires arrive, as U.S. construction jobs grow

Source: Tim Reid, Reuters

When the U.S. economy crashed in 2008, following the implosion of the housing market, Dave Klein's southern California construction company almost folded.

Using the Cloud to Track Migrant Workers and Pregnant Goats

Source: Dina Bass, Bloomberg

Employers of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. can have a tough time following the rules. They need to track each employee's immigration forms, workers' compensation, labor disputes, health-care options and more.

Federal hearing scheduled on locked out Kellogg's workers

Source: WMC TV

The now seven-month long lockout of Memphis Kellogg's workers takes center stage during a federal hearing on Monday.

May 4, 2014

Gov. Cuomo 'saves' MTA-Transport Workers Union contract deal

Source: Pete Donohue, New York Daily News

Like the "White Knight from Mount Kisco," Cuomo helped get the new contract with retroactive raises and improved benefits negotiated for bus and subway workers.

What Do Yale Grad Students Want? A Union

Source: Diane Orson, NPR

Hundreds of graduate assistants at Yale University say they want to be allowed to decide whether to unionize. Grad students at two nearby universities recently won union recognition after two very different types of organizing campaigns.

Bonuses for federal workers cut in half, figures show

Source: Shannon Mullen, USA Today (Asbury Park Press)

Bonus pay for 1.3 million federal workers fell off a proverbial fiscal cliff last year, dropping nearly 50% as a result of draconian budget cuts tied to a partial government shutdown and recent caps on employee awards.

May 3, 2014

Unions are back with city-by-city wage campaign

Source: Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times

Not long after finishing a news conference on a deal to bring a $15 minimum wage to Seattle, David Rolf, president of the local home health-care workers' union, SEIU 775, got a heady phone call.

School chief race tests reach of unions, reformers

Source: Lisa Leff, San Francisco Chronicle (AP)

Tom Torlakson, the veteran lawmaker seeking a second term as California's elected superintendent of schools, and Marshall Tuck, a former charter school executive hoping to unseat him, are both Democrats.

How the $15 wage deal came together in Seattle

Source: Lynn Thompson, The Seattle Times

With his Income Inequality Committee failing to reach a decision at its final scheduled meeting April 23, and business and labor representatives still at odds over core issues on a deal for a $15 minimum wage, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray gathered the business members of the committee the following day.

May 2, 2014

A Teachers' Contract for New York

Source: The New York Times

There was no snarling at City Hall when Mayor Bill de Blasio and the teachers' union announced a very significant labor agreement on Thursday.

House committee to examine ruling on Northwestern union proposal

Source: Steve Berkowitz, USA Today

Congressional interest in the current state of college athletics will take another step forward Thursday when a House committee conducts a hearing to examine the recent decision by a regional chairman of the National Labor Relations Board to allow college football players at Northwestern University to unionize.

Why Is This Farm Using Guest Workers as Strike Breakers?

Source: David Bacon, The Nation

In 2001 Rosario Ventura came to the United States from Mexico and went to work in Washington State, picking blueberries for Sakuma Farms.

May 1, 2014

Thousands of workers mark May Day

Source: Kim Hjelmgaard, Detroit Free Press (USA Today)

May Day, known also as International Workers' Day, is being celebrated across the world, with demonstrations and protests taking place in many countries.

Subway leads fast food industry in underpaying workers

Source: Annalyn Kurtz, CNN Money

McDonald's gets a lot of bad press for its low pay. But there's an even bigger offender when it comes to fast food companies underpaying their employees: Subway.

Adjuncts at 2 More Colleges Vote to Unionize

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Adjunct professors at Howard University and the Maryland Institute College of Art are the latest Washington-area non-tenure-track instructors to vote to form unions affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, they announced Wednesday.

Senate Republicans Block Bill To Raise Federal Minimum Wage

Source: Ailsa Chang, NPR

One of the Democrats top election themes this year was stopped cold in the Senate on Wednesday. Republicans successfully blocked Democrats from even taking up a bill to raise the minimum wage.

April 30, 2014

Report: Kentucky pension reforms benefit workers

Source: Mike Wynn, The Courier-Journal

An analysis by a Washington D.C.-based think tank says that a majority of government workers will fare as well -- or better -- under Kentucky's recent pension reforms.

Minimum wage debate pits small business owners against small business owners

Source: J.D. Harrison, The Washington Post

Small business owners are vehemently opposed to raising the minimum wage. Meanwhile, in other news, small business owners overwhelmingly favor raising the minimum wage.

UAW can still unionize VW Tennessee plant after failed drive -experts

Source: Bernie Woodall, Reuters

The United Auto Workers still has several options to unionize Volkswagen AG's Tennessee car plant, labor law experts said on Wednesday, after it failed to win enough support and last week dropped its challenge to the election results.

Dems seek to rally base over GOP's block of minimum wage bill

Source: Tom Cohen and Ted Barrett, CNN

An election-year showdown over a Democratic priority -- raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour -- saw Senate Republicans block the measure on Wednesday, unleashing a torrent of criticism from President Barack Obama and his party.

April 29, 2014

Editorial: Seattle needs to ease up on the rush to a $15 minimum wage

Source: The Seattle Times

With talk of a jump to a $15 minimum wage, Seattle is barreling headlong into a serious gamble with its local economy.

When unions use non-member dues to finance political activities

Source: Steven Malanga, Washington Examiner

A lawsuit making its way through federal court in California highlights just how much unions use their right to collect "agency fees" from nonmembers to fund political activities.

Maine GOP senator likely 'no' vote on minimum wage

Source: Alan Fram, Bloomberg

A long-shot Senate Democratic effort to raise the federal minimum wage seemed all but doomed Tuesday when a moderate Republican lawmaker viewed as a potential supporter said she expects to oppose the measure.

Minimum Wage Hike Hurts 'Minorities and Youth' Job Chances, Says Rand Paul

Source: Phillip M. Bailey, Louisville NPR

Kentucky Jobs With Justice leader Bonafacio Aleman was at the minimum wage rally in Lexington. He told WFPL Paul's statements reflect the senator is out of touch with average workers.

April 28, 2014

NFL Cheerleaders: We're not even making minimum wage

Source: Gregory Wallance, CNN Money

Cheerleading isn't as glamorous as one might think. Several current and former cheerleaders are suing their NFL employers over pay.

Harry Reid slates minimum wage vote

Source: Burgess Everett, Politico

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday set up a long-shot Wednesday vote on a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Frostbite, falling freight, and forklifts on fire: America's worst Wal-Mart warehouse, revealed

Source: Josh Eidelson, Salon

Workers at an Indiana Wal-Mart warehouse allege they were subjected to safety risks including falling freight, forklifts on fire, and frostbite - and then illegally fired for organizing in response.

Survey details struggles of Syracuse's low-wage workers

Source: Kevin Tampone, Syracuse.com

Low-wage workers in the Syracuse area struggle with conditions that can cause health problems and make it hard to climb the economic ladder, according to a new survey.

How A Public Corruption Scandal Became A Fight Over Free Speech

Source: Nina Totenberg, NPR

In one area -- the first amendment rights of public employees -- the conservative majority has been far less protective of the right to speak out. Now the court is revisiting the issue, and the result could have far-reaching consequences for public corruption investigations.

April 27, 2014

State workers fret over pension changes

Source: Tonya Alanez, Sun Sentinel

A major push to change retirement benefits for state employees continues to hang in the legislative balance with just a week to go in the annual session. House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, has repeatedly stated it's one of his priorities this year.

Mass. jobs report urges tougher safety rules

Source: Dan Adams, Boston Globe

A new report by labor and workplace safety advocates says that 48 Massachusetts workers died on the job in 2013 and calls for increased regulation.

Democrats See Doomed Minimum-Wage Plan as Election Boost

Source: Siobhan Hughes, Wall Street Journal

The Senate is expected this week to take up a long-stalled push to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, a measure that is likely to be defeated but one that Democrats see as a winner on the campaign trail.

April 26, 2014

Ford Motor Company Charged with Disability Discrimination for Refusing Employee's Request to Telecommute

Source: Disability.gov

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has charged Ford Motor Company of Detroit, MI with disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Obama pushes again for minimum wage increase

Source: The Associated Press, The State

President Barack Obama is again encouraging Congress to pass a bill raising the minimum raise to $10.10 an hour.

Union Effort at Northwestern May Not Mean Much for Public Colleges

Source: Steven Greenhouse, New York Times

When a National Labor Relations Board regional director ruled last month that Northwestern's scholarship football players could unionize, it was a landmark for college sports -- even though the decision was limited to one private university.

April 25, 2014

Today in Small Business: Seattle's Minimum Wage Plan Falters

Source: Gene Marks, The New York Times

There are many things affecting everyone involved with small business.

Northwestern Union Vote on Hold

Source: Allie Grasgreen, Inside Higher Ed

The National Labor Relations Board said Thursday that it will stay the decision by a regional NLRB director who said scholarship football players are employees and should be allowed to unionize.

Wall Street's Pension Gamble

Source: David Sirota, In These Times

In the national debate over what to do about public pension shortfalls, here's something you may not know: The texts of the agreements signed between those pension funds and financial firms are almost always secret.

April 24, 2014

Right-to-work bill divides Missourians as it moves through legislature

Source: Casey Bischel, Missourian

In almost any other country, an individual's right to work means a guaranteed job, often furnished by the government. In the 24 U.S. states that have right to work laws, the phrase means something else entirely: A person employed by a company that has a union does not have to join it or pay any form of dues.

Climate Change Unites Unions and Enviros

Source: Kevin Sullivan, Eugene Weekly

Labor unions have for years been pitted against conservationists in a jobs-versus-the-environment conflict. But now, a greater threat to the planet has paired members of the rival movements in a fight against a greater evil: global climate change.

Contingent Faculty at Seattle U. Can Vote on Union, NLRB Official Rules

Source: Peter Schmidt, The Chronicle of Higher Education

A regional official of the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that contingent faculty members at Seattle University are eligible to vote on forming a union.

April 23, 2014

Kaiser Workers Strike To Protest Cost-Cutting, Suicides

Source: NBC Bay Area

Mental health clinicians from Kaiser's Oakland Medical Center launched a one-day strike Wednesday to address understaffing and cost-cutting in Kaiser's mental health services, which they say have resulted in several suicides among patients.

Port Authority board approves raises for all 12K airport workers -- 3 months after Daily News exposes abysmal wages

Source: Rich Shapiro, New York Daily News

Three months after the Daily News launched a campaign to improve conditions for the struggling airport workers, Port Authority board members unanimously voted Wednesday to raise the wages of all contract employees at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports.

Proposal would spike minimum wage

Source: David Garrick, UT San Diego

Ballot measure would increase San Diego's lowest pay rate to $13.09 over three years.

Cooper grows impatient for immigration reform

Source: Paul C. Barton, The Tennessean

Rep. Jim Cooper wants Congress to get off the dime when it comes to immigration reform.

April 22, 2014

Everything You Need To Know About The Northwestern Football Case And If College Athletes Will Get Paid

Source: Jacob Fischler, BuzzFeed

Last month, a regional National Labor Relations Board ruled that football players at Northwestern University have the right to unionize

SF teachers want hefty raise

Source: Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco teachers want a raise, a big one. The teachers union fired off the first volley in what is shaping up to be contentious contract talks, asking for a 21 percent pay raise over three years.

Minimum wage and pot are now expected to be on Alaska's November ballot

Source: Niraj Chokshi, The Washington Post

Alaska's November ballot is expected to be a little more crowded. A trio of initiatives, including ones to regulate marijuana like alcohol and hike the minimum wage, are expected to be pushed from August to November.

April 21, 2014

The Terrible Fear of Paying the Poor Too Much

Source: Leo W. Gerard, Huffington Post

Republicans in America suffer a crippling anxiety. It's the terrible fear of corporations paying poor workers too much.

Wage Theft Across the Board

Source: The New York Times

When labor advocates and law enforcement officials talk about wage theft, they are usually referring to situations in which low-wage service-sector employees are forced to work off the clock, paid subminimum wages, cheated out of overtime pay or denied their tips.

NLRB election hearing reveals right wing's true colors

Source: John Logan, The Hill

Last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held two days of hearings to allow public comment on its new election rules, which are designed to eliminate the worst cases of deliberate and unjustified pre-election delay.

UAW's Volkswagen case heads to NLRB hearing as politicians object

Source: Paresh Dave, Los Angeles Times

A contentious effort to unionize a foreign brand's automobile factory is scheduled to reach a courtroom Monday, and the case appears far from resolution.

April 20, 2014

For Many Americans, 'Temp' Work Becomes Permanent Way of Life

Source: Martha C. White, NBC News

For Americans who can't find jobs, the booming demand for temp workers has been a path out of unemployment, but now many fear it's a dead-end route.

NCAA faces change, legal challenges in months ahead

Source: Steve Almasy, CNN

When training camps for big-time college football teams open in August, behemoth linemen and other players will get their first taste of new rules regarding how much food Division I schools can provide their athletes

Voters in states and cities are considering proposals to raise the minimum wage

Source: Pamela M. Prah, The Washington Post

A wave of efforts to raise the minimum wage at the state and local level will run through November, when voters in several states could consider ballot measures to raise hourly rates higher than the current $7.25 federal rate.

April 19, 2014

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in NYC and Across the Country

Source: Derek T. Smith, Derek T. Smith Law Group, PLLC

Many people don't typically think of the workplace as a potential arena for sexual assault, but workplace abuse, harassment and even rape are more common than you might think.

Transport company to pay $27,000 to settle pregnancy discrimination, retaliation suit

Source: J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

A Delaware trucking company that operates a terminal in Spartanburg, South Carolina, will pay $27,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced on April 17.

April 18, 2014

The decline of labor unions and the rise of the minimum wage

Source: Jake Rosenfeld, The Seattle Times

In February, a bitterly divided local Machinists union at Boeing narrowly voted to accept the company's contract extension to build new 777X airplanes.

Wal-Mart warehouse workers say they worked with no heat

Source: Alejandra Cancino, Chicago Tribune

Workers at an Indiana warehouse owned by Wal-Mart on Thursday filed unfair labor charges with the National Labor Relations Board against the staffing agency that employs them and the company that operates the warehouse.

Boycotts and Bargaining

Source: Allie Grasgreen, Inside Higher Ed

The college sports establishment is being assaulted on multiple and fragile fronts, with legal battles over safety and concussions, scholarship caps and the right of athletes to profit off their image, and now, the Northwestern University football unionization.

Big business gets creative in minimum wage fight

Source: Ned Resnikoff, MSNBC

The minimum wage movement is following the classic American playbook for how you raise labor standards across the country: Constant grassroots pressure, resulting in one local achievement after another, with all of those small gains eventually coalescing into a national wave.

April 17, 2014

Florida High Court Rules Pregnancy Protected by Gender Law (1)

Source: Christie Smythe and Christine Sexton, Bloomberg

Florida's law protecting women against workplace discrimination also covers those who are pregnant, the state's supreme court said in overturning a trial court ruling.

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Potter Concrete

Source: eNews Park Forest

The Justice Department reached an agreement today with Potter Concrete, a company based in Dallas, resolving claims that the company engaged in a pattern or practice of document abuse in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Effort to protect farmworkers from sexual assault gaining momentum

Source: Sheila Bapat, Al Jazeera America

"The Fair Food Program is a transformative, model program. This is a big victory for farmworkers. We congratulate them," said Erica Smiley, campaigns director for Jobs With Justice. "Now, if Walmart would do the same for the more than 1 million workers it employs in the U.S. and the many more millions around the world, we'd be in good shape."

April 16, 2014

About 400 Chicago concrete truck drivers go on strike

Source: Alejandra Cancino, Chicago Tribune

About 400 concrete truck drivers walked off their jobs on Tuesday and Wednesday after rejecting a proposed labor contract with the Northern Illinois Ready Mix and Materials Association.

Some exempted from minimum wage, increased or not

Source: Alan Fram, Philadelphia Inquirer (AP)

Some low-paid workers won't benefit even if a long-shot Democratic proposal to raise the federal minimum wage becomes law.

Union: Northwestern's position in student labor case 'castle built on sand'

Source: Alejandra Cancino, Chicago Tribune

The union seeking to represent football players at Northwestern University called the school's position in the case "a castle built on sand" in a document filed with the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday.

Minimum Wage, Maximum Outrage

Source: Charles Blow, The New York Times

No one should ever endure the kind of economic humiliation that comes with working a full-time job and making a less-than-living wage. There is dignity in all work, but that dignity grows dim when the checks are cashed and the coins are counted and still the bills rise higher than the wages.

April 15, 2014

5 Things Northwestern Is Telling Other Football Schools About Unions

Source: Melanie Trottman, The Wall Street Journal

Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro has been fielding questions from colleagues from around the country in recent weeks. They want to know more about the National Labor Relations Board's decision that Northwestern's scholarship football players are school employees who can unionize.

Judge in R.I. pension case keeps 'gag order' in place

Source: Katherine Gregg, Providence Journal

The proposed settlement in Rhode Island's big, nationally watched pension case blew up last week, but Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft Carter's "gag order" is still in place, and it is still barring access to state spending records.

US Airways unions say 'critical issues' unresolved in merger

Source: Linda Loyd, Philadelphia Inquirer

Labor unions at US Airways will meet with CEO Doug Parker and senior management April 29 to discuss concerns and "critical issues" that they say remain unresolved since the merger of US Airways and American Airlines in December.

April 14, 2014

Graduate students of the world, unite!

Source: Malcolm Harris, Al Jazeera America

At the beginning of April, one of the most important labor unions in U.S. higher education staged an unexpected two-day strike. It wasn't the American Association of University Professors -- the left-leaning professors' union -- or a chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, representing service workers; it was United Auto Workers Local 2865.

SEIU thinks big for S.F. city workers' next contract

Source: Phillip Matier And Andrew Ross, San Francisco Chronicle

From fighting Google buses to protesting Ellis Act evictions, San Francisco's 9,475-member Service Employees International Union local has been leading the campaign for a more livable city.

NY pay raise for 100K direct care workers

Source: Associated Press, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

New York's new budget will increase pay 2 percent for about 100,000 caretakers of the disabled and others next year, their first raise in several years for many.

April 13, 2014

Low-wage workers pay the price of nickel-and-diming by employers

Source: Michael Hiltzik , Los Angeles Times

The continuing push for higher minimum wages across the country has much to recommend it, but the campaign shouldn't keep us from recognizing a truly insidious practice that impoverishes low-wage workers all the more.

L.A. teachers union president ready to step aside for challenger

Source: Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles teachers' union president Warren Fletcher said he will no longer actively campaign for reelection, clearing the path for challenger Alex Caputo-Pearl to become the next leader of United Teachers Los Angeles.

Odd-Hour Workers Face Loss of Employer Health Plans

Source: Lauren Weber, The Wall Street Journal

Susan Caspersen was in a hospital in Akron, Ohio, last November recovering from an emergency appendectomy when she got some unwelcome news: as of Jan. 1, 2014, she would no longer be eligible for the health-insurance plan offered by her employer, food-service giant Sodexo USA.

April 12, 2014

Business lobby proposes minimum wage 'compromise'

Source: Ned Resnikoff, MSNBC

The fast food workers movement may have gotten its start in New York City, but Seattle is where it seems closest to realizing one of its key objectives.

Kain Colter's unionization effort is fueled by compassion, common sense

Source: Mike Wise, The Washington Post

I sat two feet away from the most dangerous man in college sports earlier this month. His name is Kain Colter.

Culinary union workers strike rally nears full-on strike

Source: Jacqui Heinrich, KTNV

Culinary union members picketed downtown Saturday over the labor dispute holding up contract negotiations with ten casino properties.

April 11, 2014

Strike ends with no deal between Hopkins and workers

Source: Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun

Service workers fighting for higher wages remained at loggerheads with Johns Hopkins Hospital on Friday as they ended a three-day strike over higher wages -- and said they could walk off the job again.

Hey, Rahm Emanuel: Quit blaming public employees for your budget crisis!

Source: David Sirota, Salon

In America, there is regular ol' corruption, and then there is Chicago Corruption, with a capital "C." America's third largest city is so notoriously corrupt, all you have to do is say "Chicago politics" and many people instantly start making jokes about payoffs and reciting lines from "The Untouchables."

SF labor unions asking for pay raises amid hostile cost-of-living environment

Source: Joshua Sabatini, San Francisco Examiner

Pointing to a soaring cost of living throughout the Bay Area, San Francisco's largest city employee union has emerged as an outspoken critic of the Twitter tax break and commuter tech shuttles while more quietly making demands for pay increases and other job benefits in labor contract negotiations.

Pension bills now coming together

Source: Brandon Larrabee, Tallahassee Democrat

Changes to retirement plans covering hundreds of thousands of public employees started coming together Thursday on both sides of the Capitol, raising the prospects of success on long-stymied issues.

Challenges may emerge to UAW subpoenas; April 21 hearing could be delayed

Source: Mike Pare and Andy Sher, Chattanooga Times Free Press

An attorney for a Chattanooga anti-union group said Thursday he expects challenges to emerge to some of the two dozen United Auto Workers' subpoenas issued this week in its appeal of the Volkswagen plant's union election.

April 10, 2014

GOP blocks Senate bill curbing gender pay gap

Source: Associated Press, The Times West Virginian

Republicans blocked a Senate bill Wednesday aimed at narrowing the pay gap between men and women, an election-year ritual that Democrats hope will help spur women to back them in this fall's congressional elections.

Minimum wage hikes and real net wages

Source: Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

Past experience has confirmed the nonmonetary impact of a minimum-wage hike on workers, not only in reduced fringe benefits but in increased work demands and decreased job training.

Public Service Union seeks 30 percent wage increase in 2014

Source: Kaieteur News

hile the Public Service Ministry has mentioned discussions between the Government and the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) for a "proper formula for workers' wages," the GPSU is calling for 30 percent increase in wages and salaries for 2014.

April 9, 2014

Workers say too often employers hire them for one job, but have them do another, survey finds

Source: Olivera Perkins, Plain Dealer

Switcheroo. Sleight of hand. Bait-and-switch. These words, most often associated with con games, are increasing being used by workers to describe employers they say lured them with false promises and job descriptions that fell flat.

GM Auto Workers Vote to Allow Strike in Kentucky

Source: Bruce Schreiner, ABC News (AP)

Workers at the General Motors plant in Kentucky that assembles Corvettes voted Tuesday to authorize a strike over lingering safety concerns, but a local union leader said he hopes the differences can be resolved without a walkout.

Hopkins workers strike over wages, working conditions

Source: Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun

Every two weeks, Johns Hopkins Hospital housekeeping worker Yolanda Kelly says she overdrafts her bank account just to pay her bills on time.

Union Efforts on Behalf of Adjuncts Meet Resistance Within Faculties' Ranks

Source: Peter Schmidt, The Chronicle of Higher Education

As part-time instructors at colleges seek to improve their working conditions through unionization, they often find that the people standing in the way of their efforts are not administrators but fellow faculty members, several union organizers and labor experts observed at a conference held here this week.

April 8, 2014

So-Called Right to Work Is Still Wrong for Workers

Source: James P. Hoffa, Huffington Post

The annual state legislative folly that spurs pro-corporate lawmakers to introduce legislation to hack away at workplace rights and wages for millions of middle-class families is well underway. And it is failing -- again.

Detroit city workers, pensioners could face cut in retirement savings, too

Source: Susan Tompor and Matt Helms, Detroit Free Press

Detroit's workers and retirees who put money in to the General Retirement System are being told they're likely to face cuts to their savings, too, as well as their pension checks, as part of the bankruptcy process, according to sources familiar with the plan.

Jobless Benefits Stalled Even With U.S. Senate Passage

Source: Kathleen Hunter, Bloomberg

U.S. House Republicans are showing no sign that they'll move forward legislation the Senate passed restoring benefits for the long-term unemployed.

VW eyes UAW recognition at Chattanooga plant, group says

Source: Mike Pare, Chattanooga Times Free Press

Volkswagen risks labor and political blowback if, as an anti-union group claimed Monday, the carmaker ignores February's vote at the Chattanooga plant and aligns with the United Auto Workers, an industry analyst says.

April 7, 2014

In Wake Of Protests, Walmart Workers Find More Hours Within Reach

Source: Dave Jamieson, Huffington Post

In her nearly two years with Walmart, Miya'Neisha Johnson has typically worked about 20 hours a week at her Western Arkansas store, while pursuing a bachelor's degree.

Bill to change disputed measure in education-reform law dies

Source: Zahira Torres, The Denver Post

Legislation that would keep Denver Public Schools from placing longtime teachers on permanent unpaid leave died Monday, but not before the state lawmaker who authored the bill chastised district administrators for not compromising.

The Unintended Consequences of Treating College Athletes Like Employees

Source: Juliet Lapidos, The New York Times

The head of an institution with a vested interest in maintaining the current college sports business model is unhappy about recent attempts to change it. Who could have predicted such a thing?

VW considering tossing election results and accepting UAW union, group says

Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press

An anti-union group said today that Volkswagen is considering disregarding the February election results over United Auto Workers representation at the Chattanooga plant and accepting authorization cards the union claims to have collected last year.

Workers on the Edge

Source: David Bensman, The American Prospect

One of the most significant contributing causes of the widening inequality and insecurity in the American workforce is the accelerating shift to what economists call contingent employment.

April 6, 2014

NYSUT votes in first female president

Source: Lauren Stanforth, Albany Times Union

New York State United Teachers delegates Saturday night voted in their first new president in nine years, no doubt a reaction to how the union feels its organization is responding to the state's implementation of the controversial Common Core State Standards.

Obama actions test workplace ideas

Source: Jim Kuhnhenn, Philadelphia Inquirer (AP)

Lacking congressional support to raise wages or end gender pay disparities, President Barack Obama is again imposing his policies on federal contractors, in keeping with presidents' tradition of exerting their powers on a fraction of the economy they directly control.

Low wages for female workers spur group of women to write letter to Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders to seek income equality

Source: Kenneth Lovett, New York Daily News

A group of more than 125 prominent women have sent a letter to Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders calling on them to allow local governments to set their own minimum wage rates.

Exploited temp workers may finally get some relief

Source: Michael Grabell, Salon (ProPublica)

ProPublica California could become one of the first states in the nation to hold companies legally responsible for wage and safety violations by their subcontractors and temp agencies if a bill proposed Friday becomes law.

Not your grandpa's labor union

Source: Leon Neyfakh, The Boston Globe

Last month, when the college football players of Northwestern University tentatively won the right to unionize, the ruling by the regional National Labor Relations Board asserted that even though these young men were students at their school, they were also its employees.

April 5, 2014

Former labor secretary backs UAW, blasts state officials for interference

Source: Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press

Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich chided Tennessee political leaders Friday for trying to influence workers at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant to reject representation by the United Auto Workers union.

Maryland Senate Approves Minimum Wage Increase

Source: Associated Press, CBS Baltimore

The Maryland Senate voted Saturday to increase the state's minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8 in January, the first in a series of incremental hikes that will lead to a $10.10 wage in July 2018.

Yes He Can, on Immigration

Source: New York Times

The administration needs to find ways to turn off the deportation machinery when it gets abused. It should end programs like Secure Communities that enlist local police as immigration enforcers. When immigrants assert their civil and labor rights against abusive employers, it should protect them from deportation and retaliation.

April 4, 2014

How Tenn. politicians killed Volkswagen unionization

Source: Ned Resnikoff, MSNBC

Right-wing groups may have successfully defeated a unionization bid at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tenn. manufacturing plant, but it wasn't a clean victory.

All Work and No Pay

Source: Moyers & Company

In 1991, the National Restaurant Association passed around enough campaign contributions to persuade Congress to set the federal minimum wage for waiters, busboys and bartenders at only $2.13 an hour. And it has never gone up.

Senate is expected to pass unemployment bill, but a difficult path awaits in House

Source: Wesley Lowery, The Washington Post

The Senate is expected to vote Monday to pass a bipartisan bill that would restore long-term unemployment benefits that were allowed to expire in December.

Young People Understand Unions Can Solve Problems

Source: Liz Shuler, U.S. News and World Report

Last week, the National Labor Relations Board's Chicago Regional Director issued a notable finding: football players at Northwestern University are employees of the university for purposes of federal labor law.

April 3, 2014

Apartment Building Workers Approve Possible Strike Ahead of Contract Negotiations

Source: Michael Herzenberg, NY 1

More than 1,000 people marched from 73rd Street and Fifth Avenue to 83rd Street and Park Avenue. The doormen, handymen, porters and building superintendents rallied, trying to demonstrate unity less than a week ahead of an expected contract offer from the realty advisory board.

SEPTA's biggest union doesn't want to strike, but will it?

Source: Dan Geringer, Philadelphia Inquirer

When the last of SEPTA's contracts with its unionized workers expires on Sunday, the clock starts ticking on the time bomb of a crippling transit strike.

Gov. Bentley says workforce training key to Alabama's economic future

Source: Alex Walsh, The Birmingham News

Gov. Robert Bentley emphasized the importance of workforce training and education in improving economic conditions across the state during an appearance at an Alabama Associated General Contractors meeting in Irondale on Wednesday.

Odds Aren't Improving For Long-Term Unemployed Workers

Source: NPR

There is still be a huge number of people who have been out of work for six months or more. Steve Inskeep talks to David Wessel, director of the Hutchins Center at the Brookings Institution.

April 2, 2014

College athletes take labor cause to Capitol Hill

Source: Kimberly Hefling (AP), Salon

Members of a group seeking to unionize college athletes are looking for allies on Capitol Hill as they brace for an appeal of a ruling that said full scholarship athletes at Northwestern University are employees who have the right to form a union.

UAW asks to delay Volkswagen hearing, cites anti-union collusion

Source: Amanda Becker and Bernie Woodall, Reuters

The United Auto Workers (UAW) on Tuesday asked a U.S. agency to stay an April 21 hearing related to a mid-February union vote it lost at a Tennessee Volkswagen plant, citing what it called new evidence of collusion between Republican lawmakers and anti-union groups.

Coal company from Spike TV series cited by NLRB

Source: Paul Nyden, Charleston Gazette

A coal company that hosted a national television series unfairly refused to negotiate a contract with union-represented miners, the National Labor Relations Board ruled last week.

April 1, 2014

Haslam drops raises for teachers, state workers

Source: Chas Sisk, The Tennessean

Gov. Bill Haslam's plan to boost pay for teachers will be put on hold for at least a year, the governor announced Monday, as he works to close a $160 million gap in the state budget.

Communism saved the American worker

Source: Edward McClelland, Salon

Communism was, however, fantastic for the American worker. It's no coincidence that the golden age of American equality, that period from the 1940s to the 1970s when the gap between CEOs and employees hit its all-time low, was almost exactly coterminous with the Cold War.

The hypocrisy of big-time college sports

Source: Gordon Schnell and David Scupp, CNN

The debate has gone on for years. The athletes in big-time college sports bring in billions of dollars for their universities and the NCAA, but get nothing in return -- other than a scholarship that does not even cover the full cost of attending school.

March 31, 2014

Tina Fey Docked $79k For Failing To Carry Workers' Comp Insurance

Source: Mack Gelber, AOL Jobs

Actress and 30 Rock creator Tina Fey might've found herself uttering Liz Lemon's old catchphrase this past weekend, after the New York State Workers' Compensation Board slapped her with a $79,000 judgment for failing to carry workers' comp insurance.

'Right to work' vote in Missouri House could have narrow margin

Source: Marie French, St. Louis Post Dispatch

One business priority touted by Republican leadership has been slow to move out of the Missouri House this session.

Politicians, experts split over fair minimum wage

Source: Associated Press, The Washington Post

The federal minimum wage has left three-person families below the poverty level since 1980. It's also well shy of the peak of its buying power almost half a century ago.

March 30, 2014

NW union reps off to Congress

Source: Tom Farrey, ESPN

The leaders who are attempting to unionize Northwestern football players will take their case to Capitol Hill lawmakers, aiming to protect the historic victory union organizers achieved last week.

Court docs: Google hiked wages to combat "hot, young" Facebook after Sandberg refused to join hiring cartel

Source: Mark Ames , Pando Daily

According to testimony from Sandberg, recently unsealed, almost as soon as she left Google for Facebook in March 2008, her former Google colleagues began discussing ways to bring her and Facebook into the illegal wage-suppression cartel.

Transgender Woman Banned from Ladies' Room Files Discrimination Charges

Source: RJ de Guzman, Philippine News

A transgender woman filed charges of discrimination at the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office, as two security guards barred her from entering the women's bathroom at her workplace.

March 29, 2014

United Auto Workers Membership Grows Slightly

Source: Ken Sweet, ABC News (AP)

The United Auto Workers said its membership grew by nearly 9,000 people last year, the union said in a filing with Department of Labor, the fourth-straight year that the union has rebuilt its depleted ranks.

The maestro behind the Vermont Workers' Center movement

Source: Terri Hallenback, Burlington Free Press

When a House committee held a public hearing this month on raising the minimum wage, a few dozen red-shirted Vermonters filed into the chamber and urged legislators not only to raise the minimum wage, but to elevate it higher than the governor wanted and to require employers to provide paid sick leave.

Bishops and clergy of many faiths agree: Right-to-work is bad for Missouri

Source: Editorial Board, St. Louis Post Dispatch

The Cabinet of the Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis has announced its opposition to "Right to Work/Freedom to Work" efforts under consideration in the Missouri Legislature.

March 28, 2014

Charter-boosters' ugly civil rights scam: Why their rhetoric is so misleading

Source: Josh Eidelson, Salon

"If other sections of the labor movement were to take some cues from the [Chicago Teachers Union] about militant, bottom-up, democratic left-unionism, unions' extinction might become less of a certainty," journalist Micah Uetricht writes in his new book, "Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity."

Long battle looms between U.S. college, athletes seeking to unionize

Source: Amanda Becker, Reuters

A day after football players at Northwestern University tentatively won the right to unionize, they and the Illinois school dug in for a lengthy legal and political battle that could reshape the multimillion-dollar sports business that U.S. colleges have built around unpaid amateur players.

Rewriting the Rules for Overtime Pay

Source: Tyler C. Grant, Consumer Eagle

Erin Johansson, research director for Jobs With Justice, said workers in the fast food industry sometimes oversee employees for only a couple of hours a week, but are classified as supervisors.

March 27, 2014

How Cincinnati beat the tea party

Source: Amy B. Dean, Al Jazeera America

The refrain of privatization seems to play over and over. Our cities are going broke and can't afford to make retirement payments; public health nurses, city park employees, and other workers who provide important services will not get what they worked hard for all their lives; and the only way out is to put pensions into the hands of privately held corporations.

Good news for Connecticut's governor: He just got the highest state minimum wage

Source: Niraj Chokshi, The Washington Post

Connecticut's Gov. Dan Malloy can breathe a little easier: he just landed the minimum wage hike he's been pushing so hard for.

NLRB decision very well-reasoned

Source: Lester Munson, ABC News (ESPN)

The regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago, Peter Sung Ohr, ruled Wednesday that Northwestern University football players are university employees and entitled to an election that will determine whether they can form a union.

Northwestern ruling sends clear message: NCAA, it's time to negotiate

Source: Andy Staples, Sports Illustrated

Donald Remy was disappointed Wednesday. This has become somewhat of a theme for the NCAA's chief legal counsel. In fact, if the fictional Soggy Bottom Boys are stumped for their next hit, they should consider writing "Man of Constant Disappointment" and dedicate it to Remy.

March 26, 2014

How many hours must minimum-wage earners work to afford rent?

Source: Jolie Lee, USA Today

Minimum-wage employees must work on average 2.6 full-time jobs to afford a decent two-bedroom apartment in the USA without paying more than 30% of their income, according to a report released Monday from the National Low Income Housing Coalition based on federal data.

White House: Minimum Wage Hike Will Help Close The Gender Wage Gap

Source: Dave Jamieson, Huffington Post

Hoping to give Democrats' minimum wage legislation a boost in Congress, the White House released a report on Wednesday making the case that raising the wage floor would benefit women in particular and help close the gender wage gap.

NLRB's N'western ruling to be issued

Source: Lester Munson and Tom Farrey, ESPN

The regional director of the Chicago district of the National Labor Relations Board, Peter Sung Ohr, will decide whether scholarship football players at Northwestern University qualify as employees who can form a union and bargain for benefits.

March 25, 2014

America's Workers: Stressed Out, Overwhelmed, Totally Exhausted

Source: Rebecca J. Rosen, The Atlantic

The article explains how our burnt out lifestyles are not necessarily our fault, but our culture's.

SRC seeks to eliminate seniority, impose other changes on teachers

Source: Solomon Leach, Philadelphia Daily News

Locked in a stalemate with the teachers union, the Philadelphia School District took a more forceful approach yesterday, asking the state Supreme Court to reaffirm its right to impose work rules, including the elimination of teacher seniority.

Grad Students Driving the Growing Debt Burden

Source: Josh Mitchell, The Wall Street Journal

The surge in student-loan debt in recent years has been driven disproportionately by borrowing for graduate school amid a weak economy and an open spigot of government credit, according to a report that raises questions about the broader debate about how to resolve Americans' growing burden.

Will Northwestern University football unionize?

Source: Sara Ganim, CNN

Northwestern University's president emeritus said that if the players on its football team are successful at forming a union, he could see the prestigious private institution giving up Division I football.

March 24, 2014

Wage increase sought for workers who also earn tips

Source: Andrew Seidman, Philadelphia Inquirer

An Assembly panel advanced legislation Monday that would increase the minimum wage for New Jersey workers who make most of their money in tips, despite objections from restaurant and beverage industry officials who feared a blow to businesses.

Five reasons the NLRB must overturn tainted VW election

Source: John Logan, The Hill

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will soon decide on whether to overturn the union election at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tennessee because outside interference undermined workers' choice.

Detroit prepares for historic debt deal vote

Source: Robert Snell, The Detroit News

Detroit will finalize this week an unprecedented plan to solicit votes from about 32,000 municipal retirees and beneficiaries on a blueprint for restructuring the city's debt.

Laid-off Tucson workers win injunction in union fight

Source: Patrick McNamara, Arizona Daily Star

A group of workers who claim they were laid off from their jobs in retaliation for attempting to join a labor union scored a victory in federal court against their former employer.

March 23, 2014

UC, union reach deal - strike averted at hospitals

Source: David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle

A planned, five-day strike this week at University of California hospitals was averted Sunday after school officials and the union representing patient care technical workers reached a tentative agreement

Kasich won't revisit crackdown on state workers' bargaining ability

Source: Eric Bradner, Politico

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he won't push again for a controversial anti-union measure if he wins a second term this fall.

Negative workers' rights still fuzzy after ruling

Source: Steve Twedt, Pittsburgh Post Gazette

A recent ruling by the National Labor Relations Board gives employers a little more guidance about when it is OK to fire workers for displaying negative attitudes without violating their rights to organize.

March 22, 2014

NCAA's true March Madness: not paying the players

Source: Ellis Henican, Newsday

From 64 to 16 to 4 to 1: You can tear up your NCAA brackets right now. We already know who's winning this year. The top-tier college coaches with their seven-figure salaries.

Teamsters score a win against "sharecropping on wheels." But will the trucking industry really change?

Source: Lydia DePillis, The Washington Post

Along with auto technicians, fast food workers, and baggage handlers, another profession has been hit by the separation of labor from employer: Port truckers, who haul containers from cargo ships on short trips around the terminal.

NY Dream Act backers want bill included in state budget

Source: Robert Brodsky, Newsday

Victoria Daza, an organizer with Long Island Jobs for Justice, said the best way to ensure passage of the Dream Act is to put it in the budget.

March 21, 2014

NLRB seeks to enforce UPMC subpoena

Source: Kris B. Mamula, Pittsburgh Business Times

The National Labor Relations Board on Thursday went to federal court to force UPMC to comply with a document request regarding the corporate relationship between UPMC Presbyterian and Shadyside hospitals.

Hearing on UAW vote at Tennessee VW plant vote April 21

Source: Amanda Becker, Reuters

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union will make its case on April 21 that the results of a February election it lost at a Chattanooga, Tennessee Volkswagen plant should be thrown out.

Breaking: Truckers who haul for Costco and Forever 21 land victory against corporate crime

Source: Josh Eidelson, Salon

Truck drivers who haul goods from the Port of Los Angeles to companies including Costco and Forever 21 - part of a growing army of workers who aren't considered "employees" under U.S. law - plan Friday to announce a legal settlement they hope will help spur unionization.

March 20, 2014

MLS referees reach collective bargaining agreement

Source: Steven Goff, The Washington Post

Good news and bad news on the MLS front late Wednesday: The good news is the referees' labor dispute is over. The bad news is the league's participation in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League is also over.

Candidates jump on issue of state collecting union dues

Source: Dan Boyd, Albuquerque Journal

Gov. Susana Martinez's battle with labor unions over the state's practice of collecting union payments from worker paychecks is shaping up as a hot campaign issue.

Casino union seeks to protect Revel workers if gambling hall is sold

Source: The Associated Press

The main union representing Atlantic City casino workers is turning up the heat on the non-union Revel Casino Hotel.

Md. Senate chair seeks pay raise for workers who care for developmentally disabled

Source: John Wagner, The Washington Post

The chairman of a key Maryland Senate Committee said Wednesday that he does not plan to act on a bill to raise the minimum wage until a related issue is resolved involving the way the state reimburses workers who care for the developmentally disabled.

State Rep Reintroduces Bill That Would Prohibit A SEPTA Worker Strike

Source: Tony Romeo, CBS Philadelphia

With another contract deadline having passed, a local lawmaker is once again introducing legislation that would prohibit SEPTA workers from going on strike.

March 19, 2014

Exclusive: Target's cheesy anti-union propaganda gets a modern makeover

Source: Josh Eidelson, Salon

Target's anti-union video for employees -- which previously drew ridicule for strained and earnest delivery, kitschy and melodramatic graphics, and sub-par production values -- appears to have gotten a makeover.

Governor wants state to stop collecting union dues

Source: James Monteleone, Albuquerque Journal

Gov. Susana Martinez's administration wants to stop allowing union dues to be withdrawn automatically from state employee paychecks, money that she says is turned around for political attacks.

Chattanooga VW workers seek injunction in UAW case

Source: Mike Pare, Chattanooga Times Free Press

Lawyers for three Chattanooga Volkswagen workers who have sued the carmaker in federal court have asked for a preliminary injunction to prevent VW from providing organizing assistance to the United Auto Workers in the event of a revote.

March 18, 2014

First round of ballots due April 3 on proposed R.I. pension settlement

Source: Katherine Gregg, Providence Journal

An April 3 deadline has been set for thousands of past and present public employees to return ballots on the proposed settlement of the legal fight over the General Assembly's repeated attempts to rein in exploding pension costs.

Ralph Nader: Give workers a raise

Source: Ralph Nader, USA Today

The long-standing effort to raise the federal minimum wage is approaching showdown time. Opinion polls show consistent support for a raise across the political spectrum.

How New York could crack down on fast food's corporate crime wave

Source: Josh Eidelson, Salon

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James will announce a four-part proposal to tackle alleged rampant wage theft in the fast food industry.

March 17, 2014

"Code words for race": What's really behind GOP's poverty and welfare obsession

Source: Josh Eidelson, Salon

Salon called up University of Southern California political scientist Ange-Marie Hancock to discuss a politician's assertions that there is no respect for work because of our culture.

Jefferson Cowie On Economic Inequality, Organized Labor And The Working Class

Source: Mary Edwards, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson Cowie, professor in Cornell University's School of Labor and Industrial Relations, reports that membership in labor unions peaked in the mid 50s when 35 percent of the work force belonged to a union. That percentage has decreased until levelling off at the current 6 percent membership. There are a number of reasons for the decline including political factors, economic factors, cultural issues and organizational problems with organized labor.

Jeffrey Kessler files against NCAA

Source: Tom Farrey, ESPN

High-profile sports labor attorney Jeffrey Kessler filed an antitrust claim Monday in a New Jersey federal court on behalf of a group of college basketball and football players, arguing the association has unlawfully capped player compensation at the value of an athletic scholarship.

NLRB Asks Fifth Circuit to Rehear Horton; Panel Split Over Board View on Class Waivers

Source: Lawrence E. Dube, Bloomberg BNA

The National Labor Relations Board filed a petition March 13 asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to rehear and reverse a 2-1 panel decision rejecting the NLRB's position that class and collective action waivers in an employer's mandatory arbitration policy interfere with employee rights under federal labor law.

March 16, 2014

Compromise on minimum wage hike discussed

Source: Mark Walker, UT San Diego

City Council President Todd Gloria suggesting Friday that one possible avenue to reach an accord making sure a raise in the current minimum of $8 an hour isn't too steep, is implemented gradually and is coupled with reasonable regulatory relief for businesses and developers.

Low-Wage Workers Finding It's Easier to Fall Into Poverty, and Harder to Get Out

Source: Steven Greenhouse, The New York Times

Wages are so low that working individuals still must seek assistant from whoever they can.

Sawant Proposes Three-Year Minimum Wage Phase-In for Small Businesses, Starting at $11/Hour in 2015

Source: Christopher Frizzelle , the Stranger

Big businesses would have to pay $15 an hour right away. "The mayor said he is concerned about very small businesses.

Secunda, Bauries, and Nahmod Amicus Brief in Lane v. Franks

Source: Workplace Prof, Workplace Prof Blog

A public employee was subpoenaed to testify in a fraud prosecution and fired from his job for telling the truth.

March 15, 2014

McDonald's workers file lawsuit for 'stolen' wages

Source: Schuyler Velasco, The Christian Science Monitor

McDonald's workers have filed class-action lawsuits in three states alleging franchisees stole wages from workers by forcing employees to work off the clock and refusing to pay overtime.

Industry Behind Anti-Wage-Hike Letter

Source: Eric Lipton, The New York Times

The National Restaurant Association did not disclose upfront its role in helping draft and circulate a statement signed by more than 500 prominent economists, including four winners of the Nobel Prize, urging the federal government to reject the proposal by the Obama administration to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, interviews with signers of the letter showed.

Obama makes the case for strengthening overtime protections in weekly address

Source: Laura Clawson, Daily Kos

President Obama used his weekly address to make the case for expanding overtime eligibility, as he proposed earlier in the week.

March 14, 2014

Explanation of how worker safety and health will improve under electronic tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses is lacking

Source: J.J. Keller & Associates

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) submitted its comments concerning OSHA's Proposed Rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses.

Does the use of social media in today's workplace raise discrimination concerns?

Source: J.J. Keller & Associates

The use of social media has become pervasive in today's workplace and, as a result, is having an impact on the enforcement of federal laws, a panel of experts told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at a meeting held on March 12 at EEOC Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The meeting was convened to gather information about the growing use of social media and how it impacts the laws that the EEOC enforces

LGBT Employment Discrimination and the EEOC

Source: The Labor and Employment Relations Association

Justin Mulaire, a trial attorney in the EEOC Chicago office, will discuss recent developments in the EEOC's handling of cases against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as a form of discrimination.

SSISS: Anti-harassment laws get passed, Govt to groom a pool of social service leaders

Source: Jonathan Lim and Martino Tan, Mothership.sg

Law Minister K Shanmugam says the standards of acceptable behaviour should be the same in the physical world and in the online sphere.

Anti-harassment laws to fight 'social scourge' in Singapore

Source: Kuala Lumpur Post

Proposed anti-harassment laws were passed yesterday with unanimous support from Members of Parliament (MPs), many of whom recounted stories of people they know getting harassed and public servants suffering abuse at work.

Report: women in media experience intimidation, abuse

Source: Theresa Gordon, Antigua Observer Newspaper

A new global report highlighting the dangers many women face while working in the media, has caught the attention of the Antigua & Barbuda Media Congress (ABMC).

March 13, 2014

First-of-its-kind corporate-wide settlement agreement in corrections industry addresses hazards associated with workplace violence

Source: J.J. Keller & Associates

A correctional, detention, and community re-entry services company, based in Boca Raton, Fla., has entered into a corporate-wide settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor that requires the company to implement comprehensive procedures and policies to better safeguard its workers against the hazards of workplace violence.

Obama Orders Rule Changes to Expand Overtime Pay

Source: David S. Joachim, The New York Times

President Obama ordered the Labor Department on Thursday to revise federal rules on overtime pay to make millions more workers eligible for extra pay when they work more than 40 hours a week.

Japanese Automakers Raise Wages

Source: Zacks Equity Research, Zacks Investment Research

Japanese automakers have decided to increase the base pay of workers, following the Prime Minister's efforts to convince employers of the same.

Teachers union warns of suburbs exodus if salaries don't rise

Source: Aaron Short, New York Post

City teachers are going to flee in droves for higher-paying jobs in the suburbs if the city doesn't boost salaries in upcoming contract negotiations.

USDA proposal threatens health of vulnerable poultry workers

Source: Mississippi Representative Bennie Thompson, The Hill

Women and men in Mississippi have been suffering debilitating injuries working in the state's poultry processing plants, which sometimes results in their job termination.

March 12, 2014

Tentative deal struck with public employees' union

Source: The Associated Press, Anchorage Daily News

The state says it has reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract with the Public Safety Employees Association.

UAW slams decision giving anti-union workers voice in VW dispute

Source: Amanda Becker, Reuters

The United Auto Workers on Wednesday sharply criticized and vowed to appeal a U.S. agency's decision to let anti-UAW Volkswagen workers defend the results of an election that the union lost last month at a Tennessee VW plant.

Low-wage jobs unexpectedly a way of life for many

Source: Josh Boak, The Associated Press

For years, many Americans followed a simple career path: Land an entry-level job. Accept a modest wage. Gain skills. Leave eventually for a better-paying job. However, since the Great Recession began in late 2007, many of the next-tier jobs no longer exist.

March 11, 2014

Maine Gov. LePage Resists Workplace Safety Data Plan

Source: Insurance Journal

A proposal from the federal government to make more specific workplace safety data available online could violate individuals' privacy and embarrass employers and workers, Maine officials said

Leading by example helps improve workplace safety: study

Source: Safety and Health Magazine

The type of leadership used in the workplace may have an effect on injuries and safety climate, suggests a new study from Colorado State University.

Third grade students at Trinity School select child labor as their spring service learning project

Source: Cindy Tipton, InMenlo

Children chose to study child labor to answer the question, "What are problems you are aware of in the world?"

Judge's decision is latest twist in Army sex case

Source: Emery P. Dalesio and Michael Biesecker - The Associated Press, Army Times

An army general struggles to make a deal with the mlitary for sexually assaulting soldiers.

Gender equality merits special consideration

Source: The Guardian Reporter , IPPmedia

Many governments have adopted active labour market policies to tackle discrimination against women and a growing number of employers' and workers' organizations are implementing initiatives on equal opportunity and treatment.

Why casino workers hate Obamacare

Source: Tami Luhb, CNN Money

Casino workers are preparing to strike against several Las Vegas establishments, but their real target is President Obama.

March 10, 2014

Massachusetts Paid Sick Time

Source: Mark Batten, Fredric Leffler, Marc Mandelman, Katharine Parker & Allan Weitzman , JDSUPRA

Rhode Island recently has followed Connecticut in mandating paid sick time, and now bills pending in Massachusetts and Vermont may spread the requirement through New England.

New Athens public safety hires to see greater pay

Source: WAFF.com Staff, WTOC

New firefighters and police officers in Athens Alabama were granted a pay increase Monday.

Retaliation Exposure Tipping Point? Supreme Court Extends SOX Whistleblower Protections to Private Company Employees

Source: Shanti Atkins & Randy Stephens , Navex Global

It has been ruled that employees of private companies engaged by public companies are covered by the whistleblower protections of Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 ("SOX")

Nexsen Pruet Employment Law Update - March 10, 2014: Should Employers "Get Physicial"?

Source: Nexsen Pruet, PLLC, JDSUPRA

Pre-employment medical exams, while not categorically barred, could violate several federal statutes and draw unwanted attention from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC or the Commission).

March 9, 2014

Among de Blasio's Priorities, Minimum Wage Waits Behind Pre-K

Source: Rachel L. Swarns, The New York Times

Mr. de Blasio's campaign to institute a New York City minimum wage has been pushed aside for a universal pre-kindergarten plan.

Latest ranking of most stressful jobs may just surprise you

Source: Lydia Meyer, News Tribune

A CareerCast.com study reports that some careers induce more anxiety than others.

Lincoln lawsuit lingers: Former vice president suing for discrimination

Source: Bob Watson, News Tribune

Former university vice president sues school for being fired for being Caucasian.

March 8, 2014

CPAC Presidential Straw Poll Picks Guy Who Thinks Whites-Only Lunch Counters Should Be Legal

Source: Ian Millhiser, Think Progress

Rand Paul claims the hard part of true freedom is that businesses should be able to discriminate between customers.

International Women's Day: Where Does the U.S. Rank in Gender Equality for Women Workers?

Source: Liz Shuler, AFL-CIO

Currently, women in the U.S. make only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes.

'They're Not Dead Yet': Planning The Demise Of Labor Unions At CPAC

Source: Dave Jamieson , Huffington Post

Some players in tax reform want to weaken the strength of unions in politics.

March 7, 2014

The Crowd That Doesn't Want to Raise the Minimum Wage Is Really Out of Touch

Source: Kenneth Quinnell, the AFL-CIO

Polls show more than half of small business owners support the minimum wage increase to $10.10/ hr.

California Farmworkers Often Forced To Live in Squalor, Says Report

Source: Michelle Chen, In These Times

Although fresh produce has gained in popularity, farmers cannot acquire accommodations equal to the standard of living in the United States.

Boeing will freeze pensions for 68,000 nonunion employees

Source: Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times

Boeing will freeze the traditional defined-benefit pensions of around 68,000 nonunion salaried staff, including managers and executives, all the way to the top, starting in 2016.

March 6, 2014

Occupational Health News Roundup

Source: Liz Borkowski , Science Blogs

Poultry companies want to speed up production, but employees claim it would be too much work.

OSHA Extends PSM Comment Period to March 3

Source: Occupational Health & Safety

OSHA waits for information on potential changes to its Process Safety Management standard and related standards.

Edmunds.com Sheds Light on the Future of Workplace Culture, Auto Technology 2014 SXSW

Source: Edmunds.com, Channel 25 News

Edmunds.com will be used as an example of a culture that supports and creates life-balance-oriented work policies.

March 5, 2014

Miss. House passes bills to restrict labor unions

Source: JEFF AMY, Associated Press, the Houston Chronicle

Mississippi lawmakers introduce a bill that will restrict some labor union organizing and picketing practices.

EXCLUSIVE: Unions demand all Domino Sugar site construction workers be organized

Source: Matt Chaban, New York Daily News

Unions demand equal pay and benefits for all workers on the Domino Sugar site.

California Mayors Fight Pension Powers That May Cut Costs

Source: Alison Vekshin, Bloomberg

California mayors believe union support will be withdrawn if pension cuts are put into practice.

At Newark airport, cleaning workers fear losing hard-fought pay gains

Source: Steve Strunsky/The Star-Ledger, NJ.com

Airlines choose nonunion cleaning companies to cut wages.

March 4, 2014

Unions, foes reach truce on ballot measures: Both sides withdraw ballot measures, a move the governor hopes will help him work toward tax reform

Source: Jonathan Cooper, The Register-Guard

The liberal group Our Oregon agreed to withdraw 10 proposed measures on taxes to make negotiations easier.

Miller Still Pushing for OSHA Combustible Dust Rule

Source: Occupational Health & Safety

Some hold the Obama administration responsible for impeding the protection of workers from combustible dust by not implementing necessary safety regulations.

Males refuse to accept flexible working hours after return women from maternity leave: new study

Source: Phil Jacob, the Telegraph News

Generation Y women are more concerned about maternity leave than men and women from earlier generations.

February 27, 2014

Sears Posts Loss for Quarter and Year in Tough Earnings Season for Many Retailers

Source: Elizabeth A. Harris, The New York Times

Stores such as Sears must become more member-based in order to survive in today's economy.

Tony Abbott won't budge on parental leave scheme 'I deeply believe in': Commission of audit reportedly thinks scheme too generous, but PM insists 'this policy is very good for the economy'

Source: Bridie Jabour, the guardian

Australia aims to increase maternity leave benefits for working parents.

Union exemption from harassment claims raises questions

Source: Jeremy Roebuck, Philly.com

Provision protecting parties in labor disputes from prosecution for stalking, harassment, and terrorist-like threats allow union workers to harass management and business owners at all hours of the day.

February 25, 2014

2 supervisors to pay $450K in decapitation of 2 workers

Source: Fred Hosier, Osha Safety News Alert

Two former supervisors have agreed to pay $450K to the families of two workers who were decapitated in a boiler explosion.

February 21, 2014

Worker crushed to death had feared injury would happen

Source: Fred Hosier, Osha Safety News Alert

Lack of safety maintenance results in man's death.

February 20, 2014

Sports Bar Chain Agrees to Pay $6.8 Million for Violating Wage Laws

Source: Steven Greenhouse

A popular chain of sports bars based in Philadelphia has agreed to pay $6.8 million in back wages and damages for improperly taking tips from waiters and bartenders and for violating minimum wage and overtime laws.

Share the dividends of increased productivity

Source: Harold Meyerson, New York Times

The Securities and Exchange Commission expects to create tax incentives for employee wage increases.

Why Gap's wage hike matters

Source: Ned Resnikoff, msnbc news

Although minimum wage laws were not raised, many retailers are raising their wages as a new business model.

February 19, 2014

MLS referees' union claims management threatened retribution

Source: Steven Goff, Washington Post

A management representative from the Professional Referee Organization threatened retribution against MLS referees.

December 31, 2013

Florida Law on Drug Tests for Welfare Is Struck Down

Source: Frances Robles, New York Times

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down as unconstitutional a Florida law that required welfare applicants to undergo mandatory drug testing, setting the stage for a legal battle that could affect similar efforts nationwide.

Thinking Outside The (Big) Box

Source: Adam Davidson, New York Times

Workers are not merely a cost; they can be a source of profit -- a major one.

December 29, 2013

Democrats Turn to Minimum Wage as 2014 Strategy

Source: Jonathan Martin and Michael D. Shear, New York Times

Democratic Party leaders, bruised by months of attacks on the new health care program, have found an issue they believe can lift their fortunes both locally and nationally in 2014: an increase in the minimum wage.

December 23, 2013

BART, Unions Reach Tentative Agreement

Source: Mike Hall, AFL-CIO

A tentative agreement between management and the two unions representing some 2,500 workers at Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) was announced.

December 15, 2013

Victims of Misclassification

Source: Marjorie Elizabeth Wood, New York Times

Millions of American workers in a wide variety of sectors, from construction and trucking to I.T. and professional services, are victims of misclassification, a tactic employers use to avoid paying taxes and providing benefits that are guaranteed to employees, such as workers' compensation, overtime pay, minimum wage and unemployment insurance.

December 12, 2013

Tea Party loses again: NYU grad students defy obstruction in precedent-setting 98 percent union vote

Source: Josh Eidelson , Salon

After right-wing antics and liberal union-busting denied them their union, NYU grad students just won it back.

US Unemployment Aid Applications Surge To 368,000

Source: Josh Boak, Talking Points Memo

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits rose 68,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 368,000, the largest increase in more than a year.

Study: Labor violations don't stop gov't contracts

Source: Associated Press, Associated Press

The federal government awards billions of dollars in contracts each year to companies that routinely violate safety, health and wage regulations, according to a report released Wednesday that calls for stricter measures to hold federal contractors accountable.

Labor group sees progress at major Apple supplier

Source: Associated Press, The Washington Post

A labor group monitoring three Chinese factories that make iPhones and other Apple products says once-oppressive working conditions have steadily improved in the last 18 months, but more must be done to reduce the amount of overtime that employees work.

Thinking For the Future

Source: David Brooks, New York Times

If you want to thrive in this computer-driven era, you probably want to be good at working with intelligent machines.

GOP Rep. Joe Barton Calls For Minimum Wage Repeal

Source: Sabrina Siddiqui, Huffington Post

President Barack Obama's call to raise the minimum wage has long been met with resistance from congressional Republicans, but Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) took things a step further by suggesting the minimum wage be done away with entirely.

Walmart Contractor Agrees To $4.7 Million Settlement Over Wage Theft Allegations

Source: Dave Jamieson, Huffington Post

A contractor that runs warehouses for Walmart has agreed to pay $4.7 million to settle allegations that it cheated workers out of wages, according to documents filed in federal court in California.

Attention Kmart Shoppers; Rebellion on Aisle 3

Source: Emily Pantoja, AU Labor Law Forum

Retail workers and the NLRB have teamed up to address unreasonable hours and working conditions.

December 11, 2013

Five Things The Budget Deal Doesn't Do

Source: Jeanne Sahadi, CNN Money

It's a very small deal. It's a bipartisan deal.
And it's a deal that -- if passed by the House and Senate -- will avert budget brinksmanship for the next year and a half and let lawmakers focus on other things for a change. But here are five things the deal doesn't do.

December 10, 2013

Supreme Court drops case on employer-union 'neutrality agreements'

Source: Robert Barnes, The Washington Post

The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will not decide whether a type of agreement between employers and unions that has become increasingly important to the labor movement violates the law.

December 4, 2013

The Path to Happy Employment, Contact by Contact on LinkedIn

Source: Erica A. Taub, New York Times

LinkedIn, the networking site for professionals, has become a vast business gathering place. With more than 259 million members in over 200 countries, LinkedIn offers users, most of whom pay nothing for the service, a chance to hone and increase their contacts. Users can also limit their connections to others who can best help them professionally.

October 2, 2013

Millennials in the Workplace: More Engagement, Less Powerpoint

Source: Michael Clement, Chicago Now

As employees and members of your team, Millennials are keen to engage in meaningful work and less motivated by the minutiae of post-college, entry-level positions. They want to be judged on the content of their presentations, not the prettiness of their Powerpoint slides.

October 1, 2013

Government Shutdown To Hit Labor Department Workplace Safety, EEOC Discrimination Investigations

Source: Dave Jamieson , Huffington Post

If Congress fails to fund the federal government to avert a shutdown, most investigations into workplace safety and discrimination will cease on Tuesday morning, when the overwhelming majority of Labor Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission employees are pulled off the job.

Labor: No Plans to Issue Jobs Data During Shutdown

Source: Christopher Rubager , ABC News

The Labor Department has no plans to release the closely watched U.S. monthly jobs report on Friday in case of a partial government shutdown that lasts through the week.

September 30, 2013

Interns Resist Working Free

Source: Ella Delaney , New York Times

A backlash against unpaid internships in America, manifested in a spate of lawsuits this year, is now spreading to Europe, where the issue of exploitation hit headlines in August with the death of the German intern Moritz Erhardt, 21, after allegedly working at Merrill Lynch's London office for 72 hours without sleep

September 27, 2013

Are employers dumping health benefits because of Obamacare?

Source: Tami Luhby , CNN Money

There are many assumptions about what the effects of Obamacare will be. This series aims to separate myths from realities and answer questions surrounding the Affordable Care Act.

Answers to Readers' Questions About Job Hunting

Source: New York Times

The Times invited readers to ask Eilene Zimmerman, a You're the Boss blogger, questions about job hunting. Ms. Zimmerman wrote The Times's Career Couch column for six years. This Q&A is part of "How I Hire," a LinkedIn Influencer feature in which The Times's Business section is participating.

September 26, 2013

Robin Richards of CareerArc, on Respecting Employee

Source: Adam Bryant, New York Times

This interview with Robin D. Richards, chief executive of the CareerArc Group, which connects employers with job and internship seekers, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.

Are employers dumping health benefits because of Obamacare?

Source: Tami Luhby , CNN Money

There are many assumptions about what the effects of Obamacare will be. This series aims to separate myths from realities and answer questions surrounding the Affordable Care Act.

New "Digest of EEO Law" Issued by EEOC

Source: Press Release , EEOC

This quarterly publication, prepared by the EEOC's Office of Federal Operations (OFO), features recent Commission decisions and federal court cases of interest. The latest edition also includes a special article on Abuse of Process.

September 24, 2013

DOL Goes to Bat for Tipped Workers

Source: Michele Bowman, Lawyers.com

A federal judge in Oregon has ruled that the Department of Labor cannot keep employers from forcing waitstaff to share tips with other restaurant workers in what is known as tip-poolin

More legal layoffs ahead? Experts expect more staff cuts

Source: Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

Law firms often review nonlawyer staffing first when considering cuts, Altman Weil principal Thomas Clay tells the Legal Intelligencer. "I'm surprised that anybody's surprised," he told the publication. "You're going to continue to see it as firms look in a slow-growth or no-growth economy" to save money.

September 23, 2013

Lower Health Insurance Premiums to Come at Cost of Fewer Choices

Source: Robert Pear , New York Times

Federal officials often say that health insurance will cost consumers less than expected under President Obama's health care law. But they rarely mention one big reason: many insurers are significantly limiting the choices of doctors and hospitals available to consumers.

EEOC: Buffalo employee fired after standing up for hiring black worker

Source: Paul Walsh , Star Tribune

A production manager lost her job at a small industrial company in Buffalo, Minn., for defending her recommendation to her boss that a black worker be permanently hired, according to a federal lawsuit.

September 20, 2013

Obama's Labor Pains: Unions Rage Against the Affordable Care Act

Source: Patricia Murphy , The Daily Beast

Unions were among the biggest backers of Obama's new health-care law. Now they say they were betrayed. Patricia Murphy on the simmering brawl.

Ex-Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich warns about income inequality

Source: Ricardo Lopez , LA Times

Former Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich, who served in the Clinton administration, warned during an interview of the perils of widening income inequality in the United States, excessive executive compensation and the future of labor.

What's the right ratio for CEO-to-worker pay?

Source: Jena McGregor, Washington Post

On Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to propose a rule requiring companies to disclose the ratio of CEO pay to the average worker's pay within their company. Big business has been fighting the Dodd-Frank rule for years, arguing that the number is either impossible to calculate or irrelevant to investors, while unions and other supporters of the rule think it will be invaluable for shaming companies into lowering their executives' big paychecks.

September 19, 2013

Employers Trim Health Costs By Cutting Coverage For Spouses

Source: Julie Rovner, NPR

When UPS told workers that it would no longer offer health coverage for spouses who had their own job-based insurance, it caused a big stir. But the shipping giant has plenty of company.

Kleiner Perkins sex discrimination case to stay in public eye

Source: Sarah McBride, Reuters

A high-profile Silicon Valley sex discrimination lawsuit moved closer to trial Wednesday after California's highest court rejected an effort by venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to take a former partner's case against it to arbitration.

Law students may work as unpaid interns on pro bono matters for law firms, Labor Department says

Source: Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

The letter (PDF) by the Labor Department's solicitor, M. Patricia Smith, is a response to then-ABA President Laurel Bellows, who sought assurances in May that the agency would interpret the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow such internships. Current ABA President James Silkenat says the ABA appreciates the Labor Department's stance.

September 18, 2013

Unfinished business: Women's initiative pushes for equal workplace rights

Source: Fox

"We're announcing a new effort to really galvanize women … around a women's agenda that focuses on issues like paid leave, equal pay for women, reproductive health," explained Neera Tanden, President and CEO for the Center for American Progress. "It's a broad agenda that really speaks to, in many ways, how women [have] plateaued over the last decade and our focus is on ensuring that women and families have a fair shot."

U.S. to Include Home Care Aides in Wage and Overtime Law

Source: Steven Greenhouse , New York Times

The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that it was extending minimum wage and overtime protections to the nation's nearly two million home care workers.

Minimum wage hikes possible in many states

Source: USA Today, Guampdm

California's recent decision to raise its minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016 - a higher minimum rate than any other state has now - may add momentum to the drive for higher hourly rates in at least eight other states in 2014.

September 17, 2013

Transgender Community Steps Closer to Employment Equality

Source: Maya Rhodan, Time

A transgender woman has reached a $50,000 settlement with her former employer in a discrimination case in South Dakota, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced Monday, accelerating a trend toward equal opportunity for transgender workers.

Three Common Questions About Workplace Retirement Plans

Source: Jason Gold, Huffington Post

In my financial practice, I am often questioned about what clients should do with their workplace retirement plans. For many, these savings are their largest investable asset over time, so it is no surprise that the topic comes up. Given the high level of interest from my clients and with workplace benefits enrollment season underway, I thought I'd focus this month's posting on three common questions I often get about workplace retirement plans.

Breaking the Code of Silence: Creating a Trusting Workplace

Source: Judith E. Glaser, Huffington Post

There are 5 characteristics of a conversation that bring about a sense of well-being and connectivity with others. As you weave these conversations into your team-building and relationship-building activities, you'll notice a positive shift in the openness and trust

September 16, 2013

Do workplace wellness programs work?

Source: Rahual K. Parikh, LA Times

Would you be willing to share with your employer how much you eat, drink, smoke or exercise? And would you be willing to make lifestyle changes in return for a break on the cost of your health insurance? The University of Minnesota offered such discounts to its workers.

Getting Personal With your Health Insurance Exchange Questions

Source: Julie Rovner, NPR

With the launch of new health insurance exchanges just about two weeks away, many of the questions in this month's mailbag focused less on the big picture and more on exactly how the law will operate for individuals.

September 10, 2013

Ambitious Women Face More Obstacles than Just Work-Life Balance

Source: Sarah Green, Harvard Business Review

The women we're hearing from -- Anne-Marie Slaughter, Sheryl Sandberg, and the rest -- aren't jetting out of the office at 5:30 to train for a marathon or learn Chinese or even just binge-watch Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. They're leaving "early" to take care of their children. And so we talk about having it all, leaning in, or opting out -- and we talk about women who don't make it to the very top of their companies, still, as if it's a personal choice.

A Dearth of Investment in Young Workers

Source: Tyler Cohen , New York Times

One of the most troubling features of the slow economic recovery is that it has largely bypassed young people. This doesn't bode well for the future of the American economy.

September 9, 2013

Will Part-Time Workforce Become the Mainstream of America's Future Employment?

Source: Morris Beschloss , My Desert

When the U.S. Labor Department issues its monthly unemployment rate, it usually follows with a raft of statistics that provide a true explanation of the precariousness of America's shaky employment recovery.

Capitalists wait for the recovery, while labor loses out

Source: Robert J Samuel , Washington Post

In the struggle between capital and labor, capital is winning -- and that's hurting the feeble economic recovery. To simplify slightly: Labor (wage-earners and consumers) can't spend, and capital (businesses and shareholders) won't spend. Without a powerful growth engine, the economy advances haltingly. I wrote about this last week from labor's perspective, but the subject deserves deeper treatment.

Non-Discrimination Ordinance Passes Despite An Asian Elephant in the Room

Source: Lee Cusenbary , My San Antonio

San Antonio's expanded non-discrimination ordinance passed today after much support and protest at City Hall. City Councilwoman Elisa Chan opposed the non-discrimination ordinance due to the fact it provided non-discrimination protection for gay and trans-gender Americans, whom she finds "disgusting."

September 6, 2013

Obamacare vs. Romneycare: The Labor Impact

Source: Casey B. Mulligan , New York Times

From a tax perspective, the Affordable Care Act is in a different league than the Massachusetts health reform law passed in 2006.

Big Labor, big spender: Column

Source: Mark Mix, USA Today

$1.7 billion. That's how much labor unions spent on the 2011-2012 election cycle, according to a new analysis from the National Institute for Labor Relations Research that tallies Federal Election Commission, IRS and state campaign finance reports and self-reported union disclosure forms from the Department of Labor.

5 Core Values for the Workplace

Source: Robert L. Dilenschneider, Huffington Post

There are many fine values, such as courtesy, confidence, ingenuity, thrift, and so on. The trouble is that the list of values grows easily and can cause many employees to lose their focus. They fail to prioritize. A "short list" of values is far more useful in putting the workplace back on track.

September 5, 2013

Gay rights, civil rights causes converge even if terms don't

Source: Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post

When speakers at Wednesday's "Let Freedom Ring" rally listed the social injustices that still need to be addressed, discrimination based on sexual orientation made almost every speech.

P&G backs non-discrimination bill

Source: Alexander Coolidge , Cincinnati.com

Procter & Gamble has signed on as a supporter for bipartisan legislation ending workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), advocacy group Americans for Workplace Opportunity announced Wednesday.

September 4, 2013

One-Third of U.S. Employees Say Employers Do Not Accommodate Religion in Workplaces

Source: Mike Ward & Bob Johnson, PR Web

Consider a typical workplace: meetings, production deadlines, coffee or smoke breaks and casual Fridays all come to mind as part of the routine. But when it comes to prayer breaks, wearing religious garb in the office and other accommodations specific to religion, that's a different story.

5 ways to arm yourself against workplace discrimination

Source: Stephanie Moon, WGAL News

Workplace discrimination can take many forms. It is illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

September 3, 2013

Labor Union Membership Still Down on Another Labor Day

Source: Dave Franzman, KCRG

But another Labor Day in Iowa also brought more statistics showing unions are still losing members. U.S. Labor Department statistics show 11.2% percent of U.S. workers belonged to unions in 2012. That figure was 20% just 30 years ago.

Op-ed: Marching on Washington and the Issues We All Face

Source: Kenneth L Samuel, Advocate

Fifty years ago this month, as the nation's capital prepared for the pivotal March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond stood on the U.S. Senate floor and held forth against the march's organizer, the openly gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin.

Wal-Mart extends benefits to same-sex partners

Source: Bloomberg News , Herald Net

Wal-Mart Stores's decision to extend health-care benefits to workers' same-sex partners removes one of the biggest holdouts and adds pressure on other resistant companies to follow suit.

September 2, 2013

Union Members Focus On Future This Labor Day

Source: CBS Detroit

It's Labor Day -- the last official holiday of the summer. But for thousands of working men and women, it's much more than just a day off.

Organized labor is making noise as unions add muscle to low-wage worker campaigns

Source: Dianne Stafford , Kansas City Star

On Labor Day 2013, organized labor is showing some oomph. Ty Cornley, an employee at a Jimmy John's, protested wages along with other fast-food workers who marched along Eastwood Trafficway last Thursday in Kansas City.



August 29, 2013

The New Pregnancy Discrimination

Source: Liza Featherstone, Glamour

What do an investment banker, a railroad conductor, and a telephone operator all have in common? Sadly, the answer isn't funny--it's that women in all these positions have faced pregnancy discrimination. "Thousands of women across the country are being forced onto unpaid leave or simply fired at the very moment they're counting on their income and job security," says Emily Martin of the National Women's Law Center. Seventy-five percent of American women will be pregnant and working at some point in their life--this is an issue that affects all of us. Here are some stories:

Working to Fulfill the Promise of the National Labor Relations Act

Source: Office of Public Affairs , NLRB

August 25 through August 31 is National Labor Rights Week. Throughout the country, staff members working in regional offices of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are meeting with immigrant workers, community groups, employees and employers to discuss the rights guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act.

Transgender in the Workplace: The Need for Training

Source: Vanessa Sheridan, Huffington Post

Laws are changing. Increasingly, legal battles are being fought and won. Subsequently, transgender people are becoming increasingly visible in every area of society, including the workplace. As more companies respond positively to the new business reality of transgender inclusion, the need for awareness training also increases.

August 28, 2013

Workplace Sexual Harassment Poll Finds Large Share Of Workers Suffer, Don't Report

Source: Jillian Berman | Emily Swanson, Huffington Post

The first time Heather Huhman experienced unwanted advances from a co-worker, she was just 15. Unsure of what to do, Huhman reported the man, who she says had been harassing her at work and following her home, to authorities at her company.

Starbucks Won't Cut Worker Hours, Benefits Ahead Of Obamacare: CEO

Source: Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, Huff Post Business

Starbucks Coffee Co will not follow the lead of other companies that are cutting health insurance benefits or reducing hours for employees in anticipation of the U.S. Affordable Care Act, the coffee shop chain's CEO Howard Schultz told Reuters on Monday.

Workplace Sexual Harassment Poll Finds Large Share Of Workers Suffer, Don't Report

Source: RIchard Eskow , Huffington Post

When Bayard Rustin addressed the March on Washington in 1963 he said this: "We demand that there be an increase in the national minimum wage so that men may live in dignity." The crowd cheered in response. But after fifty years of commemorating that march, after thousands of reverent re-readings of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, that dream remains deferred - and worse.

August 27, 2013

Federal jury awards St. Louis officer $620,000 in racial discrimination suit

Source: Margerete Gillerman , St. Loius Post

Every woman has her own definition of success. But there are certain traits that most successful women share. I spend a good part of my work day reading and writing about women who have achieved great things -- and I make it a point to surround myself with women who are well on their way to doing so.

12 Things Successful Women Do Differently

Source: Emma Gray , Huffington Post

I spend a good part of my work day reading and writing about women who have achieved great things -- and I make it a point to surround myself with women who are well on their way to doing so.

August 26, 2013

Working for Nothing

Source: Juliet Lapidos, New York Times

After graduating from school I despaired of finding a job and applied instead for unpaid internships, landing at The Paris Review, a literary magazine in Manhattan. I read through the slush pile, learned how to fact-check and performed light janitorial tasks, like emptying the dishwasher and taking out the trash. It was a fine four months. My parents lived in the city, so I didn't have to pay rent; the editors were kind, smart people who seemed appropriately embarrassed by the trash situation.

U.P.S. to End Health Benefits for Spouses of Some Workers

Source: Steven Greenhouse , New York Times

United Parcel Service has told its white-collar employees that it will stop providing health care coverage to their spouses who can obtain coverage through their own employers, joining an increasing number of companies that are restricting or eliminating spousal health benefits.

EEOC And Cooper University Health Care Reach Accord on Reasonable Accommodation Issues

Source: Press Release , EEOC

The U.S. Equal Employment Commission (EEOC) announced today that Cooper University Health Care has implemented policy changes that strengthen its processes for addressing reasonable accommodations for employees who must be absent from work due to serious medical conditions. Cooper has also agreed to pay $500,000 to former employees to amicably resolve disputes over the extent of reasonable accommodations previously granted.

August 22, 2013

Learning Revolution Comes to the Workplace

Source: Julian L. Alssid, Huffington Post

I think it's pretty obvious by now that Washington lawmakers are not going to lead us to robust economic recovery and employment any time soon. The evidence just keeps mounting.

Did you not get that promotion because you're a woman?

Source: Jena McGregor, Washington Post

These days, there's no shortage of advice for women about how to get promoted, manage their careers and personal lives, and receive equal pay. But what if women don't think they need it?

August 21, 2013

Who Is Organized Labor's Most Feared Enemy?

Source: David Macaray, Huffington Post

Based on everything that's happened in the last 70 years or so, one might reasonably assume the Republican Party is labor's chief adversary. After all, it was the Republicans who sponsored the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, a squalid piece of pro-business legislation that pretty much defanged and de-clawed the landmark 1935 National Labor Relations Act (known as the Wagner Act).

What if we knew how much CEOs made vs. their workers?

Source: Jena McGregor, Washington Post

It may not be long before companies finally have to disclose the ratio of how much their average worker makes in comparison to their CEO. Reports in recent weeks have said the long-delayed rule proposal, which was part of the Dodd-Frank law that passed three years ago, could finally arrive this summer.

More Options This Fall For Some Small-Business Workers

Source: Michelle Andrews, NPR

Workers at small companies are generally starved for choice when it comes to health insurance. If their employers offer health coverage at all -- and only about a third of companies with fewer than 50 workers do -- chances are there will be just one plan on the menu.

August 20, 2013

Women in the Workplace: Recognizing and Overcoming Bias

Source: Kate Rogers, Fox Business

Women have made substantial gains in the workforce since the 1950s, but many still believe they are being passed over for promotions and raises due to their gender.

Obamacare clock stops for your boss, not you

Source: Amanda Gengler , CNN

Large employers that don't offer health care coverage next year won't face fines under Obamacare. You, however, are not so lucky.

Why Bosses And Teachers Have So Much Power Over Familie

Source: Lisa Earle McLeod, Huffington Post

We talk about you at dinner. Almost every night, our spouse or child gives us a recap of your day. We hear about your moods, what you said or did, sometimes, we even hear about your wardrobe and facial expressions.

August 19, 2013

You Ask, We Answer: More Of Your Questions About The Affordable Care Act

Source: Emily Alpert, Metropolitan Corporate Counsel

The United States Supreme Court continued its trend of business-friendly decision making in the 2012-2013 term, ruling more often than not in favor of business interests. In particular, the Supreme Court's decisions on arbitration- and employment-related issues gave companies and employers victories, enforcing arbitration agreements and limiting the scope of harassment and retaliation claims under Title VII.

15% of women report experiencing workplace bias in Gallup poll

Source: Emily Alpert, LA Times

Fifteen percent of American women believe they have been passed over for a promotion or some other opportunity at work because of their gender, new polling from Gallup shows. Gallup also found that 13% thought they were denied a raise at some point because they were women.

You Ask, We Answer: More Of Your Questions About The Affordable Care Act

Source: Julie Rovner, NPR

The Oct. 1 launch of the new health insurance exchanges is now less than two months away, and people are starting to pay attention to the changes these new marketplaces may bring to the nation's health care system.

August 14, 2013

EEOC is using labor law to bring civil actions against suspected human traffickers

Source: Terry Carter, ABA

Efforts to thwart human trafficking in workers has increased significantly in recent years, and the pace will quicken as employment rights intersect with human rights as an enforcement tool, shining a spotlight on employers.

Labor and Civil Rights Groups Descend on ALEC Conference

Source: Kari Lyderson , In These Times

This week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is holding its 40th annual conference at the Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago, where state legislators and representatives of some of the world's most powerful companies have come together to discuss policy issues from the environment to education to labor--with the underlying goals of increasing privatization, curbing organized labor and limiting the federal government.

August 13, 2013

Labor Department updates guidelines to extend benefits to same-sex spouses

Source: Julian Hattem , The Hill

The federal government is rolling out changes to implement the Supreme Court's ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act's provision blocking federal benefits for same-sex couples.

Anti discrimination bill returns with record support in House

Source: Amy Worden, Philly.com

Support for a bill that would bar discrimination in housing and employment based on sexual orientation is nearing the 50 percent mark in the House. The bill was re-introduced in the House yesterday by Reps. Dan Frankel (D., Allegheny) and Chris Ross (R., Chester) with a record 90 co-sponsors from both parties.

When Leaning In Doesn't Pay Off

Source: Scott Schieman, Markus Schafer and Mitchell McIver , New York Times

WHY do women not have as many leadership roles in the workplace as men do?

August 12, 2013

The Workers Defense Project, a Union in Spirit

Source: Steven Greenhouse , New York Times

The workers, most of them Honduran immigrants, had jobs applying stucco to the exterior of a 17-story luxury student residence. It was difficult, dangerous work, but that was to be expected. What upset them was that for the previous two weeks their crew leader had not paid them; each was owed about $1,000.

Unpaid Interns Not Protected Against Sexual Harassment: EEOC

Source: Blair Hickman and Christie Thompson, Huffington Post

In 1994, Bridget O'Connor began an internship at Rockland Psychiatric Center, where one of the doctors allegedly began to refer to her as Miss Sexual Harassment, told her that she should participate in an orgy, and suggested that she remove her clothing before meeting with him. Other women in the office made similar claims.

August 9, 2013

Demand legal protection: It's okay to be gay at work

Source: Rachel Laser , Washington Post

It should be a national priority to end such discrimination, yet most people don't even realize such legal discrimination exists. This week, the Senate took a momentous step towards rectifying this situation, sending the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) out of committee to the Senate floor - with a strong bipartisan vote of 15-7.

Will fast-food protests spur higher minimum wage?

Source: Sharon Cohen, AP

Terrance Wise has two jobs in Kansas City -- one at a burger joint, a second at a pizza restaurant -- but he says his paychecks aren't enough to buy shoes for his three daughters and insure his 15-year-old car. So he decided to draw attention to his plight: He walked off work in protest.

No Justice for the Injured

Source: Billy Corriher , Center for American Progress

Big Business Is Funneling Campaign Cash to Judges Who Allow Corporate Wrongdoers to Escape Accountability

August 7, 2013

How to Reinvent the Workplace to Satisfy Baby Boomers

Source: Philip Moeller, US News & World Report

Growing numbers of older employees are delaying retirement. They may be motivated to build bigger retirement nest eggs. Often, they feel physically capable of continuing to work for a long time past traditional retirement age.

Compassion In Business Benefits Employers And Employees, Workplace Stress Research Shows

Source: Emma Seppala, Huffington Post

Managers often mistakenly think that putting pressure on employees will increase performance. What it does increase is stress--and research has shown that high levels of stress carry a number of costs to employers and employees alike.

Key vote on minimum wage next week

Source: Jack Katzanek, The Press Enterprise

The bill to increase California's minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2018 faces a key legislative contest Monday at a hearing before the Senate's Appropriations Committee.

August 6, 2013

'Lookism' glass giving women a hard time

Source: Naomi Wolf , New Straits Times

Do women suffer from a double standard in the workplace in relation to how they look? Have we gotten past the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) shade of sexism in hiring and promotion -- disproportionately affecting women -- that I identified in 1991 as "the professional beauty quotient"?

Too Big to Cocktail? Judge Upholds Weight Discrimination in the Workplace

Source: Josh Sanburn, Time

Most forms of workplace discrimination have been barred for years thanks to state and federal protections. But in 49 states around the U.S., there's still at least one that's legal: discrimination based on weight.

Workplace equality

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

In the politically charged election year of 1996 -- the same year the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed both houses of Congress with veto-proof margins -- the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) reached the Senate floor and was defeated by a single vote.

August 5, 2013

How to protect gay workers

Source: Editorial Board , Washington Post

IN THE politically charged election year of 1996 -- the same year the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed both houses of Congress with veto-proof margins -- the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) reached the Senate floor and was defeated by a single vote.

Women Claiming Gender Bias At Walmart Denied Class Action Status

Source: Daisy Nguyen , Huffington Post

A judge rejected on Friday an attempt to file a class action discrimination lawsuit on behalf of 150,000 Wal-Mart women employees in California who claimed their male colleagues were paid more and promoted faster than them.

NLRB rulings stalled pending Supreme Court review

Source: Alejandra Cancino, Chicago Tribune

NLRB rulings stalled pending Supreme Court review

August 2, 2013

Advocates launch campaign to bar workplace discrimination against gays

Source: Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post

A coalition of civil rights groups is launching a $2 million campaign aimed at mobilizing support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has languished on Capitol Hill for nearly two decades.

The Trayvon Martin Effect and Managing Race Issues in the Workplace

Source: Beth N. Carvin , Fast Company

The research is clear-- a company with diverse employees is a company with a wide range of workplace experiences. While the majority of acts of discrimination are not blatant violations of company policy, diverse employees are commonly treated differently in small, subtle ways. For example, black employees may now be subjected to a barrage of seemingly innocent questions like, "What do you think of the Trayvon Martin verdict?"

Senate panel OKs bill banning anti-gay job bias

Source: Sam Hananel , Boston.com

A Senate panel has approved a bill that would ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

August 1, 2013

Filner got no sex harassment training; is city liable for legal tab?

Source: Tony Perry , LA Times

Mayor Bob Filner's attorney said the city of San Diego should pay his legal fees in a sexual misconduct case because the mayor never received required sexual harassment training.

A Shifting Workplace Experience

Source: Quentin Hardy, New York Times

Compared with offices of the past, the modern workplace is paradoxically both more informal and more relentless. Doors have been replaced by cubicles, formal desks with tables, and long-planned meetings with ad hoc collaboration.

A Day's Strike Seeks to Raise Fast-Food Pay

Source: Steven Greenhouse , New York Times

From New York to several Midwestern cities, thousands of fast-food workers have been holding one-day strikes during peak mealtimes, quickly drawing national attention to their demands for much higher wages.

July 31, 2013

Advocates launch campaign to bar workplace discrimination against gays

Source: Seth Wenig , Washington Post

A coalition of civil rights groups is launching a $2 million campaign aimed at mobilizing support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has languished on Capitol Hill for nearly two decades.

Senate Confirms All NLRB Nominees

Source: Alan Fram , Time

The Senate voted Tuesday to fill all five seats on the National Labor Relations Board and prepared to consider President Barack Obama's picks for top diplomatic and law enforcement posts as the chamber whittled down a pile of stalled nominations.

Bridging the Generation Gap in the Workplace

Source: Randy Hain, Huffington Post

Over the next one to two decades, we will witness the exit of much of our workforce, mostly from the retiring Baby Boomer generation. With so much written about Gen Y's challenges and overall lack of readiness to lead, we should be concerned... concerned enough to do something about it.

July 30, 2013

Senate Republicans May Allow Workers' Rights to Disappear

Source: David Madland and Keith Miller , Center for American Progress

If the Senate does not act quickly to approve President Barack Obama's five bipartisan nominees to serve on the National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, a number of workplace protections taken for granted by union and nonunion workers alike could functionally disappear in August, leaving millions of workers vulnerable and with nowhere to turn.

Op-ed: 10 Drastic Changes to Help HIV-Positive and LGBT Citizens

Source: Ian Thompson , Advocate

Considering the seemingly unending partisan gridlock in Washington, you'd be forgiven for sighing and rolling your eyes at the mere mention of Congress.

July 29, 2013

The New Face of Big Labor

Source: F. Vincent Vernuccio, National Review Online

There is a new trend in union organizing. Big labor is setting its sights on "organizing" workers without necessarily making them members of a union.

Fighting Back Against Wretched Wages

Source: Steven Greenhouse , New York Times

Often relegated to the background, America's low-wage workers have been making considerable noise lately by deploying an unusual weapon -- one-day strikes -- to make their message heard: they're sick and tired of earning just $8, $9, $10 an hour.

Supreme Court Revisits Title VII

Source: Eileen Lohmann, Labor & Employment Law Forum

On June 24, the United States Supreme Court handed down rulings in two cases involving employment discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, each of which resulted in a five-to-four decision for the employer.

July 26, 2013

Depression in the workplace

Source: Jena McGregor, Washington Post

If you're dealing with depression at work, you're hardly alone. You may not know it, because it's not exactly water cooler conversation, but a new survey from Gallup finds that about 12 percent of U.S. workers have been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives.

Too Big to Cocktail? Judge Upholds Weight Discrimination in the Workplace

Source: Josh Sanburn, Time

Most forms of workplace discrimination have been barred for years thanks to state and federal protections. But in 49 states around the U.S., there's still at least one that's legal: discrimination based on weight.

July 25, 2013

Act Your Age? Not If You Hope to Escape Age Discrimination

Source: Don Kadlec , Time

Why should we try to stay young? In a recent post, I offered eight ways for boomers to stay hip without embarrassing themselves. The advice was meant to be taken in good fun, but also to be helpful. Still, I got pushback that is worth noting.

Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace: The Time Is Now

Source: Vanessa Sheridan , Huffington Post

Transgender inclusion in the workplace has quietly become a phenomenon of global proportions. In the year 2000, there were three Fortune 500 companies that included gender identity in their employee nondiscrimination policies.

Unpaid Interns: Silent No More

Source: Ross Perlin , New York Times

Last month, a federal judge in New York ruled that unpaid interns on the movie "Black Swan" should have received at least the minimum wage. The judge also allowed a class-action suit to go forward against the Fox Entertainment Group, the parent company of the film's production division.

July 24, 2013

NLRB nominees face GOP skepticism

Source: Priya Anand , Politico

The two new nominees for the National Labor Relations Board -- the result of last week's nuclear option deal in the Senate -- faced skepticism Tuesday from Republicans for their ability to be impartial decision makers given their backgrounds advocating for unions.

EEOC suits claim employers violated genetic bias law by asking for family history in required exams

Source: Debra Cassens Weis , ABA Journal

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges in two lawsuits that employers violated federal genetic discrimination law by asking about family medical history in required physical exams

Washington Push for Higher Minimum Wage for Workers Has Walmart Balking

Source: Trip Gabriel , New York Times

An attempt by the City Council to force profitable chain stores to pay much higher wages than the city's minimum has infuriated Walmart, which is threatening to pull out of up to six planned stores.

July 22, 2013

Fairness at work: All employees deserve protection from bias

Source: Pittsburg Post Gazette

Last month, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and effectively shattered California's Proposition 8, allowing same-sex couples in that state to resume getting married. But workplace discrimination is a reminder that Americans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered still face barriers to opportunities.

Americans Are Warming Again to Unions. Will the Relationship Last?

Source: Christopher Matthews , Time

With the struggles in recent weeks over Obamacare implementation, immigration reform, and the debt ceiling, you would be forgiven for not noticing the fierce battle being fought in the United States Senate over an obscure federal agency called the National Labor Relations Board, which is tasked with enforcing federal labor law and protecting worker's rights to collectively bargain.

Age Discrimination Laws Did Not Help Older Workers During The Recession

Source: Phillip Moeller, Huffington Post

Age discrimination laws provided no meaningful protection to older employees during and after the recession, according to a study released this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

July 19, 2013

Obama hails Perez confirmation for Labor post

Source: David Jackson, USA Today

President Obama is applauding Thursday's Senate vote confirmingTom Perezas the new secretary of Labor. Perez, whose nomination had been held up by Senate Republicans, won approval on a party line vote of 54-46.

With Filibuster Deal, NLRB Could Soon Return To Full Force

Source: Scott Horsley , NPR

For decades after the 1930s, the National Labor Relations Board served as the arbiter for squabbles between management and unions, or workers who wanted to join a union. In more recent years, though, the board itself has become a battleground.

July 18, 2013

Tackling the Dysfunctional Workplace

Source: Randy Hain , Huffington Post

As I speak to business leaders around the country, I am always curious about the challenges they are dealing with and the problems that keep them up at night. If I distill these various conversations down, it would be appropriate to describe much of what I am hearing as "workplace dysfunction."

Part-Time Workers Say Schedules Are Getting More Erratic

Source: Marilyn Geewax , NPR

In the 1980s, a popular fast-food commercial touted chicken-breast sandwiches -- and mocked chicken nuggets sold by competitors.

New Lawsuit An 'Assault' On Unions | The Hechinger Report

Source: The Hechinger Report , Huffington Post

A California lawsuit filed this spring against teachers unions could have widespread national implications for labor laws.

July 17, 2013

N.J. top court strengthens workplace bias laws

Source: Chris Mondics, Philly.com

In a decision bolstering laws on workplace discrimination, the New Jersey Supreme Court found Wednesday that employers engaging in derogatory or denigrating remarks can be held civilly liable even though no individual may have been directly harmed.

Confidence of Gen Y Women in the Workforce Soars

Source: Dawn Walton, Yahoo Finance

A funny thing happened on the way to the office. Women, particularly the youngest, newest entrants to the workforce became more confident - so confident in fact, that men are beginning to feel left in their dust.

Obamacare delay passes insurance burden onto workers

Source: Tami Luhby , CNN

Employers got a one year reprieve from having to offer health insurance. But workers at these companies still have to get coverage or pay a penalty.

July 16, 2013

Transgender woman wins landmark employment discrimination suit

Source: Kate McDonough , Salon

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled in favor of a transgender woman who was verbally and physically harassed at her job with a federal contractor in Maryland. The court ruled that the woman's supervisors created a hostile work environment by failing to intervene after being informed of the harassment, in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Inaction on NLRB Confirmations Is Simply Wrong

Source: Richard Trumka , Huffington Post

Stall tactics and political brinksmanship in the U.S. Senate have inflicted senseless and avoidable pain on everyday people for far too long. Now we may be on the verge of breaking through.

Vacancies and Partisan Fighting Put Labor Relations Agency in Legal Limbo

Source: Mark Landler and Steven Greenhouse , New York Times

At the heart of the rancorous showdown between Senate Republicans and Democrats over President Obama's blocked political appointments is an unglamorous federal agency that polices labor practices and that has, for Republicans, become a reviled symbol of the Obama administration's bureaucratic overreach.

July 15, 2013

Workplace Discrimination Series: Mia Macy

Source: Preston Mitchum and Lauren Santa Cruz , Center for American Progress

Make no mistake: Workplace discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, community is an ongoing problem that has made it difficult for many LGBT workers to financially provide for their families.

Fighting the Epidemic of Wage Theft

Source: Ed Alpern , Lawyers.com

Wage theft. It's a national epidemic across the country. Minimum wage workers weathered the New York City summer heat to hold a rally to raise awareness and to end the exploitation. Lawyers.com videojournalist Ed Alpern reports.

Bill would outlaw job, housing discrimination for troops, vets

Source: Rick Maze , Navy Times

A bill protecting current and former service members from discrimination in housing and employment was introduced Thursday in the House and Senate.

July 12, 2013

Employment Discrimination Pushes Felons Onto Food Stamp Rolls, Increasing Program's Costs

Source: Saki Knafo, Huffington Post

By refusing to hire people who have been convicted of crimes, employers may be adding billions of dollars to the total cost of the country's ballooning food assistance program.

Motion to Dismiss: From Catcalls to Kisses, Gender Bias in the Courtroom

Source: Kat Macfarlane, The New York Observer

While Wendy Davis's 10-hour filibuster was a marvel of political assertion, the best moment from the nail-biter of a Texas Senate session came minutes before midnight, when Democratic Senator Leticia Van De Putte petitioned Senator Robert Duncan for permission to speak.

Off the Charts: Women in the Workplace

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Haver Analytics, New York Times

The number of private sector jobs held by women rose to a record level in June, surpassing the previous record set more than five years earlier in December 2007.

July 11, 2013

Obesity Likely to Become 'Disability' Under ADA

Source: Michele Bowman , Lawyers.com

The American Medical Association last month voted to classify obesity as a disease, a move lawyers say will likely expand the reach of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) further.

Gay rights activists cheer workplace discrimination bill

Source: Marina Villeneuve, LA Times

A Senate committee approved a bill Wednesday prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, a victory for gay rights activists just two weeks after the Supreme Court handed down rulings expanding protections for married same-sex couples.

July 10, 2013

Gays And Lesbians Turn Fight To Workplace Discrimination Ban

Source: Jennifer Ludden , NPR

With new momentum for same-sex marriage from the Supreme Court, gays and lesbians are hoping for progress in another sphere: the workplace. In more than half the country, it's still legal to fire people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

What Vance v. Ball State Tells Us About Employment Discrimination

Source: Richard B. Lapp and Camille A. Olson, Yahoo Finance

The United States Supreme Court has made it more difficult for workers to sue their employers for alleged workplace harassment. The Court's 5-4 decision last week in Vance v. Ball State narrowed the definition of the term "supervisor," ruling against a catering assistant employed at an Indiana university who claimed she had been discriminated against because of her race.

July 9, 2013

Social media free speech rights complicated for workers

Source: Kristi Marohn, USA Today

An anonymous "Suzy Citizen" leaves fliers criticizing management in a public area of the St. Cloud Public Library, and the Great River Regional Library board of trustees hires an investigator to find out if an employee is the culprit.

Changes in the workplace after DOMA's demise

Source: Katie McDonough , Salon

Extending benefits to gay married couples raises "a lot of practical questions for employers," advocates say

How Government Is Hurting the Labor Market

Source: Danielle Kurtzleben, US News & World Report

The latest jobs report featured pleasant surprises, but also a few dark spots - arguably caused by Washington policies

July 8, 2013

Court Rulings Complicate Discrimination Suits For Employees

Source: Nina Totenberg & Sommer Ingram, NPR

In two big employment law cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it harder for employees to bring discrimination suits over workplace harassment and retaliation.
The two 5-to-4 rulings frustrated Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg so much that she took the unusual step of reading a dissent from the bench addressing both cases. Her dissent apparently frustrated Justice Samuel Alito so much that he rolled his eyes as Ginsburg spoke.

How high court bias rulings will affect medical workplace suits

Source: Alicia Gallegos , American Medical News

For alleged discrimination in the medical field, some experts say the decisions clarify legal standards for plaintiffs, while others say employee rights are at risk.

July 5, 2013

What Trans-Pacific and U.S.-EU Trade Partnerships Must Tackle: Jobs

Source: Michael Shank and Sabina Dewan, Huffington Post

A high-level panel appointed by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon released its recommendations last month for a global development agenda when the Millennium Development Goals expire at the end of 2015 and when approximately one billion people will still be living in extreme poverty.

High Court Sides With Employers In Discrimination Suits

Source: Yuki Noguchi , NPR

The Supreme Court sided with employers in two harassment and discrimination cases. One case turned on whether one employee was another's supervisor, the other on whether the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center was justified in withdrawing an offer of employment.

July 4, 2013

High Court Sides With Employers In Discrimination Suits

Source: Yuki Noguchi , NPR

The Supreme Court sided with employers in two harassment and discrimination cases. One case turned on whether one employee was another's supervisor, the other on whether the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center was justified in withdrawing an offer of employment.

Partial Delay In Health Law Challenges Obama More Than Foes

Source: Frank James , NPR

But one thing that's certain is that the politics of the decision are much easier for the Republican opponents of the Affordable Care Act than they are for administration officials and the other boosters of the health care law.

Committee Vote On LGBT Job Bias Bill Set For July 10

Source: Chris Geidner, Buzz Feed

A Senate committee is slated next week to take the first steps on moving long-sought LGBT workplace legislation forward in the Senate. On July 10, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee is scheduled to hold a markup on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act -- the first planned committee vote on the bill in the Senate in more than a decade.

July 3, 2013

Workplace Improvements: How To Make Your Space More Enjoyable

Source: Matthew D. Della Porta, Huffington Post

The American Psychological Association cites five components of a psychologically healthy workplace. I've laid them out below, along with practical ways to implement them. If your workplace doesn't have anything of this sort, don't despair; through the cooperation of employees throughout your organization, it may be possible to create helpful programs that make a notable impact on office morale and organizational health.

Obamacare Employer Mandate Delayed For One Year

Source: Jeffrey Young , Huffington Post

Employers who don't provide health insurance will be spared penalties of up to $3,000 per worker until 2015, a one-year delay of a major component of President Barack Obama's health care reform law, the Treasury Department announced Tuesday.

Bill Seeks To End Workplace Bullying In Mass.

Source: David Yamada & Andrew Botti, Radio Boston

Raise your hand if you've ever worked for a boss who was a bully. Not just mean, or difficult, but downright abusive. If your hand is up, you're not alone. According to a recent study from the Chicago-based organization Career Builder, 35 percent of workers say they've felt bullied at work.

July 2, 2013

California Advances Bill To Protect Domestic Violence Victims From Employment Discrimination

Source: Bryce Covert , Think Progress

This week, a California State Assembly committee voted to approve a bill that would bar employment discrimination against victims of domestic violence as well as those who experience stalking or sexual assault. The judiciary committee passed it with a vote of 6-1 and it now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Senate committee schedules vote on Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Source: Brody Levesque, LGBTQ Nation

WASHINGTON -- The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has scheduled a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The bill, which has languished in Congress for more than a decade, would prohibit employment discrimination against LGBT Americans by civilian, nonreligious employers with at least 15 employees.

Court Rulings Complicate Discrimination Suits For Employees

Source: Nina Totenberg & Sommer Ingram, NPR

In two big employment law cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it harder for employees to bring discrimination suits over workplace harassment and retaliation.

July 1, 2013

Congratulations! It's now much easier to be harassed at work

Source: Rex Huppke, Chicago Tribune

Two Supreme Court rulings strike a blow against American workers by making it more difficult to hold companies liable for harassment

Transgender discrimination under Title VII

Source: Katie Loehrke, The Times Tribune

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been very active over the past year. One recent action, which was notable but flew somewhat under the radar, was a decision in which the agency found that a transgender woman's claim of discrimination was recognized under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act's prohibition of sex discrimination.

Paid via Card, Workers Feel Sting of Fees

Source: Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Stephanie Clifford, New York Times

A growing number of American workers are confronting a frustrating predicament on payday: to get their wages, they must first pay a fee.

June 28, 2013

Long Island woman fired after donating kidney sues for discrimination

Source: John Marzulli , New York Daily News

Deborah Stevens sued former boss Jacqueline Brucia and Atlantic Automotive Group after she experienced post-operative complications after donating a kidney, and requests to not carry more than 10 pounds and clearance to use the bathroom without permission were rejected. Brucia had been on the list for a kidney donation herself and moved up the list when Stevens donated.

New York Court Sides With Starbucks on Tip Rules

Source: Steven Greenhouse , New York Times

The New York State Court of Appeals issued a n advisory opinion on Wednesday that shift supervisors at Starbucks, but not assistant managers with significant authority over other employees, may share in the baristas' tip pool.

Bill to Expand U.S. Database to Verify Hires

Source: Julia Preston & Ashley Parker, New York Times

The sweeping immigration measure advancing rapidly in the Senate goes far beyond much-debated border security measures and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants with a crucial requirement that could affect every American who takes a new job in the future.

June 27, 2013

How Congress Can Undo The Supreme Court's Attack On Workers' Rights

Source: Think Progress , Bryce Covert

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court handed down decisions in two little-watched cases: Vance v. Ball State University and University of Texas Southwestern Center v. Nassar. Both cases erected new hurdles for those who experience workplace harassment or discrimination.

Supreme Court limits workers' discrimination, retaliation suits

Source: David Savage , LA Times

The court makes it harder to blame an employer for harassment by a co-worker and rules that in retaliation suits, it's not enough to prove illegal bias was one of multiple reasons for a firing.

Utopia Achieved As A Litany Of Pervasive Discriminatory Practices Are Ended With Magical Thinking

Source: Ryan Grim & Jason Linkins , Huffington Post

Utopia Achieved As A Litany Of Pervasive Discriminatory Practices Are Ended With Magical Thinking

June 26, 2013

Making money: Age discrimination at work, and more

Source: Sergio Hernandez , The Week

3 top pieces of financial advice -- from keeping an eagle eye on medical costs to doing data-breach damage control

Blacks Still Face Job and Housing Discrimination

Source: Stacy Brown , The Washington Informer

Latrell White had everything going for her, the perfect job as a social worker, a nearly unblemished credit profile and a salary that allowed her the means to purchase a home in a tony neighborhood in the District.

Supreme Court Raises Bar to Prove Job Discrimination

Source: Steven Greenhouse , New York Times

In two decisions issued on Monday, the Supreme Court effectively made it harder for workers to prove that they had suffered employment discrimination.

June 25, 2013

Workplace Discrimination Poll Finds Most Favor Law Protecting Gays, Lesbians

Source: Emily Swanson , Huffington Post

The survey found that 52 percent of Americans said they favored a law prohibiting discrimination by employers against gays and lesbians, while 35 percent said they opposed the idea.

All-or-Nothing Strategy on Women's Equality Legislation Ends With Nothing

Source: Thomas Kaplan , New York Times

In his State of the State address in January, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo described New York State as the "equality capital of the nation" and called on lawmakers to pass a 10-point Women's Equality Act that would strengthen the state's laws against sexual harassment, human trafficking, domestic violence and salary discrimination. Much of the legislation had widespread support.

In All But Six States, You Can Be Fired For Being A Victim Of Domestic Violence

Source: Bryce Covert , Think Progress

Last week, Carie Charlesworth, a teacher in California and a victim of domestic violence, was fired from her job because her abusive husband invaded the school parking lot and put the school on lockdown. While her abuser was sent to prison, she was also punished for his crime by losing her employment.

June 21, 2013

Is this the year to end anti-gay workplace discrimination?

Source: Greg Sargent , Washington Post

Later today, President Obama will speak at the LGBT Pride Month Reception at the White House. It's my bet that Obama will call on Congress to pass the long-sought Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would make hiring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal for all but the smallest employers.

We Can't Wait for Federal Workplace Protections

Source: Liz Abzug and Heather Cronk, Roll Call

Over the past two weeks, national conversations have picked up once again about the need for federal workplace protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

LGBT workplace discrimination must end

Source: Scott Peters, UT San Diego

The Supreme Court is expected to make a historic ruling on the marriage rights of same-sex couples any day now. As a longtime advocate for marriage equality, I hope the Court will do the right thing and rule same-sex marriage a constitutionally protected fundamental right because all Americans deserve to be treated equally under the law. While this matter of equal protection is up to the court, there is another civil protection that is now up to Congress: the pending Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

June 19, 2013

Report: Pregnant workers face routine discrimination

Source: Daniel Berehulak, CBS

Pregnant women, especially those in low-wage jobs, are denied basic accommodations and routinely fired, according to a new report released Tuesday.

Employers continue to refuse to provide pregnant workers accommodations that they routinely give employees with disabilities - despite federal laws designed to prevent such discrimination, the report by the National Women's Law Center and A Better Balance says.

The Flexible Workplace Comes of Age... Almost

Source: Alison A. Quirk , Huffington Post

There's a certain silent assumption that employees who participate in flexible work arrangements are, well, not serious. That assumption is alive and well as shown in studies published last week in the Journal of Social Issues and edited by law professor Joan C. Williams, founding director of the Center for Work-Life Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

EEOC Issues Final Rule Revising Freedom of Information Act Regulations

Source: Press Release, EEOC

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a Final Rule today revising certain provisions of its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulations.

June 18, 2013

Discrimination against pregnant workers has been rising, report says

Source: Brigid Schulte, Washington Post

Thirty-five years after Congress passed a federal law to protect pregnant women from discrimination on the job, these workers are instead denied reasonable accommodations that other workers receive and often wind up losing income, benefits or their jobs or suffering pregnancy complications, according to a report released Tuesday.

AFL-CIO wants to be the voice of most workers, not just those in unions

Source: Olivera Perkins, Cleveland.com

The AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor organization, is seeking to be the voice of all working and middle class people -- even if they don't belong to unions.

"I don't think this is a big leap to think that a union should have a broader definition," said Harriet Applegate, who heads the North Shore AFL-CIO Federation of Labor, whose letterhead includes: "We're the people who brought you the weekend."

June 17, 2013

Supporting Family Caregivers With Leave Policies in the Workplace

Source: Lynn Feinberg , AARP Blog

My sisters and I are long-distance caregivers for our 92-year old mom. We have already experienced this profound caregiving journey, having cared for our dad for nearly seven years before he died at age 94. We know how overwhelming and stressful it can be to juggle work and caregiving responsibilities.

States Move to Ban Credit Screening for Job Applicants

Source: Elizabeth Dwoskin, Business Week

Credit reports weren't designed to be job-screening tools. But about half of employers now use them when making hiring decisions, according to a 2012 study by the Society for Human Resource Management. The practice cuts across all sectors of the economy, from high-level management to office assistants, home health-care aides, and people who work the counter serving frozen yogurt.

Unpaid No More: Interns Win Major Court Battle

Source: Tovia Smith , NPR

A federal court in New York has ruled that a group of interns at Fox Searchlight Pictures should have been paid for their work on the movie Black Swan. The decision may have broad implications for students looking for their first job.

June 13, 2013

Court indicates Labor went after employee for whistleblowing activities

Source: Joe Davidson , Washington Post

Robert Whitmore might have been an ornery old cuss, but that was not reason enough for the Labor Department to leave him in a two-year limbo, followed by a mockery of an investigation that led to his termination.

Federal Court Allows EEOC Disability Case to Proceed, Denying United Parcel Service's Appeal

Source: Press Release, EEOC

A federal district court has denied United Parcel Service's (UPS) motion to appeal an earlier ruling in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The contested ruling allowed the Commission's disability discrimination case to proceed to the discovery phase. (EEOC, et al., v. United Parcel Service, Inc., No. 09-cv-05291 (N.D. Ill. June 11, 2013.)

Why Are So Many New Labor Groups Forming?

Source: Megan McArdle , The Daily Beast

501(c)(5) applications have spiked even higher than the groups the IRS was targeting.

June 12, 2013

Harry Reid: Employment Non-Discrimination Act Will Come Up 'Soon'

Source: Jennifer Bendery , Huffington Post

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday that he expects to take up legislation "soon" that would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Employment Checks Fuel Race Complaints

Source: Scott Thurm , Wall Street Journal

Federal regulators Tuesday accused two large employers of improperly using criminal-background checks in hiring, the latest salvo in a contentious debate over whether such screening amounts to discrimination against black applicants.

Two labor groups buck trend of union support of Obama on immigration

Source: Joe Davidson , Washington Post

Federal employee unions generally are supportive of President Obama -- except, of course, when he does things like freezing their basic pay rates for three years. On many policy issues, there's not a lot of space between Obama, Democrats and the labor organizations.

June 10, 2013

Opinion: Age discrimination in the workplace has become a prominent concern

Source: Paul Freiberger, NJ.com

Discrimination has been with us for a long time, based on one characteristic or another that allows one group to identify another as less worthy, less intelligent, less skilled and on and on. Whether it's based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender or one of a hundred other variables, we've always found ways to stereotype our fellow humans.

Progress At Work, But Mothers Still Pay a Price

Source: Stephanie Coontz, New York Times

There is no denying that we have made great progress toward gender equality. Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, which was signed into law on June 10, 1963. At that time, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, women earned less than 60 percent of what men made. According to Philip Cohen, a University of Maryland sociologist, a female college graduate at that time, working full time year round, made less than the average male high school graduate.

Labor & Employment Roundup

Source: Jonathan Harkavy, Patrick Kavanagh, and others, Workplace Prof Blog

It's time for another labor and employment roundup:

June 7, 2013

Transgender-bias bill passes Senate

Source: Doug Denison, Delaware Online

Legislation to add transgender Delawareans to the list of groups protected under the state's anti-discrimination law passed the Senate on Thursday with a slim majority and now heads to the House.

Catholic School Teacher Fired for Artificial Insemination Wins Suit

Source: Josh Crank , Lawyers.com

An Ohio jury ordered the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati to pay $171,000 to an unmarried teacher who was fired by two Catholic schools after becoming pregnant via artificial insemination.

Affordable Care Act spurs hiring blitz

Source: Ricardo Lopez , LA Times

California is hiring hundreds of workers at three call centers. The state also needs an additional 20,000 enrollers statewide.

June 6, 2013

Most small businesses back laws to protect LGBT workers, survey says

Source: Adolfo Flores, LA Times

More than two-thirds of small businesses believe federal and state laws should prohibit employment discrimination against gay and transgender people, according to a national poll.

How Do We Build a Mothers' Movement Around Workplace Flexibility?

Source: Jocelyn Elise Crowley, Huffington Post

Each of these groups promotes the health and happiness of its members by highlighting the ways in which mothers who want to or need to work for pay can do so with the help of workplace flexibility options. I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with mothers in these groups who came from all walks of life and a variety of backgrounds.

June 5, 2013

The Female Labor Market Is Actually Stagnating

Source: Erika Christakis, Time

The announcement last week that women are now the primary breadwinners in 40% of American households unleashed the usual reflexive responses. Attempting what looked like self-parody, Fox News featured an all-male quartet of pundits sputtering about the decline of women's "natural" role. Some saw welcome progress for women, while others viewed the 40% figure as more evidence that the "End of Men" is night.

A Short-Term Solution to NLRB Impasse: A 4-Member Board

Source: Peter Hurtgen , The National Law Journal

The world of labor management relations is currently embroiled in a major upheaval, which has spread beyond the usual union/management battleground. In Noel Canning v. NLRB, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that President Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were unconstitutional, thus leaving the board with only one legitimate member and without a quorum.

June 3, 2013

More employees stand up for their workplace health

Source: Dianne Stafford , Kansas City Star

Across American offices, workers like Schwarz are dumping their sit-down desk chairs in favor of standing desks, treadmill desks and big exercise, or stability, balls. Researchers say the small but growing trend is a very good thing.

Fired for Being Gay? Protections Are Piecemeal

Source: Tara Siegel Bernard, New York Times

Jake, a 43-year-old worker at an auto parts warehouse in Ohio, often spends his lunch break in his car. By eating alone, he doesn't have to talk with co-workers about his weekend plans or worry about using the wrong pronoun that could reveal that his life partner of 12 years is another man. Since many of his colleagues drop gay slurs on a daily basis, it's a topic he would rather avoid.

The Triumph of the Working Mother

Source: Stephanie Coontz, New York Times

Fifty years ago, Betty Friedan made a startling prediction in her controversial best seller, "The Feminine Mystique." If American housewives would embark on lifelong careers, she claimed, they would be happier and healthier, their marriages would be more satisfying, and their children would thrive.

May 30, 2013

Shareholders of Exxon Mobil Reject Gay Discrimination Ban

Source: AP, New York Times

Shareholders of Exxon Mobil defeated a resolution on Wednesday to explicitly ban discrimination against gays. The Exxon board had argued that the company already banned discrimination of any type and did not need to add language regarding gays.

Mother's Day Is Over -- But Pregnancy Discrimination Isn't.

Source: Lenora Lapidus , Huffington Post

Women make up almost half the workforce today, and, if they become pregnant, most will work throughout their pregnancy. Given this reality, you probably think the stories below are works of a bygone era. Well, you'd be wrong.

U.S. regulators issue rules on workplace wellness programs

Source: Reuters , Sharon Begley

Employees will be eligible for significantly lower premiums on the health insurance they buy through their employers if they participate in "workplace wellness programs," even if they don't improve their health, U.S. regulators said on Wednesday.

May 29, 2013

Here Are the Least Sucky Cities for Women in the Workforce

Source: Meher Ahmad , Jezebel

The pay gap between male and female workers in the U.S., though it decreased briefly in 2011 with women making a whopping 82.2 percent of what men earned (thanks, dudes! Extra shopping ca$h, amirite?), widened again in 2012, most likely because The Recession but also because Old Dudes Don't Want Us Making Money.

7 Reasons Why the Labor Movement Has Stalled

Source: David Macaray , Huffington Post

A self-described "McGovern Democrat" whom I shall call "Fay" told me that, alas, she could no longer support organized labor because, in her own, stunning words, "unions have become too powerful." A UCLA honors grad and longtime political activist, Fay is probably the most "left-wing" person I've ever personally known.

Career Coach: Respecting others at the workplace

Source: Joyce E. A. Russell, Washington Post

Recently, the University of Maryland was honored to host the 14th Dalai Lama for a lecture. To a sold-out crowd of students, faculty, administrators and dignitaries, he offered some of his life lessons and insights. One of his themes was the importance of treating people as people. Sounds simple, yet often not done in the world.

May 28, 2013

Two activist groups accuse Wal-Mart of unfair labor practices

Source: Tiffany Hsu, LA Times

The day after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. named a former advisor to President George W. Bush to head its corporate and government affairs division, two activist groups filed complaints accusing the retail behemoth and its suppliers of poor labor practices.

In denial: Corporate America's blindness to gender discrimination

Source: Jonathan A. Segal, Forbes

How can a company expect to survive, let alone thrive, if half of its talent pool is excluded from key positions? Most companies can't even recognize they have a problem with gender discrimination.

May 23, 2013

Senate OKs longer window to sue for discrimination

Source: AP, Houston Chronicle

The Texas Senate has passed a measure that puts the state more in line with the federal law to protect against gender discrimination in wages.

The federal Lily Ledbetter Act requires employers to prove that differences in pay are related to qualifications, not to gender. It also allows more time for employees to sue employers for discrimination.

U.S. Department of Labor pushes for minimum wage increase

Source: Dianne Stafford , Kansas City Star

The acting U.S. secretary of labor, Seth Harris, believes enough Americans back an increase in the minimum wage strongly enough that Congress will raise it next year.

Why Do We Defend Discrimination?

Source: John Becker , Huffington Post

Think about it: if a person's private convictions grant them a free pass to ignore laws forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, where does it stop? Shouldn't they be similarly free to ignore laws against discrimination on the basis of gender? Disability? What about religion or race?

May 22, 2013

EEOC Issues Revised Documents on Rights Of Employees With Specific Disabilities

Source: Press Release, EEOC

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued four revised documents on protections against disability discrimination, explaining how the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, applies to individuals with cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities, EEOC announced May 15.

Yesterday's Supreme Court Chevron Decision and Its Impact on the NLRB

Source: Blog Editors, Workplace Prof Blog

As an administrative law geek, I read the Supreme Court's Chevron decision issued yesterday (City of Arlington v. FCC 569 U.S. __, slip op. No. 11-1545 (5/20/13)) with great interest. And then I started wondering if it had any impact on the NAM v. NLRB case concerning the NLRB's authority to require employers to exhibit posters about employees' collective bargaining rights.

May 21, 2013

Labor unions break ranks with White House on ObamaCare

Source: Kevin Borgadus, The Hill

Months after the president's reelection, a variety of unions are publicly balking at how the administration plans to implement the landmark law. They warn that unless there are changes, the results could be catastrophic.

When Good Things Happen To Bad People: Disturbing News About Workplace Bullies

Source: Gary Belsky , Time

As if life isn't unfair enough for the alarming number of people who are bullied at work--or otherwise adversely affected by such behavior--recent research suggests that a lot of workplace bullies achieve high levels of career success. In fact, their bullying and on-the-job achievements might just be related.That's according to a new study ("Political Skill and the Job Performance of Bullies") in the most recent issue of the Journal of Managerial Psychology, the first attempt to examine the correlation between bullying and job performance.

Larger Union That Enforces Immigration Opposes Bill

Source: Laura Preston, New York Times

A labor union representing 12,000 federal officers who issue immigration documents will join forces on Monday with the union representing deportation agents to publicly oppose a bill overhauling the immigration system that is making its way through the Senate, arguing that the legislation would weaken public safety.

May 20, 2013

Senate's top Republican says NLRB nominee package unacceptable

Source: Amanda Becker , Thompson Reuters

The top Republican in the U.S. Senate said on Thursday that an effort to push through a package of five nominees to the National Labor Relations Board will meet a dead end, unless the president replaces two Democrats on the list.

Wisconsin bill would eliminate workplace flu-shot requirement

Source: Kevin Lang, JS Online

Wisconsin employers, including hospitals, nursing homes and other health care agencies, could no longer require workers to get flu shots under a bill pending in the Legislature.

May 13, 2013

Small Companies in Colorado Can No Longer Discriminate

Source: Aaron Kase , Lawyers.com

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill into law last week that provides recourse against discrimination to workers at companies that employ fewer than 15 people.

EEOC Meeting Explores Wellness Programs' Evolution

Source: Press Release, Occupational Healthy and Therapy

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission held a meeting May 8 to examine the use and potential misuse of employee wellness programs. Experts who participated said U.S. employers need guidance to avoid violating anti-discrimination laws, according to the board's news release about the meeting.

May 12, 2013

Working Families Flexibility Act Passes House Over Opposition Of Democrats, Labor

Source: Dave Jamieson , Huffington Post

As part of their efforts to rebrand the GOP as a more caring party, House Republicans passed a hotly debated bill Wednesday that would loosen federal overtime laws, allowing for "comp" time instead of pay for private-sector employees who work more than 40 hours in a week.

Class Action or Not, the Unpaid Intern Lawsuit at Hearst Will Go On

Source: Rebecca Greenfield , Atlantic Wire

A judge may have thrown out class-action status for the lawsuit against Hearst for using unpaid interns at its magazines, but the disgruntled former coffee-fetchers will continue the fight. "The case of the named plaintiffs and the people who opted into the case will go forward," said Junot Turner, the Outten and Golden lawyer handling the case.

May 10, 2013

Merck sued for $100 million in sexual bias case

Source: Reuters , NBC News

A senior sales representative for Merck & Co has sued the drugmaker for more than $100 million, alleging it discriminates against female employees in terms of pay and advancement, particularly pregnant employees and women with children.

May 9, 2013

Older Workers Say Age Bias Is Common

Source: Ann Carrns, New York Times

About two-thirds of older workers say they have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace, and most of them say it's common, a new survey from AARP finds.

Employer Wellness Programs Need Guidance to Avoid Discrimination

Source: Press Release, EEOC

Wellness programs are an increasingly common feature of employee benefits programs, and guidance is needed to avoid violations of federal equal employment opportunity laws, a panel of experts representing business, advocacy groups and providers told the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at a meeting held today.

May 8, 2013

Comp-time bill reveals partisan divide in workplace

Source: Mary Orndorff Troyan, USA Today

The U.S. House could vote Wednesday on legislation to give hourly workers in the private sector the option to take paid time off instead of collecting overtime pay.

Male Bosses Need to Speak Up for Gender Balance

Source: Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, Harvard Business Review

Does anyone else find it strange that the debate heating up in the US around gender imbalances in the workplace is overwhelmingly a conversation among ... women? This constant frame of gender as a "women's issue" is one of the big obstacles to progress -- in both countries and companies.

Churn, baby, churn: The labor market won't be healthy until people feel like they can quit their jobs

Source: Neil Irwin , Washington Post

America needs more quitters.
Or the job market does, anyway. That's the lesson to draw from the latest Labor Department report, which shows the soft underbelly of the U.S. jobs picture. The unemployment rate may be falling and the number of jobs rising.

May 7, 2013

How Far Will Protection From Discrimination Slip?

Source: Steven Mencher , AARP

In University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) v. Nassar, Dr. Naiel Nassar lost his job at a health clinic where the supervising doctor openly made discriminatory remarks and questioned his work because she believed Middle Easterners are "lazy."

Pregnancy discrimination a real threat for some workers

Source: Jeremy Blackman , Concord Monitor

In March of last year, Katherine Tremblay, a Nottingham mother, was fired from her job of three-plus years as a field engineer at FairPoint Communications in Manchester. The layoff was part of a companywide downsizing in which performance rankings were used to help identify candidates for termination.

May 6, 2013

Four Additional Hurdles for Immigration Reform

Source: Alex Altman , Time

Back when the Senate's Gang of Eight was haggling over the details of its immigration-reform bill, TIME dug into four major hurdles the bill would have to clear. But now the dynamics have changed.

Age bias is 'elephant in the workplace'

Source: Christine Dugas , Poughkeepsie Journal

"Retirement job" seems like an oxymoron. And yet a growing number of Americans say that they plan to continue to work during their retirement years.

May 3, 2013

NLRB warns against employer 'no solicitation' signs

Source: Katie Loehrke , Atlanta Journal Constitution

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) allows employers to prohibit solicitation by employees during work time. However, generally speaking, employers may not prohibit employees from soliciting during non-work time, even if the employee is on company property. As a result, employers may not have a blanket rule barring any solicitation by employees.

Millions Of Americans Are Leaving The Workforce. Why?

Source: Jacob Goldstein & Jessica Jiang, NPR

Earlier this year, the percentage of Americans who are working or looking for work fell to its lowest level since 1979.

May 2, 2013

Gay rights and the religious exemption

Source: Editorial , LA Times

A blanket exemption for religious employers shouldn't be the price paid to enact the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which seeks to protect gays and lesbians from job bias.

A May Day Look at American Workplace Safety

Source: Pat Garafalo , US News & World Report

Today marks May Day, the old spring festival now closely associated with the workers' rights movement. Around the world, laborers are taking to the street to demand better pay, benefits, working conditions or, in the case of Bangladesh, justice for the more than 400 workers who died in a recent building collapse.

EEOC to Explore Wellness Programs

Source: Press Release, EEOC

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will hold a meeting on Wednesday, May 8, at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern Time), at agency headquarters, 131 M Street, N.E. In accordance with the Sunshine Act, the open session of the meeting will be open to public observation of the Commission's deliberations.

May 1, 2013

http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2013/04/republican_workplace_freedom_l.html

Source: Brandon Blackwell, Cleveland.com

Two Statehouse Republicans are poised to propose legislation that would make Ohio a "right-to-work" state.

A Pathway to Citizenship Should Create a Pathway to Workplace Protections

Source: Victor Narro, Huffington Post

The current Senate immigration reform bill makes some great strides to protect workers. Yet, it falls dramatically short on enforcement. While the bill allocates up to $6.5 billion on border enforcement, it allocates just $1 billion to interior enforcement -- most of which will likely go to the controversial E-Verify program. In other words, funding for border security will be over six times the funding for worker protections.

Wisconsin Unions Challenge Governor - Again

Source: Michele Bowman , Lawyers.com

After a trial court ruled last year that Wisconsin's new law restricting public employees' ability to collectively bargain is unconstitutional, labor unions are now demanding that the state comply with the ruling while it's on appeal.

April 30, 2013

NLRB gains an incentive to settle, as employers lose theirs

Source: Amanda Becker , Thompson Reuters

The National Labor Relations Board has urged its regional directors and other officers to maintain a high settlement rate as a way for the agency to weather the government sequester.

Will Millennials Come Back to Labor?

Source: Carmen Berkley , Huffington Post

As we approach International Workers Day, also known as May Day, it's hard not to wonder about the future of the labor movement, and whether or not young people in the United States will wake up and see that joining labor unions could be a part of the solution to the nation's 22.9 percent youth unemployment rate.

Why the Wall Street Journal is wrong about labor-force participation

Source: Jim Tankersley, Washington Post

Ben Casselman has a fantastically wonky piece in today's Wall Street Journal on labor-force participation. Good news: It's quite comforting! "Americans are leaving the labor force in unprecedented numbers," Casselman writes. "But the trend has more to do with retiring baby boomers than frustrated job seekers abandoning their searches."

April 29, 2013

How Big Data Is Playing Recruiter for Specialized Workers

Source: Matt Ritchel , New York Times

When the e-mail came out of the blue last summer, offering a shot as a programmer at a San Francisco start-up, Jade Dominguez, 26, was living off credit card debt in a rental in South Pasadena, Calif., while he taught himself programming.

Median Pay in U.S. Is Stagnant, but Low-Paid Workers Lose

Source: Floyd Norris , New York Times

The median pay of American workers has stagnated in recent years, but that is not true for all workers. When adjusted for inflation, the wages of low-paid workers have declined. But the wages for better-paid workers have grown significantly more rapidly than inflation.

April 26, 2013

Oregon same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, federal judge says in employee discrimination case

Source: The Oregonian , Bryan Denson

A federal appeals judge found this week in a bias complaint that federal and Oregon bans on same-sex marriages violate the U.S. Constitution.

Obama administration asks Supreme Court to review NLRB appointees

Source: Amanda Becker , Thompson Reuters

An appellate decision invalidating appointees to the National Labor Relations Board contradicts the modern understanding of presidential authority, the Obama administration argued on Thursday.

April 25, 2013

Senate delays confirmation vote for Labor secretary

Source: Political Notebook , Boston Globe

Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistle-blower case.

The End to Workplace Discrimination Against Gays

Source: Editors , Bloomberg

Many Americans would no doubt be surprised to learn that in much of the nation their fellow citizens can be fired from their jobs for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. In fact, 29 states have no explicit protections against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or identity -- and there is no federal law extending that protection, either.

Comp time: A workplace idea who's time has come

Source: Rep. Martha Roby , Politico

Should a working dad be forced to use up all of his vacation time in order to be involved in his child's school?
Should a military mom with her husband deployed have to dip into sick leave at work to make sure her kids have the parental support they need?

April 24, 2013

Senate must act on gay workplace rights

Source: Greg Sargent , Washington Post

In France, lawmakers have now voted to legalize gay marriage, after months of debate and street protests. Here in the United States, lawmakers may be poised to act in another arena where the battle over gay civil rights is being fought: The workplace.

How to control workplace cruelty

Source: Eleanor Bloxham, CNN Money

Ostracism, bullying, and hostility at work takes its toll on creativity. And it is pervasive in too many corporate workplaces.

April 23, 2013

EEOC Seeks Damages for Disabled Iowa Plant Workers

Source: Ryan J. Foley | AP , ABC

A now-defunct Texas company that put mentally disabled men to work at an Iowa turkey plant for decades is due in court to defend itself against allegations that it subjected the men to physical and verbal abuse.

NLRB recess: It's all in the timing

Source: Jane M. Von Bergen, Inquirer Staff Writer, Philly.com

Got an interesting email today from a reader who pointed out that the appellate court specifically ruled in the NLRB appointments case, Noel v. Canning, that Congress was not in recess when President Barack Obama appointed new members to the National Labor Relations Board on Jan. 4, 2012.

Mandated Sick Leave Debate: Is there a middle ground?

Source: Lorna Lunney , AU Labor Law Forum

The debate over mandatory sick leave continues to challenge state and city governments across the country. Most recently, Philadelphia fell one vote short for mandatory sick days leaving 180,000 workers without the benefit.

April 22, 2013

Are Gay Employees Protected Against Discrimination?

Source: Michael P. Maslanka, State Bar of Texas

Dallas lawyer Michael P. Maslanka shares his views on whether gay employees are protected against discrimination in the workplace.

Managing Stress in the Workplace

Source: Tom Gimbel, Huffington Post

April is Stress Awareness Month (yes, there is such a thing!), and although stress finds its way into our lives in a range of capacities, we undoubtedly find it most often in the workplace.

April 19, 2013

House Votes To Freeze NLRB

Source: Patrick Kavanagh, Workplace Prof Blog

Late last week, the House voted (219-209) for the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act. The bill would require the NLRB members to cease their work, while allowing other functions, such as the regional offices, to continue. The impetus is the D.C. Circuit's Noel Canning decision.

Philly Security Guards Protest Wage Theft by Employer

Source: Aaron Kase , Lawyers.com

Five protestors were arrested last week in Philadelphia for blocking traffic in an effort to call attention to a crime that is a menace to hourly workers nationwide: wage theft.

One Slur Enough to Bring Racial Harassment Case, Court Rules

Source: Aaron Kase , Lawyers.com

A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit states that a plaintiff may bring a harassment claim against an employer for a single offensive slur, if the insult is egregious enough.

April 18, 2013

Republicans Accuse Labor Nominee of Fighting for Civil Rights

Source: Dave Johnson, Huffington Post

Where does the Republican Party put its energy? On anything that furthers the interests of the wealthiest. Tax cuts and kicking government are right at the top of that list*. Also near the top comes blocking minimum wage increases, blocking workplace safety rules and keeping lots of people unemployed so they are desperate to take any nasty, dirty, low-paying job, etc.

Labor secretary nominee unscathed after hearing

Source: Paul West , LA Times

Thomas E. Perez, Obama's pick for the Cabinet post, has been criticized by conservatives, but the two-hour hearing before the Senate labor panel was more perfunctory than contentious.

How the End of the Traditional Workplace Is Changing Our Cities

Source: Emily Badger , The Atlantic

Technology has blurred the walls of the workplace in at least two dramatic ways. People who once worked inside the clear confines of a cubicle, inside an office, within an office tower in a commercial district, can now work from nearly anywhere. And because the spatial distinction has been disappearing between work and home (and everywhere in between), neat divisions in time are now eroding, too.

April 17, 2013

Your Job Isn't What The Employer Promised: Is That Illegal?

Source: Donna Ballman , AOL Jobs

I was hired for a specific job with a specific job title. Months later, my employer changed my title without asking me and made me work in a role that I neither wanted nor was qualified for.

Why Women Are Leaving the Workforce in Record Numbers

Source: Liz Peek , The Fiscal Times

One tiny problem may be holding women back: they are leaving the workforce in record numbers. The number of women age 20 and older not in the labor pool, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has soared from 40 million in 2000 to nearly 49 million today; another 315,000 called it quits last month.

AFL-CIO's Non-Union Worker Group Headed Into Workplaces in Fifty States

Source: Josh Eidelson , AFL-CIO

The country's largest non-union workers' group will soon announce plans to establish chapters in every state, achieve financial self-sufficiency and extend its organizing--so far focused on politics and policy--directly into the workplace.

April 16, 2013

A Polygamist and His Paralegal: A Tale of Sexual Harassment

Source: Staci Zaretsky, Above The Law

The job market for entry-level lawyers isn't a very welcoming place, and while it's better to be underemployed than unemployed, you might have to take some blows to your self-esteem in the process. It's not a big deal, because you've realized that beggars can't be choosers.

Employees wouldn't have to 'like' bosses under Oregon House bill

Source: Christian Gatson , The Oregonian

The Oregon House passed a bill that would bar employers from seeking access to the social media accounts of job-seekers and employees Monday.

GOP issues critical report of labor secretary nominee Perez

Source: Sam Hananel, Washington Post

Republican lawmakers sharply criticized Thomas Perez, the nominee for labor secretary, in a report Sunday over what they said was a questionable deal he brokered while serving as head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

April 15, 2013

Workplaces take on new harshness

Source: Alana Semuels , The Columbian

The envelope factory where Lisa Weber works is hot and noisy. A fan she brought from home helps her keep cool as she maneuvers around whirring equipment to make her quota: 750 envelopes an hour, up from 500 a few years ago.

Fifth Circuit to Weigh in on Sexual Stereotyping Claims Under Title VII

Source: Carter Meader , AU Labor Law Forum

The Fifth Circuit has granted the EEOC's petition for rehearing en banc for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Boh Brothers Construction Co., No. 11-30770. The announcement comes approximately nine months after the original Fifth Circuit panel overturned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff, Kerry Woods.

House committee debates bill to pause NLRB

Source: Amanda Becker , Thompson Reuters

Lawmakers held a spirited discussion on the immediate future of the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday, after a recent appeals court ruling that cast doubt on the board's authority to make decisions.

April 12, 2013

As employers push efficiency, the daily grind wears down workers

Source: Alana Semuels , LA Times

Many businesses no longer want long-term relationships with their employees, who must now work harder without getting financial and psychological rewards that were once routine.

Should paid sick leave be mandated for all employees?

Source: Jena McGregor , Washington Post

A man holds a sign at a rally in front of City Hall to show support for a paid sick leave bill, a day after New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced that lawmakers and advocates reached a deal on the legislation March 29, 2013 in New York City.

April 11, 2013

The incredible shrinking labor force, in one chart

Source: Brad Plumer , Washington Post

The U.S. labor force is shrinking. Back in 2007, 66 percent of Americans had a job or were actively seeking work. Today, that number is at 63 percent and falling.

The incredible shrinking labor force, in one chart

Source: Brad Plumer , Washington Post

The U.S. labor force is shrinking. Back in 2007, 66 percent of Americans had a job or were actively seeking work. Today, that number is at 63 percent and falling.

When a promised promotion feels more like bosses are taking advantage

Source: Karla L. Miller, Washington Post

Two months ago, I was promised a promotion at work. I have yet to see a title change or salary increase.

April 10, 2013

Ending the Wage Gap

Source: Sudip Datta, Abhijit Guha, and Mai Iskandar-Datta, Harvard Business Review

If you're a female executive who has just been recruited for a high-powered job, you may be asking yourself, "What gender gap?"

Some Small Businesses Opt for the Health-Care Penalty

Source: Emily Maltby & Sarah Needleman , Wall Street Journal

Small-business owners across the U.S. are bracing for the health-care law that kicks in next year, fearing it will increase the cost of providing insurance to employees.

Is the tougher workplace slowing down the economic recovery?

Source: Alana Semuels , LA Times

The workplace is changing as many companies, looking to increase productivity, ask employees for more while giving them less, according to a Los Angeles Times series. That's difficult for individuals at work - but it might also have a profound impact on the economy in the long-term.

April 9, 2013

'Is work killing you?' Here are strategies for handling workplace stress

Source: Sharon Jayson , Clarion Ledger

Canadian physician and stress management specialist David Posen asks a question on the minds of many in his new book Is Work Killing You? A Doctor's Prescription for Treating Workplace Stress. He talks with USA TODAY'S Sharon Jayson about how the recent economic slump and culture of downsizing has created more employee stress amid fear of layoffs, increased workload and the 24/7 work environment.

What privacy rights do I have in the workplace?

Source: LA Times

Employers are frequently using monitoring software to make their employees more productive at work, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times, part of a series about the "Tougher Workplace."

Right to Work Law Challenged in Michigan

Source: Michele Bowman , Lawyers.com

The ACLU is trying to dismantle a "right to work" law passed in Michigan in December, saying people were locked out of the capitol while the measure was debated.

April 8, 2013

The shrinking workforce

Source: Chicago Tribune

There were plenty of depressing numbers from the labor market Friday. Most striking to us wasn't the unemployment rate of 7.6 percent-- down a tick. It wasn't the 88,000 jobs created in March -- too few to sustain a recovery.

The numbers behind the decline in workplace benefits

Source: Alana Semuels , LA Times

American employers are asking more from workers as they try to cut costs and become more productive to compete in a globalized world, as described in a Los Angeles Times Sunday story. But they're also giving them much less.

Why Marriage Equality Matters to the Labor Market

Source: Jay Shannon , AU Labor & Employment Law Forum

The Supreme Court's recent foray into the rights of gays and lesbians under the U.S. Constitution has catapulted the issue to the forefront of legal discussion. Noticeably absent in many publicized conversations is the impact of existing law on our current labor market in the United States. The Court's rulings in both cases, Hollingsworth v. Perry and U.S. v. Windsor, will have a significant impact on the U.S. Labor market.

April 5, 2013

Judge awards $1.18 million in discrimination lawsuit against Fulton County

Source: Shae Rozzi , WSBTV

Doug Carl says he'd rather have the last six years of his life back than receive a large sum of money as a result of his discrimination lawsuit against Fulton County.

Blowing smoke on workplace health

Source: Editorial , LA Times

The best way to hire productive employees is to look for people with qualifications, talent, honesty and commitment. Now, however, a small but growing number of employers are looking for something else as well: job applicants who don't smoke.

The Path for Powerful Women in Today's Workplace

Source: Dr. Gail Gross , Huffington Post

With the growing discussion of women in today's workplace -- propelled by recent headlines made by powerful female leaders such as Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo -- I believe it is important to recognize the path paved before us to truly grasp the full context of our place in history - and our role moving forward.

April 4, 2013

Bill to bar job discrimination on sexual orientation faces quiet opposition

Source: Kolten Parker , Houston Chronicle

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, backed by members of the LGBT community, compared workforce discrimination based on sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Movement and women's suffrage while presenting her bill to other senators Wednesday.

Fast-Food Workers Plan Second Strike for More Pay

Source: Steven Greenhouse, New York Times

Tabitha Verges, a minimum-wage worker at a Burger King in Harlem, was caught unawares when 200 workers at other fast-food restaurants in New York City walked out last November to demand higher wages.

Overtime Laws Could Be Loosened Under GOP Comp-Time Proposal

Source: Dave Jamieson , Huffington Post

House Republicans are planning to introduce legislation that could loosen the nation's 75-year-old law governing overtime in the workplace, allowing employers and workers to choose taking compensatory time off rather than the traditional time-and-a-half pay.

April 3, 2013

Helpful Workplace Hints From the World's Most Helpful Guy

Source: Susan Dominus, New York Times

How do you respond to colleagues who complain about your helpfulness or criticize you for being helpful?

Retailers Track Employee Thefts in Vast Databases

Source: Stephanie Clifford and Jessica Silver-Greenberg, New York Times

Facing a wave of employee theft, retailers across the country have helped amass vast databases of workers accused of stealing and are using that information to keep employees from working again in the industry.

Can immigration reform save the American workforce?

Source: Robert Reich , Salon

Legalizing undocumented workers would prevent employers from undercutting the country's largest unions

Shiu Dusts off 1980 Goal for Women in Trades

Source: Anna Halkidis , Women\'s E News

Thirty-plus years have passed. Now the director of federal contract compliance for the Department of Labor is focused on getting U.S. women a 7-percent piece of all skilled trade jobs performed, a goal first set in 1980.

April 2, 2013

Workplace Wellness Takes the Lead for Stress Awareness Month

Source: Judy Martin, Forbes

National Stress Awareness month launches on Capitol Hill this week, as healthcare, business and agency chiefs recognize National Workplace Wellness Week with a number of panel discussions.

Woman's bias lawsuit dusts off Vermont's equal-pay law

Source: Matt Ryan, USA Today

A Vermont woman's claim that she was shortchanged by her former employer has spurred a court to interpret, for the first time, an anti-discrimination law that's been on the books here for more than a decade.

After Boom-Boom Room, Fresh Tactics to Fight Bias

Source: Susan Antilla, New York Times

Over the course of several conversations, women on Wall Street who were subjected to groping, pay disparity and vulgar office jokes eventually opened up to the firm's lawyers.

April 1, 2013

Two new cases seek to clarify pregnancy discrimination laws

Source: Anna Louie Sussman, Thompson Reuters

Two recent complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission seek to clarify the rights of pregnant women under a 2008 amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A Simple, Legal Way to Help Stop Employment Discrimination

Source: Philip Cohen, The Atlantic

Women and racial minorities are no longer making progress toward equal representation in the workplace. Here's a way to maybe fix that.

March 21, 2013

America's Private Sector Labor Unions Have Always Been in Decline

Source: Matthew Yglesias, Slate

Looks like it's time for another round of Internet Thumbsuckers About Labor Unions. Specifically, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson think economists should pay more attention to the political economy impacts of labor unions and not just to their localized impact on wages and growth

Aiming for 50 percent women in workplace: 'A tough goal'

Source: Amy Langfield, Today

Many companies pay lip service to workplace diversity, but few go as far as Coca Cola, which aims to reach gender parity across all levels of its business by 2020.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission faces furloughs if sequester continues

Source: Josh Hicks, Washington Post

The agency that enforces workplace-discrimination laws will have to furlough its employees for more than eight days if the spending cuts known as the sequester continue through the rest of the fiscal year, according to the nation's largest federal employee union

March 20, 2013

Strapped for retirement, more hope to work longer

Source: Michael A. Fletcher, Washington Post

After a long era of planning on earlier exits from the workforce, more Americans are planning to work longer to make up for their failure to save enough for retirement

The Right to Concerted Legal Redress

Source: CAS, Workplace Prof Blog

Many thanks to my colleague Rick for his post on the abstract for Horton Hatches the Egg: Concerted Action Includes Concerted Dispute Resolution, which Tim Glynn and I recently uploaded on SSRN. We don't disagree with him that the smart money might well bet on the FAA in this collision, but we're pretty sure this will be a heavier lift for a textualist Court than at least some of the prior decisions.

NYC Employers Can't Refuse to Hire the Unemployed

Source: Michele Bowman , Lawyers.com

The New York City Council on Mar. 13 passed a law forbidding employers from discriminating against job applicants who are unemployed. It is the first law in the country to provide a private cause of action for people who are refused employment because they lack a job.

March 19, 2013

Modern Etiquette: Lost your job? Retiring? is it congratulations?

Source: Mary Mitchell , Reuters

I doubt if Shakespeare was thinking about our 21st Century workplace when he penned that "parting is such sweet sorrow" yet the oxymoron surely is not lost on anyone who recently has lost a job or retired from one.

Opinion: Does Affirmative Action Do What It Should?

Source: Dan Slater , New York Times

WHAT'S more important to how your life turns out: the prestige of the school you attend or how much you learn while you're there? Does the answer to this question change if you are the recipient of affirmative action?

Republicans signal a fight over Thomas E. Perez, Obama's pick for labor secretary

Source: David Nakamura, Washington Post

Republicans slammed President Obama's selection of Thomas E. Perez as the next labor secretary Monday, painting the assistant U.S. attorney general as a polarizing and radical figure and suggesting that they will seek to hold up his nomination.

March 18, 2013

Employers slowly enrich programs for older workers

Source: Philip Moeller , US News & World Report

The later-life needs of older Americans are often expressed as quality-of-life goals: health and wellness, rich family and personal ties, and meaningful pursuits and travel, among others. To employers, however, older workers increasingly represent serious bottom-line expense and profitability issues.

Obama to Nominate Justice Aide for Labor Post

Source: Peter Baker, New York Times

President Obama plans to announce Monday that he will nominate Thomas E. Perez, who heads the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department, to be the next secretary of labor, a choice that promises to provoke a debate with Republicans about voting rights and discrimination.

Advertise on NYTimes.com Gender Bias Seen in Visas for Skilled Workers

Source: Ashley Parker , New York Times

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hear testimony Monday afternoon arguing that the H-1B visa program, which covers highly skilled temporary foreign workers, often in high-tech fields, discriminates against women.

March 14, 2013

Jobless-Discrimination Law In New York City Is Adopted

Source: Jennifer Peltz, Huffington Post

New York City will soon have the nation's most far-reaching laws barring employers from shunning out-of-work job applicants, after lawmakers passed the provisions Wednesday over a mayoral veto.

Former National Guard employee gets $231K payout for sexual harassment

Source: Sean Reilly , Federal Times

The National Guard must pay a former employee more than $231,000 after failing to adequately investigate her complaint of repeated sexual harassment, an administrative judge has ruled.

Ageism And The Younger Boss

Source: Kristen Houghton, Huffington Post

In the past, employees had been able to disagree with each other and their bosses, feeling free to state their own positions. Issues were discussed and agreements on procedures were made. Now no one dared to disagree. Older employees were beginning to feel like "dinosaurs."

March 13, 2013

The impact of a $9 minimum wage

Source: Tami Luhby, CNN

In his State of the Union address, Obama pressed to raise the hourly rate in stages to $9 an hour in 2015, up from the current $7.25, and index it to inflation. The change, should it become law, would boost the wages of 15 million Americans, according to the White House.

Recess Appointments Ruling Could Invalidate 1,400 Workers' Rights Decisions

Source: Nicole Flatow, Think Progress

Less than two months after the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit invalidated President Obama's January 2012 recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, 87 companies and several unions have cited the decision in pending actions before the NLRB, challenging its authority to rule in their pending cases.

Can You Be Fired For Calling In Sick -- Even With Doctor's Note?

Source: Donna Ballman , AOL

People ask me this all the time. Can you really be fired for being out sick even though you have a doctor's note? One state, Connecticut, and four cities -- Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. -- have paid sick leave laws.

March 12, 2013

Is Your 'Natural' Hairstyle Preventing You from Getting a Job?

Source: Stacey Gordon , Forbes

Speaking with an African-American candidate a few days ago, she made a comment in passing that made me stop and think. We were discussing the interviews she had been on and she said, "I'm sure my natural hairstyle prevented me from getting a couple of those jobs."

NLRB will petition Supreme Court over Obama's recess appointments

Source: Josh Hicks, Washington Post

The National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday announced it would petition the Supreme Court to review a lower-court ruling that invalidated three appointments President Obama made to the board last year.

March 11, 2013

Federal Court Grants Injunction Against A.C. Widenhouse in EEOC Race Harassment Cast

Source: Press Release, EEOC

Following on the heels of a legal victory for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a North Carolina federal court has awarded more than $243,000 and injunctive relief against A.C. Widenhouse, Inc., a Concord, N.C.-based trucking company, in a race harassment and retaliation case, the agency announced today.

Obama to name civil rights enforcer Thomas Perez as Labor secretary

Source: Lisa Mascaro and Don Lee, Los Angeles Times

The Harvard-educated lawyer is a first-generation Dominican American with a career in public service. His nomination could face a GOP backlash over his Justice Department activities.

NLRB Grounds Union Challenge to Boeing's Code of Conduct

Source: Joel Barras , Forbes

In another example of unions trying to push the boundaries of recent NLRB restrictions on employment policies, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, Local 2001 ("Union") recently challenged Boeing's decade-old Code of Conduct.

March 8, 2013

New York requires businesses to give workers annual wage notification, but doesn't check for compliance

Source: Teri Weaver, Syracuse.com

For the second year, hundreds of thousands of workers across New York have signed a notice acknowledging their wages - a paperwork requirement that state labor officials don't even double-check.

We've Moved Backward in Closing the Gender Wage Gap

Source: Bryce Covert, Forbes

he gender wage gap is a hot topic. So hot that President Obama's first act when he took office was signing the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which give the victims of pay discrimination more time to file charges against their employers.

March 7, 2013

Telecommuting: The Brain at Work and at Home

Source: David Rock , Huffington Post

In the last decade, we've seen tremendous changes in our workforce. With all of the recent advancement in technologies, nearly three-quarters of employers give their employees the tools they need to work remotely, giving employees more freedom to pick the hours they work.

Will we ever 'like' the female executive?

Source: Dominic Basulto, Washington Post

It seems like anytime a female leader makes a tough business decision or climbs the corporate ladder too soon, too fast it immediately draws a negative response

With Positions to Fill, Employers Wait for Perfection

Source: Catherine Rampell , New York Times

American employers have a variety of job vacancies, piles of cash and countless well-qualified candidates. But despite a slowly improving economy, many companies remain reluctant to actually hire, stringing job applicants along for weeks or months before they make a decision.

March 6, 2013

Employer credit checks keep jobless out of workforce

Source: Blake Ellis, CNN

Employer credit checks are preventing the nation's hardest hit job seekers from entering the workforce, a new study shows.

Disabled Workers Often Face Abuse: Study

Source: Health Day , US News & World Report

Disabled people are twice as likely to be attacked at work as other employees, and they also are more likely to be insulted, ridiculed and intimidated on the job, a new study finds.

What You Should Know About the EEOC and Arrest and Conviction Records

Source: News Release , EEOC

On April 25, 2012, the Commission, in a 4-1 bi-partisan vote, issued its Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e

March 5, 2013

House, Department of Labor Disagree Over Applicability of WARN Act to Sequestration-Related Layoffs

Source: Christy Wu, Labor & Employment Law Forum

Recently, the Office of Management and Budget issued guidance to agencies to reduce costs in contract spending, signaling the reality that federal contractors must tighten their belts under sequestration. Yet contracting employers have been guided by federal advice which has not always been clear or consistent.

Recovery in U.S. Is Lifting Profits, but Not Adding Jobs

Source: Nelson D. Schwartz , New York Times

With the Dow Jones industrial average flirting with a record high, the split between American workers and the companies that employ them is widening and could worsen in the next few months as federal budget cuts take hold.

OFCCP Scraps Pay Bias Guidance In Favor of Expanded Investigations

Source: Human Resources Report , Bloomberg

The Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is rescinding two Bush-era pay discrimination guidance documents and replacing them with broader and more flexible investigation procedures, the department announced Feb. 26.

March 4, 2013

EEOC issues guidance on domestic violence discrimination

Source: Jim Evans, Zanesville Times

Just about every employer knows that it's illegal to discriminate in employment on the basis of a person's race, ethnicity, religion, gender, national origin, age, military service and disability.

High-Risk Pregnancy Entitles Employees to Extended Leave

Source: Michele Bowman , Lawyers.com

A recent case in California has raised the issue of how two state laws designed to protect pregnant workers interact. A woman who used up her pregnancy leave and wanted more time under the general disability law will have her day in court, according to Sanchez v. Swissport.

A First Step for Maryland's Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act

Source: Dana Beyer , Huffington Post

This week the effort to make Maryland the 17th state to provide comprehensive gender identity protections in employment, housing and public accommodations made its first public legislative appearance in Annapolis.

March 1, 2013

Missouri House endorses workplace discrimination bill [Article no longer available]

Source: Staff , St. Louis Morning Call

The Missouri House on Wednesday gave first-round approval to a bill requiring workers who sue to prove discrimination was a "motivating factor" in actions such as wrongful termination or denial of promotions.

'Twas the Night Before Sequestration: The End or the Interminable Beginning of EEOC Investigations?

Source: Miram E, Forbes

As every sector of federal government braces for the impact of an across-the-board haircut of funding with the sequestration cuts scheduled to go into effect on March 1, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency responsible for investigating complaints made by employees under most anti-discrimination laws, faces up to a $30 million cut from its $360 million annual budget.

Growing push to halt workplace bullying

Source: Sam Hananel, Huffington Post

Margaret Fiester is no shrinking violet, but she says working for her former boss was a nightmare. "One day I didn't do something right and she actually laid her hands on me and got up in my face and started yelling, `Why did you do that?'" said Fiester, who worked as a legal assistant for an attorney.

February 28, 2013

Pregnant woman says San Diego Christian College fired her for having premarital sex

Source: Teri James, The Denver Channel

A woman in California claims she was fired from her job at a San Diego college because she engaged in premarital sex and became pregnant. Teri James alleges her employer, San Diego Christian College in El Cajon, wrongfully terminated her. James hired high-profile attorney Gloria Allred to represent her in the case.

Careful, 'Having it All' Women, Your Privilege is Showing

Source: Christine Pelosi, Huffington Post

While your people are breaking ceilings, it's my people of color who are caring for your kids, so your discussion doesn't empower us. We want to be breaking ceilings too."

February 27, 2013

Workers over 50 are the new 'unemployables'

Source: Annalyn Kurtz, CNN

Older workers were less likely to lose their jobs during the recession, but those who were laid off are facing far tougher conditions than their younger colleagues.

Union Leaders Call on Obama to Fill Labor Board

Source: Steven Greenhouse, New York Times

The nation's union leaders are voicing alarm that the National Labor Relations Board might remain paralyzed for a year or more as a result of a federal appeals court ruling that found President Obama's recess appointments to the board to be unconstitutional.

Bill would bar some athletes from California workers' comp claims

Source: Mark Lifsher , Los Angeles Times

Proposed legislation would ban retired athletes from seeking California workers' comp benefits after they've played relatively few games in the state.

February 26, 2013

Wal-Mart Sued by Wisconsin Women for Gender Bias

Source: Andrew Harris, Bloomberg

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), the world's largest retailer, was sued by five Wisconsin women who claim the company denied them and other female employees equal pay and equal opportunities.

CNN Spotlights Transgender Woman's Struggle Against Employment Discrimination

Source: HRC Staff, Human Rights Campaign

Transgender Americans often face discrimination in many aspects of daily life. This can be especially prevalent in the workplace. Unfortunately, there are no federal protections against anti-LGBT workplace discrimination and most states still allow a person to be fired based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.

February 22, 2013

Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Source: Press Release , EEOC

An employer's use of an individual's criminal history in making employment decisions may, in some instances, violate the prohibition against employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

How to Assert Your Legal Rights at Work

Source: Allison Green, US News & World Report

First, before anything, you want to make sure that your employer really is breaking the law. People often wrongly assume that the law entitles them to things that aren't actually enshrined in law--such as fair treatment, paid vacation days, or a warning before being fired. So first make sure that you really are facing a legal violation.

February 21, 2013

Florida lawmakers look to end discrimination against expecting mothers

Source: Kimberly Wiggins , My Fox Orlando

Pregnant women throughout the United States are protected from employment discrimination under federal law, but that's not necessarily the case in Florida. Two state lawmakers are now trying to change that fact.



Transgender job seekers face uphill battle

Source: Blake